When I was a kid, I talked a lot. I would go on and on and on about the most insignificant of things. I wouldn’t even be asking questions, figuring that I would some how get the answer to my unasked question at some point. Instead, I would make comments, and a lot of it too. I would blurt things out without even thinking and just ramble on. One day, when I was seven years old, someone warned me that if I continued to do so, I’d get into a lot of trouble one day.
That person’s predictions eventually came true when I was 8 and again when I was 10. I said the wrong things to the wrong person and I got into a lot of trouble with both my mother and, indirectly, with the law. When I was 8, I blurted out that my mom hit me, and after that, child services got involved. They didn’t believe me when I said that it was an accident, that I was simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time. It was about a year before child services finally believed my mom and I. When I was 10, the same thing happened. Granted, child services hadn’t (thankfully) gotten involved, but like what happened when I was 8, I did blurt out something that didn’t need to be said. I remember having a fierce fight with my mother that resulted in my determination to keep my mouth shut and opinions, thoughts, feelings and everything to myself. I didn’t want to risk getting in trouble because of my mouth ever again. That one argument with my mother shook my 10 year old self to the core and never again did I want to share anything about myself with anyone. Not even my own relatives.
Keeping my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. to myself proved to be very difficult. Eventually, I became accustomed to making conversation with friends while trying not to reveal anything out of fear that I will blurt something again. I started to worry that conversations I have with friends would prove to be dull without the addition of my own personal opinions to add to it (on a side note, keeping my opinions out of conversation is, in a sense, a good habit to get into considering my dream job in diplomacy requires one’s opinions kept to themselves at the same time working objectively within a professional setting).
That resulted in my insecurity; not about body image, but the way I interact with people and the way I present myself in a social context. I don’t know what to say, so I resort to telling stories of what I’ve seen throughout the week, the conversations I had, the people I met, etc. I avoid topics such as school, work, my home life, and I especially don’t feel comfortable talking about my own opinions or my feelings. I even don’t feel comfortable when someone asks why I chose Australia (usually I respond with ‘it’s either here or Ireland’).
What I can’t stand the most is silence when it’s just me and one other person that I’m conversing with. I realize now that the result of my insecurity is represented by silence. If the person I’m with isn’t chatting, then it’d be me who’d end up chatting. It’s my effort to break it, to keep the conversation going that provides the lead up in me blurting something that really, really shouldn’t be said. I start rambling, becoming less coherent, start stumbling on my words, struggle with getting my thoughts out, and in my embarrassment, I’d end up saying the worst possible thing right out of the blue.
Reflecting on all of this, I think that the reason why I’m so insecure about silence is because I’m terrified of getting close with anyone. Very few people (both in Australia and Canada) know the true details of my life, and even fewer know the details of my childhood (which, aside from a few hiccups, really isn’t that bad overall). I’m terrified of being judged by my friends, the possibility of getting hurt, becoming a hypocrite, and most especially bearing my soul to the world; I’m terrified of a lot of things, but the idea of bearing my soul to even one other human being is on par with heights and getting deported (my deepest fears). I never tell a single person everything without feeling scared. Granted, there are some that know more than others, but not everything. Not even my best friend, and certainly not even my family.
It’s this fear of letting someone in (be it family or friend) that makes me hesitate in telling someone about my feelings, thoughts and opinions while having a conversation. It’s this fear of mine that prevents me from voicing my opinion and it’s what makes me ramble about insignificant things. It’s what makes me more comfortable making small talk than meaningful conversations. Thinking on it now, the only reason why I’m even comfortable in blogging about this, is the assurance of the internet’s anonymity.
Despite my fear of letting someone in, I’m actually quite content. It doesn’t get lonely and I’m never prodded with questions. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown used to keeping (what I deem to be) personal things to myself, maybe it’s because I’m used to being on my own, I don’t know. And going back to the original purpose of this post: I do regret blurting things out, but what can I do? I’m an imperfect human being with an irrational fear of silence and what it represents to me. The most that I can do after what’s been said is to take back what I said, apologize profusely, and learn from the mistakes I made and reduce the chances of it happening again. After all, it’s how one grows and becomes a better person.