Silence is Golden

By addinaf - 9:06:00 PM

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Have you ever think about how words (from other people) can hurt so much to the point you can’t forgive/forget it for a long time? ‘Cause I do have some.

Disclaimer: This post might be another series of the body image issue that I’ve posted before but not necessarily always related to body issue because it could be anything or every aspect in life.

This topic came up in mind because I was talking with Najih, we were talking about body image (especially my insecurities toward this issue), and I said to him that once, a friend of mine said to me something like; "You are so heavy." in one event that required both of us to do physical activities together as a teammate (similar to outbound or outdoor activities). That moment, she had to carry my legs and I should walk with my hands to reach an object and vice versa.

Now, after you can imagine the situation, you might think that I just overthinking or take that too seriously. However, I must admit that I still remember how she said that sentence in front of my face and complaining about my body weight. She is taller than me and heavier than me but not so much, and I did feel the same about her weight (that she was heavy as well), but I didn't point that out because I think that was the reason of the game, right? I never thought that she had to spit that fact out of her mouth toward me in the middle of the game.

I still have a good relationship with her (not that we are super close, but not that I don't think she is not my friend anymore, you got it). I have forgiven her words, however, the bitter feeling stays linger in my heart. I can't help but every time I see her Instagram post/stories that show her full-body photos, my brain still recall that moment vaguely. I might be cruel but looking at her and how she 'develop' her body and looks even bigger and 'heavier' than she was before (at that time) give me the feeling that I win this competition, even though I know for sure, that this is never a competition between us. You know, that feeling when you think, "Look who talked about bodyweight to me a couple years ago." I genuinely feel bad because of this bitter feeling.

Another story that I still remember was about my accent. People did make fun of my accent. Whether it is my Javanese accent (a dialect from my hometown) or my Indonesian accent (not necessarily accent but how I mispronounce some words). I remember that once my fellow Jakartan friends made fun of my Javanese accent and they were laughing at me because I genuinely asked to them if I have a strong Javanese accent or not because I never realized it since I speak Indonesian more than Javanese. The thing is, people, tend to associate a person with Javanese accent to naive and countrified person. I hate it for that. I still remember the moment clearly when they were laughing and I honestly have insecurities about this accent issue as well since that happened.

This similar thing happened when I was working with other European friends. I knew that they don't have bad intention at all, however, when I mispronounce a word, one of my friend were laughing and I didn't understand why; and I just asked; "What?", she answered after managed her laugh, "You say that word so funny, I thought you were saying another word." I just want to let you know that I mispronounce woman and she thought I said human rather than woman, and I still don't understand until this time, what is funny about it? And it's okay if I made a mistake because English is not my native language, not hers either. That happened at a particular time so I assumed I didn't make that mistake continuously, but I still can remember how she laughs at me just because of one unnecessary mistake.

And so on, and so on. I believe you too have some similar stories that you can still remember the moment and couldn't forget it. I personally think that this kind of feeling is not a grudge, or I could be wrong as well, maybe I just a person with bad personalities and I keep my grudge, revenge, etcetera, which may be true as well.

However, the thing that I want to highlight is how your words, even with no bad intention, can hurt other people, maybe for a moment, for a day, for a week, or for years. That makes me worry about myself, what if my words hurt people the way some of the other people hurt me? What if people take my joke into their heart and become one of their insecurities? What if there is another person who sees me and has a bitter feeling toward me? Isn't it scary?

I think one old phrase about silence is golden is true, rather than hurt people with your bad thoughts, negative comments, or unnecessary jokes, we should just stay silent. In a sense that it's okay to give a comment or critique but in a more constructive structure, and I realize (in a really hard way) that give negative comments toward something that people can't change or something that already given is really hurtful to them. I have experienced people commenting about my nationality, my religion, my body, and a lot of things that I can't change or don't want to or chose not to.

I know I'm not the best person to say all of this, however, I really tried my best to change my words, to change the structure of my opinion or suggestion, except that person is asking for my honest thought, or else, just keep it to my self. After all, in this sense and context, silence is golden

Addina Faizati,
Summer, 2019

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