Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Talk to me.

Imagine a world where you cannot speak. No one around you can comprehend your hurts, your fears or your desires because you are unable to communicate them. Wouldn’t it be frustrating if you saw someone crying but they weren’t able to tell you what caused their tears? Even more frustrating is trying to understand a person’s behaviour if they don’t explain their intentions. Perhaps that’s why babies cry so much, unable to fend for themselves, worse is being unable to communicate their needs.

The innocence in children causes them to speak their mind whenever an idea crosses it. Of course this can cause embarrassment at times when they loudly announce that aunt Hilda smells funny… but at least you always know what they’re thinking. The gift of speech is a form of communication, our tool for survival and although a person can be told what to say, only he has the decisive power to repeat or respond as he sees fit.

Some see speech as an art. They mould it into poetry, into stories and even columns such as this one. Individuality gives each and every person the right to their own opinion, which can be expressed in their own choice of words. The purpose to your conversation depends on your motives and just as there are those who use speech (and in this case writing, for sharing purposes) there are those who use it to gossip, slander and destroy. There is power in words and with age, you learn that you are responsible for the thoughts that you voice.

Those who say everything they want, are subjected to hear everything they don’t.

However the power of words cannot be measured by it’s spelling in the dictionary, or the language that’s it is spoken in. The strength of words is given by the human soul, which relies on these words to express its ideas, feelings and emotions. A good example is the sentence “I love you”. Internationally spoken, this sentence can only carry as much meaning at the heart that speaks it. And lack of the same sentence, can leave a void in the soul of he who feels it and does not express it, and in the soul of who needs to hear it. There are hateful words that we sometimes think but need to suppress so not to hurt the recipient and maturity teaches us what we should and shouldn’t say. Experience perfects speech, but it is that which comes sincerely that is always more potently spoken.

A stubborn Arian such as myself, doesn’t normally have problems in saying exactly what’s on their mind. In fact, although I’ve been taught to think quickly and speak slowly, I confess that one of my character flaws/qualities is that I’m straightforward with what I’m thinking. I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to express it. Sunshine’s column was created as a self-therapeutic diary but I share it because I believe that life is too short to make all the mistakes by yourself. If I can reach out to one person, even if it’s just to say “I understand” then my intentions are fulfilled. Words of advice and comfort are known to be ever ready on the tip of my tongue, however, on contraire to popular belief…

Even I don’t always have the right words.

There are times when the words just don’t come out. Either the brain is overridden with thoughts that it can’t produce a coherent sentence, or it goes into such a state that no matter how much you try to extract any kind of thought from your head, you find it completely empty. Even when you know exactly what to say, there always those moments where the words stay strangled in your throat, choking your self-endurance.

It isn’t the fear of the words that keeps us silent… it is the consequences we avoid. Maturity teaches us that at times silence is the best response but it fails to preserve the soul that is slowly destroyed when not cleansed of unsaid words. God gave most of us the gift of speech to communicate our needs, our fears… our dreams. What do you do when you can’t get them across? When frustration substitutes your need to shout and scream your desires, do you succumb?

The soul and spirit are a fragile element of our bodies. It needs to manifest its thoughts and feelings for survival just as the body sweats and excretes excess wastes. Stress can be relieved by running, working out, or taking on a hobby but it only relieves your body, the “feel good” sensation that the above might leave only tranquilizes your soul but does not heal it . T. Elliot wrote: “We are all sentenced to life imprisonment within our own skins”… what he forgot to write, is that communication is our weapon against this tragedy.

Dark times can provoke silence. There are moments when all you might want to do is lock yourself in a dark room and cut off all communication. These times are necessary even if it’s just to hit the end of the barrel… but when you’re ready to climb, and you’re willing to heal. There will always be someone to listen. Life’s disappointments aren’t a good enough reason to allow your soul to die. Pick up the phone, grab your pen or type an e-mail. We regret more the things that we don’t do and say than those that we find the courage to. So whatever your means… get your message across. I just did.

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