Silence may be golden, but it can also be a big pain in the butt when it’s inflicted upon you in the form of vocal rest and you are not allowed to speak for fear of ruining your vocal cords forever. Geez.
As many of you know, that is my current situation having just had surgery on my vocal cord to remove a “pseudo-cyst”, which was essentially a blister-like abscess on my R vocal fold. It was gelatinous, as opposed to hard, like a node, so I was able to speak relatively well, but it kept me from producing the sound and strength necessary to sing to my ability. With a career in musical theater, getting it fixed was imperative.
But now I’m living in the silent recovery phase, allowing my vocal cord to heal from the procedure. The required vocal rest has me keenly aware of how selective I need to be during conversations with friends and family because every thought and feeling has to be written down and read in order to be expressed. On vocal rest I don’t have the luxury of rambling on and on as I refine what I mean in any given situation. I realize I must be efficient and clear if I want to participate quickly enough in any conversation. If I can’t be economical writing down my words I will be left in the dust. The conversation will change subjects before I have a chance to interject.
You’d think I’d be pulling my hair out, especially if you knew how much I love to talk. But it’s been rather refreshing. Sometimes I swear I speak just to hear my own voice, as if to justify my own existence. It’s a relief to realize what I have to say isn’t necessary most of the time. It’s a reality check for my ego, reminding me to chill out. It automatically instills a habit that I think is really important – in fact, it’s one of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits for Highly Effective People – Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
I also think the act of having to write down everything gives me pause to decide if I really want to say what otherwise may spew out of my mouth without reflection. It lets me think twice, which is a good habit for me to adopt. For realz.
So I welcome this week of silence, this respite from the noise that usually crowds my brain. It has given me perspective and I’m sure it’s given my husband a break from the monotony of my droning. Besides, it never hurts to let someone miss you every now and then. It buys you good will later on when you wanna talk their ear off. (just kidding)
I wonder if this brief blog is enough to cover the importance of the lesson this week has taught me—but I realize: I have said only what I need to say, and nothing more. I guess the lesson of silence is sinking in. As Will Rogers said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”