Silence is not something I am good at.
I’m supposed to be on a social media fast for my story course this week. But I had to have a good friend change all of my passwords yesterday, effectively locking me out. I was failing miserably at giving up my security blanket of distraction.
I don’t own a television and I don’t have wi-fi in my apartment. For the last year my only connection to the outside world when I’m at home has been through my smart phone data plan. This was wonderful for the first few months. I embraced the silence by reading, journaling, praying, crying, talking on the phone, listening to music. But then I got tired of those things. Loneliness crept in. And in the absence of Netflix I turned to my phone to numb myself. I browse Twitter and Instagram over every meal. I fall asleep scrolling through Facebook. Every quiet moment is filled with social media binges before the emptiness has opportunity to grasp a hold of me. Social media is my defense against feeling. It distracts me when panic closes in, gives me something else to think about when I can’t stop the tears on my own.
What I know in the brief time I’ve been disconnected:
My silence is loud.
I’ve become hyper-aware of just how reliant I am. It’s not a pretty picture. I pick up my phone at least once an hour only to put it down with a sigh. The silence heightens my senses in a beautiful, terrifying way. I am forced to feel; it hurts. I wonder if I will ever stop crying over the same damn stuff. Will I ever know the answers to the questions I’m screaming at the night, screaming at God. When will I wake up and take more than one.deep.breath. before I remember— and my heart catches.
I’m learning that the fear of feeling is often worse than the feeling itself. When I stop fighting panic and let it come it’s terrifying for a few moments, but it’s followed by rest. When I let myself cry I always feel cleansed. Emotion is one of those distinctly human expressions. It lets me know I am alive.
I am making a declaration. This is my resolve: I will put the phone down for the rest of the week. I will let myself feel — all of it. I will write my heart out. I will listen to what He is saying in the midst of it. I will not fear His voice. I will be okay.
Declaring these things fortifies me. Will you join me in the silence? Hold me to it?
What is your experience with silence? Does social media create noise for you?