It’s not really an act of self-control for me, although I wish I could say it is; it’s more of an act of self-preservation. I learned that speaking what I think and how I feel runs with it a risk of losing people, so I say about as much as I think I can get away with. I’m usually pretty accurate.
This mode of (not) speaking is not without it’s negative consequences. It means I hold a lot of things back, a lot of true, right things even. Things people need to hear. And it weighs heavily on my conscience, it comes up in my dreams, it manifests itself in passive-aggressive speech and behavior.
All because I refuse to speak hard-to-hear things. I have to pad them, make them easier to swallow.
I realize this isn’t fair. This isn’t fair to the handful of people who have heard my thoughts and feelings (even the wrong ones) and haven’t run away or frozen me out. People who have endured with me and stood by me in real, honest moments.
My perception has been skewed towards what I’ve lost.
I can’t do this anymore. People have an awful tendency to take advantage of the silence, or the gentle speech when it’s given. I don’t like the yelling-at-people-in-dreams version of me, and I don’t like giving my true opinion in the most cutting way possible while still appearing nice. This is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be a mean person: someone who resorts to ignoble, scraping measures in order to be heard. And that’s who I’m becoming lately.
I’m still not going to be saying every little thing that pops into my head, but I am going to be better about speaking truth in love. I know it’s going to offend some people, and I may lose relationships with them as a result. I’m okay with that: I’m not going to be a coward, and I’m not going to be passive-aggressive. I will still endeavor to be gracious and compassionate and life-giving, but I will be truthful, and painfully so if necessary.
And you, those of you who have filled my silence with your words, who have become far too comfortable when my words have been gentle, you are just going to have to deal with it. Your coldness toward me will not deter me; I am too old not to know that this freezing is a manipulation tactic on your part. It might have worked in the past (scratch that, it HAS worked in the past), but I am no longer a bower and scraper. (Thanks to said people who have not made me bow and scrape, even when I’ve been wrong).
It’s a new chapter in how I relate to people, and I realize not everyone can or will make the transition with me, although I hope many will. I’ve just realized I need to make a change.