Susan Sontag, AB'51, wrote that "silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech." Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend. The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.
Awkward moments to gestures of reverence, "silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech."
Two years ago, I had an argument with my mother that would last us three months of the silent treatment. I guess the lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," best fits this episode of my life. It was the best of times because I realized that our conversations sparked every argument we had and I welcomed the long lost peacefulness. It was the worst of times well, because she was my sole provider. And things got stingy when she stopped asking what I wanted for dinner. Personally, this moment of silence was a speech of rebellion. Without communication, I was hindering our mother-daughter relationship. It was an act of rebellion because I was internally screaming for independence and refused her wonted act of kindness. However this "talk" was cheap. What good would it do screaming internally? I was senseless because I realized that acts of rebellion led to consequences, and in my case, a severe one.
In duration of those three months, I chose to miss out on two particular events: my mother's birthday and mine. What labored from this experience was extreme guilt. For sixteen years, we had generously shared our most intimate moments and I almost gave that up in the course of three months. In fact, I practically lost a few pounds by living as an outsider. It was my mother's house and I became a mere stranger, living off of scraps of food I chose to eat by refusing what she offered. I could have been kicked out, but fortunately I was saved by the grace of my mother. One moment, I met my mother's gaze. I immediately felt the pang of guilt. I knew I had taken everything for granted and I was burning my own bridge to someone I needed for the rest of my life. Finally I threw away my pride and humbled myself.
Silence may solve a problem, but unfortunately it did not mine. Silence is used only temporary, like the use of a Band-Aid. However, I used it to attempt to stop a bleeding wound. What I actually needed was communication, and for three months of having lost its significance, I almost bled to death. Internally.