Biting Your Tongue

Sep 26th, 2009 11:22:00pm

In my last column I spoke of silence. The sweetness of it; its benefits and its rarity. This column too is about silence, but one that is nothing like what I have just described. It is not sweet. It is not beneficial. And, unfortunately, it is one of the most common things in the world.

A wise and amazing person once said, “Hearts are often broken by words left unspoken.” Another such person started a blog in which she wrote all the things she’s never said to the people in her life. Why? Because they were never said out-loud, and they have to be let out somehow, in some way. Hence the blog; hence the quote.

There are times when the only thing to do is keep your mouth quite firmly shut- just grin and get through it. Then, there are times when things just have to be spoken out loud, even if it’ll just make it worse, for your own sanity. We don’t do that. Not all of us, at any rate. We keep things bottled up, or just say it in our heads while either imagining throttling the living daylights out of the person involved (in the case of those who got on your bad side) or imagining holding them in your arms and never letting go (need I even say I mean your loved ones?). Words that are left unspoken are like acid on your tongue- bitter, burning, yearning to be released from your lips. It amazes me the amount of will-power it takes to hold them back. Why do we? Why can’t we just say what we want to? What we think? What we feel?

I look around, sometimes. At people passing by. At my family. At random strangers on the street or in the mall. And I wonder, “What are they not saying? What are they going through, right now, in this moment? What are they thinking? And why can’t they just come out with it?” Now, I am being completely hypocritical. I am the first to admit that when it comes to “making with the words”, I am not exactly what you’d call expressive. I really do taste acid sometimes, and it makes me think about all the other people who do. People like me, who go day after day not speaking up, speaking out. Speaking loud, speaking proud. There are such people, yes. People who are not afraid to divulge what’s on their mind without shame. I am not referring to those who have no tact whatsoever, but those who know the right time for the right words. For people who don’t hold back unless they realise they might needlessly hurt someone. I admire them. I look up to them. I’m sure everyone who’s like me has. Yet I keep silent.

And so do my fellow sufferers.

We live in an oppressed world. There is no such thing as “freedom of speech”. Some things are not permitted to talked about out loud. Whether this unspoken ban is in one’s home, in one’s school or workplace or even in one’s very own government, there will always be that little weight pressing down on you: “You can’t say this. You can’t. You’re not allowed. It’s not appropriate. They won’t like it. Keep quiet. Keep quiet. SHUT UP!” Everyone’s heard this voice in their thoughts. Some people ignore it, and some people submit and begrudgingly taste that bitterness. Swallow it down. Move on. Not. You might swallow it down alright, but there’s no moving on from those things you didn’t say. They fester in you, and as the quote goes, “Hearts are often broken..”

Guess what, my readers? Someone needs to defend the rights of us people to say what we think. Tact is important, yes, but keeping silent all the time isn’t healthy. It isn’t right. Relationships are torn apart. Some never even begin. Innocent people are killed. Men and women are sent to needless war. Yes, sometimes action is the only way. But find out why. Ask questions. Speak out. Speak proud. Say something someone might not like, if it needs to be said. Let your feelings out. Let it out. Stop biting your tongue and speak. Scream. Shout it out.

I truly hope I live to see the day people don’t taste acid on their tongues anymore.

I hope I become one of them.

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