On Silence

In 2013, I decided to stop writing regularly in my blog, which I had been posting to daily since 2009 when I graduated college. I had what should have felt like success with a reasonable audience, an ebook and launch, collaborations, guest posts, even some money from my writing.

Then, in 2013 I stopped abruptly. I suddenly found the act of expressing my opinions offensive and exhausting, just a lot of ego-stroking. It was, as my high school philosophy teacher called his subject, intellectual masturbation. I spent a lot of energy on sustaining the illusion that I was doing anything other than writing a very public, very image-focused diary.

I wasn’t bothering anyone because I didn’t take up that much space, but writing was cultivating an attitude in me that I was an authority on anything other than my own life. And THAT was influencing my life and relationships in ways I didn’t like.

So I stopped. The silence was welcome.

It made me feel unburdened. Instead of opining on everything, I could just experience it. I didn’t have to get involved in “the dialogue.” I think I was afraid of becoming unimportant if I didn’t constantly chime in and update people on my thoughts and ideas, but I have found it a welcome break for my ego.

For a long time, I associated living with the constant fight to matter, and death with freedom from that responsibility, but I feel that same freedom when I’m camping, or flying, or on a long road trip, which are also the times I feel most alive. For me, those were times mattering didn’t matter. Executing the plan was what mattered.

Writing the way I had been was an exercise in expressing my ego over and over and over again, trying to matter. Living with others’ expectations was similarly a constant push-and-pull of trying to matter. And of course, it’s exhausting.

On the other hand, I don’t actually have to live that way.