Short Story: Be Quiet

The following is a short story I wrote for a local newspaper (sadly now gone) in 2015. I felt as though it was appropriate to share again in 2021.

I won’t talk about it. My self-confidence is below the surface. I turn on my self-preservation mode and I will remain quiet. No one wants to hear what I have to say. Retaining the aura of perfection is required. How can anyone measure up to perfection? My thoughts that were about to be spoken quickly become the past and lack of communication becomes the future. Communication dives down with self-confidence and they hold hands waiting for a wave of conviction to sweep them up.

It is as though this fear in me is ingrained. It is a fear of rejection, a fear of losing my job and a fear of being unloved. Envy rises for those who do a better job deflating this fear, but all I seem to do is magnify it. Every action and thought is clouded with contemplations of the consequences that will ensue if I speak my mind, if I tell the truth.

The foundation of this fear started in kindergarten. Speak when you are spoken to. The wrong answer produced laughter from my classmates. My soft voice was followed by angry voices informing me I need to be louder. Survival behavior became to just not speak, only when obligatory.

Maturity helps slightly and allows that conviction wave, on occasion, to bring self-confidence and communication to the light. The sun shines on those great undertakings while the waves are calm, but inevitably it all sinks once again. The aura of perfection is once again shattered, and of course I cannot be faultless, but the world doesn’t know that. The world is about achievements and beauty and making a difference.

Living knowing how to sink the fear is the ultimate achievement. The epitome of life is to live as though you were dying and do the things you always wanted to do and say the things you always wanted to say. I have yet to meet a person who lives this way so I’d say we are all comparable in this facet and all completely imperfect. The world is ignorant of this reality as well.

Until the time comes when we can all embrace the glorious messes that we are, the world will continue to expect perfection, our self-confidence will continue to take dives, we will let fear win and lack of communication will bask in the glow of it all. Acceptance and encouragement need to become the landscape we live in.

Feeling as though we matter and our thoughts and opinions are worthy even if they bring on waves is central to improved communication. This way instead of being quiet we can be brave and open about changing the stance of perfectionism. We can build ourselves up and be accepting of what other people have to say.

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