I decided because I argued so much and I talk so much, you see, that I was going to stop speaking for just one day – one day to give it a rest. And so I did. I got up in the morning, and I didn’t say a word.John Francis, TED
John Francis did not speak a word for 17 years. Two years ago, when I was busy as a bee, I remember listening to this crazy TED story on the lousy bus going home from school. It was sunny outside, and people in the bus were as frowning as they were every day. I had homework and anxiety. People around me had no care and stone hearts. Then, I was stricken when I heard this guy not talking to anyone for SEVENTEEN YEARS.
First, the first thing came to my mind was “he must be crazy.” I was convinced he was crazy, then John Francis told the broadcaster when he started to actually speak in 17 years. It was in his or someone else’s birthday party, where he had his friends and family celebrating, happy, and secure. Then boom! magic! Later, I was thinking why he did not speak, again. I thought someone or some people must have broken John’s trust to words so much, he never spoke until that trust was repaired in such moment. Maybe it was repaired during 17 years, but in my imagination, the circumstances of the moment he started to speak could not be coincidental. Or it was just because he wanted to avoid arguments, as he said in the interview. Well, hmmm…
Then, I began thinking about my words, and my trust to words, and my trust to people with my words. At that time when I heard this broadcast, I did not enjoy conversation (still I don’t) and the only person I trusted with my words was my best friend who lived 8.000 miles away from me. Now I realize I did not even tell her how I felt, but listened what she felt about things. Our lives were similar in a way, so when she told me about how she felt about her parents, boys, or school I felt a little bit relief. Sometimes she listened my outbursts. We were a good team of anger bunnies. However, this year I realized she did not care about me as much, and I stopped talking to her. That instance, she dropped our friendship, did not even try to save it. Our friendship must have been a sank ship, I was just the one who looked at it underwater.
It wasn’t her fault though, I say to myself. For years, I rejected telling people about the things that frustrated me. You know why? Because people do not care about you, me, or they. People care about their I‘s. Because I believe in this, and had two of the people whom I trusted treated me like a transparent water bottle, in which it did not matter if there was water inside, you could always see through, if you wanted. You always wanted to see through.
Well, I was thinking about John just now, who did not speak for 17 years. I was thinking about my experience with words. Later, I was thinking why I don’t enjoy people. John said in the interview, he saw no point in talking. I think we are alike with John, but John is more honest and brave about this. Maybe he was hurt more than I was, or maybe he had other reasons not to speak. As I said, it is all in my head.