When I was twelve, I lost a lot of my confidence. Whether this was because of a new school or my journey into teenhood, I can’t be quite sure. All I know is that where once, as a child, I would let my voice fill the space, it now stayed hidden; like it needed protecting.
I can’t be sure what it was I was afraid of but, all of a sudden, I became acutely aware of what I lacked. I lacked confidence. I lacked presence. Envious of those around me who spoke up, I focussed on their noise. The noise that I couldn’t make. The things I couldn’t say.
I wanted to be louder. I wanted to make more of an impact. I knew I was capable; full of witty comebacks and good ideas. I just couldn’t figure out how to share them.
I resented my quietness. People don’t respond well to quietness.
But it is in the quietness that we can think. Quietly we gather our thoughts and deal with what needs to be dealt with. We make space in the noise for a pocket of peace where we can gain some perspective.
It is with some amusement that I look back on my quietness and consider exactly how much it has benefited my life. It feels like I had to spend years and years observing and analysing the world before I felt I could successfully live in it.
We live in a loud world. It is commonplace to have a loud mind. Everybody wants to be heard. But there’s a reason meditation and mindfulness are all the rage. Quiet is an escape. It is an island off the coast of all the noise on which we can gather our thoughts and be objective about the decisions we have to make. It means fewer distractions and more clarity.
It’s okay to be quiet.