“Tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just jump up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.”
– quote from Audre Lorde’s daughter from Transformation of Silence into Language and Action (emphasis mine)
This is one reason why I make this noise, this hum, this yelp.
The bruises from internal punches can be obvious, or not. There are theories that bruises are a form of capital, both of a physical and cultural nature, which could be read as an alternative to the above suggestion that you can’t be a whole person if you remain silent. It’s more complicated than silent and not silent.
There are multitudes of expressions – a thousand decibels within loud, within clamor, and within the deafening silence of quiet. “Silence” does not always equal subjugation. I reject this definition that silence is damaging. My actions, the experiences I embody, and my interactions with others emphatically amplify me whether I choose to give voice to my ideas or not. I am not less brave, less whole, or less anything because I mute myself*.
Keep your ears open for those who mumble, stutter, or fumble their words. Be wary of those that project themselves on you. Avoid those that are incapable of being silent.
The only thing I remember from The Bell Jar was the moss that grew on her body from her attempted suicide, her protracted nap in the basement, and the crushing validation that no one noticed she was gone. The point is that she got up, moss covered, and walked up the stairs.
“I don’t talk loud enough you say, is this loud enough for you?” — Watchmaker, Excuse 17
* obviously this is within context and obviously I contradict myself