Creating the Webbd Wheel: Silencing and Waiting
In which silencing is not power and waiting is not living ...
I first heard a version of “The Tongue-Cut Sparrow,” an old fairy tale from Japan, on an audio recording. I was driving on an interstate highway in Colorado. I was so moved by the tale I had to pull over to sob. It seemed to me someone had looked into my heart and perfectly described my experience.
I’ve written on my blog, Harvesting Stones, about silencing here. Once I recognized this cultural brutality, I found it everywhere, and I still continue to see and experience it today. The most insidious thing about silencing is our internalization of it. By the time we are adults, we no longer need a powerful authority figure to tell us to be quiet. We do it to ourselves.
Many people feel the ability to silence others is power. It’s not. Those who silence others do it because they are threatened. They’re afraid of discussion, dissent, and differing points of view. They know freedom of speech, thought, and expression promotes change, flexibility, creativity, and new information.
Silencers are weak and impotent, seeking power over others to maintain a feeling of security and control.
The story of Waiting Woman is my own. I had a Prince, and I glimpsed Happily Ever After, and I waited … and waited … and waited. I waited for years. I walked away once, and then I went back and waited some more. Then, at last, I freed myself. Ironically, my reluctant Prince subsequently became my stalker, and his behavior was one of the reasons I moved across the country to Maine several years ago.
How many things in life do we wait for? We wait to grow up. We wait to get a driver’s license. We wait for a certain time, a certain date, a certain event. We wait for someone to notice us, to love us. We wait for the phone to ring. We wait in thousands of lines. We wait for the weather to change. We wait to lose weight, or for our acne to heal, or for our herpes outbreak to stop. We wait for the traffic light, for the very young, for the very old, for the commercials to be over. We wait for someone to catch up, or be ready, or get out of our way.
We wait for people to change.
Sometimes I feel I’ve spent my whole life waiting for one thing or another. I’m sad about this. Waiting is not life. Waiting is not love. Waiting is disempowerment.
There are certainly plenty of times in life when waiting is necessary, but waiting is not a worthy activity in and of itself. We can read while we wait. We can relax while we wait. We can do a load of laundry, stretch, spend time with a loved one, or do some intentional breathing while we wait. In other words, we may be waiting, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop living.
Waiting is essentially passive. Living is active.
A large part of my work to reclaim my own power over the last years has been noticing when I’m waiting and choosing to live instead. I don’t need to wait for love, because I love myself. I don’t need to wait for someone to connect with me. I can connect with them or let my expectations go. I don’t need to wait for a problem to be solved, an errand to be run, or a task to be done. I can do those things myself, learn new skills, or find someone to help. I don’t need to wait for things to be better, or different. I can make life glorious right now.
I don’t need anyone to change, which is good. Because, by and large, people don’t change to fit our needs. If change is needed in a relationship, I can do it myself. If I find myself in a situation where all I do is wait, it’s time to create a new situation.
Let’s not wait. Let’s live.
(Published with post #14 of The Hanged Man.)