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Sitting With Silence

Madison Waltz, Writer

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Surrounded by silence, I am confronted by my insecurities. My inner voices scream at me; they hold the mirror of my soul up and force me to look. All I can see is everything I hate.

Silence is the loudest sound. It has followed me since I became conscious of my insecurities, which was at a young age; I’ve always dragged my self-consciousness around with me, embarrassed of the simple things that make me who I am. The silence is a reminder of what I want and what I can never be. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

According to my therapist, my case is textbook: I started to search for approval from everyone else because of a father who was incapable of loving and gratifying me. I began stretching myself paper-thin just to get a “good job” or a pat on the back. This belief that my best is never good enough was planted in me by people who couldn’t help but let me down. It was never my fault, but there was no way I could realize this. This yearning for approval forced me to rely on everyone else to boost my confidence, when I knew, deep down, that it was something I had to do myself. This is where the silence comes in.

Uncomfortable silence is familiar to everyone. We’ve heard it when a classroom quiets down and no one knows what to say, or on those awkward car rides when the radio is inevitably turned on to drown out the nothingness. That’s what I have always done–drowned out the nothingness with music, Netflix, or even my own voice, anything to avoid a confrontation with my insecurities. If I was forced to sit in a quiet setting, I crammed my mind with distractions, but those bad thoughts would appear, because they always do.

“You’re a bother.”

“You will never be good enough.”

“No one loves you; there’s no point in loving yourself.”

The silence has become a metaphor for my self-doubt.

Surrounded by silence, I was confronted by my negativity, but therapy, self-affirmation, and understanding that my “best” is different every day (whether my best is merely getting out of bed or my best is running a half-marathon) has given me the strength. I desperately needed this strength for the past 15 years to face my demons–to sit in the silence and bask in it. After jumping the hurdles of my mind, I have set new goals: live in the moment, don’t focus too hard on the negative, and embrace that with every new day, a bit of silence and reflection can be beneficial.

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