Fear of my silence… that other people have.

After church service last night I was walking out of church when I saw the Youth Group minister. I proceeded to softly kick him in the leg to greet him. He looked at me with the same “be careful what you are doing cause you don’t want to see my bad side” look, which I ignored because it’s not really threatening.

An adolescent that likes hanging around me because of my music ministry asked the minister questions about his opinion of me. Among the several jokes that the minister made, he started to joke about how horrible I was because “I don’t speak”. He explained that it is at those moments where I don’t speak that I’m planning my next prank. The minister said to the adolescent that for that reason he had to fear when I was silent. A fellow musician joined in on the conversation. (This musician and I used to be friends, so we have a considerable history of interactions.) The musician immediately said that I was Nataliban and Al Quaeda because of my prankster nature. The minister and the musician were sharing the experiences they have had interacting with me, mainly my pranks.

I laugh because I know that it’s the appropriate response. I also laugh because I can appreciate their creativity in their jokes and their comedic statements. I am not mad when they do that, because I do the same to them. My moral code is that I won’t expect something out of other’s that I’m not willing to do myself. So I take it when I occasionally become the butt of their jokes.

This is not the first time that I have heard this perception about my silence and pranking and joking nature. When I was in the Dominican Republic in the year 2013, a young female showed concern for my silence stating that my silences were something to fear because of what would happen when I opened my mouth. Other people that heard the comment seemed to agree, but my memory of that isn’t that clear.

It amazes me how close-minded their perceptions of me can be. It seems that under certain circumstances I as a person can be reduced to one trait. I know that jokes have a tendency to do that, but I have experienced this type of reaction under other contexts as well.

I prank people, but only people that I trust. My argument for them to not destroy my pranking nature is that if I prank you then it should be considered as an indicator of a certain level of trust. It’s a positive thing at its core. The same thing goes for telling jokes.

When I’m silent I do think of possible pranks, but not always. I think of jokes, but not always. I think of music, but not always. I think of deep philosophical issues, but not always. I think of nothing, but not always. I analyze my environment, but not always. My mind is always doing something, even if it’s just hibernating.

My silence is not always a danger to others. It’s called introversion. It’s not dangerous, and it’s not something to fear. It’s just scary because there is no way to control what goes on in my head. The only other reason that other people consider my silence scary is because a significant amount of things that are externalized are, indeed, pranks… and jokes. Apparently my deep philosophical discussions rarely come out. My ideas get no attention. Apparently the world that speaks up only receive the part of me that is shallow, the part of me that I do as a mechanism to make my lack of social skills less visible.

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