I'm collecting drafts.
My thoughts finding their way on these pages, only to be tucked away where no one can see. Funny, life reflected online. My draft count climbs into forty beginnings but I haven't posted anything here since July. It's been nearly a year and I have so much to say but I don't always say it anymore.
After a lifetime of growing out (hands, feet, legs), I have just begun growing in (backbone, gut, heart). I have spent a life reflecting--but only scraped the surface. The more I hear my own voice, though, the more I have to stop myself from speaking. Afraid to say too much, I collect drafts: conversations that could have gone differently, whole chunks I should have said.
But I have stopped talking for others: no longer apologizing for mistakes I didn't make, I have learned to wait. When you're studying to be a teacher, people often profess the powers of Wait Time; of giving a room of students the opportunity to internalize a question before moving on. Wait Time is trusting that things will click. Giving, sometimes, more than a comfortable amount of time for the room to catch up with a new concept.
I struggle with silence. Some would say, I hate it. In the classroom, it made sense but--in life? How was I supposed to trust that someone else would start talking? How long was I supposed to wait before trying again?
When I was a child, I was often expected to make the first move. I often apologized, without knowing why, just to end the silence. I remember so much about standing, mostly upright, in a long room with dim lighting. I remember the flicker of the television and the commercial break that meant I had approximately four minutes to say everything I had practiced. When you're a child and given a very tiny window to do the job of an adult, you tend to learn to speak fast and fill the back of your throat with remorse. Eventually that feeling travels into the rest of your body, your blood, and you believe you should feel sorry. You haven't been given the luxury of Wait Time. If you stopped to think, just for a moment, the commercials would end and you would be engulfed in the silence, again. But, if you stopped to think--just for moment--you might also realize you shouldn't have apologized at all. Wait Time is a powerful tool.
So I have begun employing Wait Time, in my daily life. I have stopped giving people the answers, bracing myself to be pleasantly surprised (or disappointed).
When things don't work out the way I had hoped, in class, this would indicate a need to re-teach a concept. In life, this indicates a need to reexamine a situation.
Where I used to rush to fill in the silence, of my own life, I wait to see what would happen if someone else spoke first. Sometimes, I'm learning, you wait months and nothing happens. Sometimes the silence becomes so vast you almost forget. Sometimes, Wait Time works and the other person starts to speak (but that doesn't mean they say the things you needed to hear). So you re-examine. You could re-teach or repair or reply. You could keep waiting.
Or you could let it go.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.