Vow of Silence
At one point, many years ago, I needed to guard the little sense of self I had left.
So I took upon myself an oath of silence.
The less you speak, the better.
The less fodder you give to those who taunt you, the less you get hurt.
The less you express, the less incriminating evidence of your stupidity there is for everyone to trample on.
The less noise you make, the less they notice you and the less they’ll snuff out the flame of your existence.
So I learned to be smart.
I kept quiet.
I observed, but I didn’t react.
I so desperately wanted, needed, but I didn’t ask.
I was punched in the gut, but I didn’t comment.
I swallowed mounds of words and thoughts. I reined in complaints and pains until I didn’t even know that there was anything there.
From time to time, the suppressed energy was just too much and out would burst a torrent of words.
Or just an angry remark. Or a disrespectful retort.
Or what erupted was a manifestation of my anger in behavior that upset those around me.
They were met with derision. With anger. With glares that made me regret ever opening my mouth.
And those experiences reinforced my belief that I must be quiet. They reinstated my vow of silence.
And now that I’m in a place where I’m offered to express myself, to open up that sinkhole of words, I don’t know how.
My jaw remains locked, barricading my words, immobilizing my tongue.
I can only look on stupidly, will something to come up, but face a brick wall that echoes back the invitation to speak.
I can feel the words somewhere in the pit of my stomach wanting release, but I have no idea how to bring them to the surface.
I don’t know how to unlock that heavy gate I clanged shut when I took on the vow of silence.