If you’re a bit of a Chatty Cathy, or even if you save your words for that perfect quick-witted quip, what do you do when you put a talking-ban on yourself for 24 hours?
Well, one of the MP! team members did just that… And this is what happened…
The most important part of doing something like this, I have learned, in hindsight, is preparation.
What prep do you need to not speak for a day? Well, it really does help to actually TELL PEOPLE beforehand what you’re doing. Why? Because it avoids awkward interactions with your mother where she thinks you’re being rude.
Even when you quickly scribble down it on a piece of paper.
The first few hours are easy though. It’s even fun. WhatsApping someone who’s sat next to you to pass the milk. Avoiding any in-depth conversations where you might normally implicate yourself. But then people just stop talking to you. Straight up. Because what’s the point when you can’t reply? Not with the speed they’re used to, at least.
And then, suddenly I was home alone.
This was the hardest part for me. Everyone was out and this is usually my cue to talk to the dogs, sing to the radio and even chat-back to the television with reckless abandon. Instead I had to hold it all in.
I am not being dramatic when I say that after 3 hours alone in the afternoon I started to feel stuck inside my own body.
So when the phone rings I pick it up without really thinking it through. Luckily it’s just an ad company and I took some satisfaction in the fact that all they got from me was heavy breathing and creepy silence.
It feels ridiculous to admit that not being able to express myself vocally was incredibly frustrating and it was making my throat itch and my tongue feel heavy. At one point I even worried that I wouldn’t be ABLE to speak once the 24 hours was up.
And I was definitely getting a sore throat.
Without a doubt.
Hypochondria aside, I found myself growing very reflective. I wasn’t completely without means of communication, and not being able to talk resulted in me listening more. I heard more. I learned more about the people around me.
It’s interesting because people that you have known for years suddenly change towards you, once the novelty has worn off. I was dismissed. I was picked on to see if they could make me crack. And it made me feel really uncomfortable because there are individuals that live their whole lives in similar ways.
It opened my eyes to how much I might take the spoken word for granted, and I am so thankful that it was a self-imposed silence, and not something irreversible. I don’t want to waste my voice ever again!