Most of the time… actually, all of the time, I find it easier to express myself by writing rather than speaking; most of the time, I remain quiet. Yes, sometimes it is out of pure apprehension (e.g. when I feel new to a person or people or an environment), but most of the time, I just enjoy it. These moments of silence are quite like when I was younger (about 14 years ago); I had sort of a language shock— a delayed language acquisition. At the time, I was picking up three languages: English, Korean, and Spanish. I was raised in a Korean-American home with a Mexican nanny. I did not know which language to use comfortably, so I would gesticulate more and use very minimal language (one word sentences) to get my point across. I had no issue with my family, only with other people.
Yes, the fact that I preferred not to talk with people had a bit to do with nerves, but most of the time it was just out of pure reservation from making myself sound incoherent and stupid. Three languages were swirling in my mind; words that I did not quite understand yet and words that I had learned in three of the languages were coming together all at once…
But now, when I am silent, I am mostly thinking and reflecting and creating. In my silence, I find pleasure in it. In reserving my words and being silent, I am able to be more observant and listen. My silence is often misconstrued as reservation. Yes, there is some level of reservation and introversion, but this aspect is my frustration and anxiety. Knowing that there is a side of me that is introverted causes me to fight against it at times. Because of this tension, I often do not listen well enough. I do not want to be completely introverted. I want to be able to be gregarious in social situations. While both sides fight, it’s hard for me to know what to do.
I understand now that this tension is very selfish. I must embrace my true nature. The problem is this: I do not know my true nature. I am constantly trying to open myself to new experiences and skills in order to find myself. Perhaps I should just stop trying, stop experiencing things for my sake, and start living my life loving those in my community— my family and friends and acquaintances— to find myself. I should be more content with who I am rather than spending my time in solipsistic silence. When I am in my mind, meditation should be the only reason.