Can you imagine a day without any kind of social interaction? Without Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or even a cell phone. And what if you’d add to this fairly unique equation the natural and instinctive act of speaking? Can you picture what would be like if you’d take a vow of silence? I can’t. Couldn’t, actually. Until I decided to take one myself.
I honestly believed I could do it, that it would be a rather easy thing to accomplish, but the truth is that I couldn’t be more wrong! And thinking about it, if it was such a straightforward, effortless task, probably Chelsea wouldn’t have done it to redeem herself, right?
Escaping conversations wasn’t hard. So many times I simply used a smile or a nod as an answer. The complicated consequence of not replying with spoken words was thinking about what I wanted to say or would’ve said, and then understanding that maybe that wasn’t quite what I hoped to respond. Therefore, I ended up over-thinking everything, and analysing every single reaction of mine. At times it wasn’t demanding, it would feel right, but so many others it was just plain hurtful. And that made me realise that I might have misunderstood and offended people before without being my intention. It is not an excuse, it never is, but wasn’t that a bit of what happened to Chelsea? She couldn’t keep her mouth shut, everybody knew that, so she revealed a secret, but was really her purpose to almost kill someone? Wasn’t she misinterpreted? Maybe even a victim herself, of her own insecurities and fears?
I was able to go speechless for the entire experience, however, I did use a small notebook for emergencies, only because I picked the toughest day possible to endure such a silent mission. Believe it or not, I had to plan an entire holiday using basic and small sentences. Couldn’t it have waited until the next day? Unfortunately no. The trip took place three days later.
This was also a very useful method to pick up a ticket reservation and to order dinner. The funniest—and incredible—thing about it was that I was the one being astonished at the face of results. From the bare start, I knew I wanted this to be a challenge, I needed to feel like I was capable of anything in any given situation, so like Chelsea I went out and tried to have a normal day. I just never expected people to react the way they did. Seeing I merely had a couple of words written on a paper sheet, both men thought that I also couldn’t hear, thus they communicated with me using their hands. I found this to be extremely interesting because neither of them even thought about the possibility of me being unable to speak due to having the flu or something like that. They just automatically assumed I could only talk using ink or sign language.
I also got looked at—a lot. I think people were curious, wanting to know why I was having a conversation with someone who was answering me through speech—and the other way around too. Some of them had no problems about leaving me uncomfortable by simply staring, but others tried to hide it every time I looked at them. The only moment I felt scared and nervous was when an old couple that truly communicated using sign language passed nearby my table. What would have I said if they had noticed and stopped? Would I have broken my vow? Would I experience muteness for real? Frankly, I have no idea what my reaction would be.
At the end of the day, it takes a lot of courage to do something like this. And, to me, Chelsea simply showed the true strong person that was laying beneath all that shallowness. ‘Cause it is much easier to just speak about it, think about it, wonder about it than it is to actually do something about it. And she did something. She changed herself. She erased all the bad things and learned how to reach deep down for the good ones. She became the person she was meant to be all along. And as for me, I did discover some things about myself that were still unknown to me. This was an incredible experience that I surely won’t forget anytime soon. But would I ever do it again? Yes, sure. Just not for now.