By Tara Jones
I hate the silent treatment. Always have. You wanna really piss me off? Stop talking to me. It’s like cutting off my lifeline. I love to talk. Do you know that every five minutes the universe expands by 46 miles? Let’s talk about it. I talk so much my husband sometimes begs me to stop. But I can’t. Talking about what you’re going to do is the next best thing to doing it. And don’t all spiritual gurus say talk it into fruition? Like I said, I love to talk. So when my husband wouldn’t talk to me for a week I thought I would lose my mind.
Now to go into a little bit of why my husband stopped talking to me…we’ve been having problems. Constant arguments. He feels like he can’t talk to me without me getting defensive and sometimes he’s right. There are times when I feel like everything I do is wrong so when I’m right, I stand up for it with everything I have. Sometimes he storms out of the apartment screaming, “I can’t talk to you right now.” This time, he came back home after one of these storms and wouldn’t even look at me. I don’t know if it was some type of punishment or he needed time to think, but without the talking outlet some interesting things began to happen.
Sometimes I talked to myself. Not in that homeless-person-on-the-street way, but more like I had to talk things out with myself. Like, if I had an issue with work, instead of running to him, asking what do you think I should I do? I had to work through it myself. And I did on numerous occasions to my satisfaction.
Sometimes I sang. Before I met my husband I would blast music and sing to the top of my lungs. Once I sang to Stevie Wonder’s box set for 4 hours straight, but that hadn’t happened in years. Honestly, it felt so good.
My productivity quadrupled. Work that used to take me weeks got done in hours. Just call me the Energizer Bunny.
Around the fifth day I wasn’t thinking about talking anymore. Alone with my thoughts, I asked myself, Why do I talk so damn much?
Then it hit me. Talking about what I’m going to do somehow makes it real — by telling you, maybe I’ll actually do it. Plus talking about it is the next best thing to doing it. But when I start thinking about all the hours I spend talking, not just to my husband but cackling on the phone with girlfriends too, it starts adding up. But what if it’s not as simple as, “I talk because I love it?” What if I’m avoiding something? Like, work. Honestly, I hate work. If I could have all the money and fame I ever wanted and didn’t have to lift a finger for it I’d be cool. I’m a born queen. But life isn’t like that. You wanna do big things in life you better have Michelle Obama arms and like the Queen B, you betta werrrk!
So I started thinking, maybe this talking thing is overrated. Maybe we all got it wrong. All that stuff about talk to your mate, your kids, your mama, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your social media, Alexis. What if it’s unnecessary? Maya Angelou didn’t talk for five years and it worked out pretty well for her- not the circumstances that brought in on but the result. Helen Keller was a prolific author and never spoke a day in her life. And Buddhists don’t go around talking your ear off.
I remember when a friend went on a silence retreat a few years ago for 1 month and I thought she was going to die. What happens when you don’t talk to anyone for one whole month?! She came back happier and more at peace. Things that used to bother her didn’t seem to bother her anymore.
What if the secret’s in the silence? What if our power lies in the stuff that we keep for ourselves when we don’t go blurting things out all the time. Our current President is ineffective because he’s tweeting 24 hours a day, as if he never heard the term “never let them see you coming.” I’m tired of people seeing me coming. I want to be surprising, even to myself.
My husband and I started talking a few days ago. He came to me and said that he wasn’t mad anymore. The funny thing is, I couldn’t just go back. Put something on ice for a week and it needs time to thaw. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for our marriage, I pray that we will withstand the test of time and get through this rough patch, but even bigger than our marital issue at this moment is the fact that I’ve changed. I don’t have a desire for all that talk. Life is in the actions. The doing. The moments that can’t be recaptured. The silence.