Falling on Deaf Ears

It’s easier to be quiet than to speak and go unheard.

Undoubtedly, there aren’t many things that get a person boiling than to express a sentiment only to go unheard. “Was what I said confusing? Irrational? Did it make sense to them as much as it did to me?” The inner monologue is silent, but deafening in the minds of those that voice their thoughts, concerns, aspirations, wants, or needs. Talking to yourself, however, doesn’t often yield the answers we hope or want to receive.

So what’s the alternative when you speak up, but stay unheard?

It’s an easier idea to sit soundlessly, incubating those feelings that are festering inside now. Easier to allow yourself to reach a point where the words rest against the back of your tongue and throat, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to explode forthwith, unyieldingly, like the bullets racked in a pistol with a shaking finger teasing the trigger.

How do you compromise savoring those syllables, so fermented by now that they sting your tastebuds and water your eyes?

It’s a bit devastating to think that your feelings, that bring you both tears of joy and rage, can be dismissed so easily or disregarded as if your breaths and emotions are of lesser value than the reverberation against an eardrum would show. It doesn’t sit comfortably between your ears that your feelings aren’t appreciated in the way you hoped they would. Less comfortable in the idea that the efforts taken to convey messages of meaning fall upon silence or that an immediate reaction isn’t evoked. It’s not the delivery of the message that’s paramount – it’s that it reaches its intended target and allows the content to be absorbed.

So many words for so little thought. It’s in our nature to strive to be heard and acknowledged. It’s a reward to have those expressions taken into account and changes to be made. But should that be the reward and not the baseline?

It’s often thought that listening to be heard and listening for action are inextricably linked, since you can’t act on what you don’t know. Closed mouths don’t get fed, so I’ve heard. The wave of emotion crests different when you’ve vocalized your emotions – frustration, lust, love, disappointment, goals, necessity, excitement – and the cascading words shatter and pile at the feet of the recipient. Not everything can be handled with kiddie gloves, but at least those words get handled and taken into account.

Expression, for some, is a never ending work in progress. Listening, acknowledging, and improving is the flipside of that coin. For some, that coin can be flipped endlessly – no conclusion to be seen. Or heard.

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