The most beautiful thing a person could ever have is a voice. Funnily enough, having one has little to do with actual speaking. Articulation is as much a strength as silence is, and if you master both you can ascend to the top of the world. But if you were to forget one of them, you’re out on a limb. Because people will tire to listen to someone who never stops talking. And no one can hear your words unless you speak them.
During the last few months back home I’ve come to realize how common it is for people to have forgotten. Either to stop talking or to start doing it. I don’t know which is worse, because you forfeit your voice in both ways. I just know I fear ever being led to think that my voice should always be the loudest.
A Swedish idiom says empty barrels make the most noise. There might be something to it. Because when the telling of one’s own experiences always comes before the listening of somebody else’s, you display what you consider the most important. And it’s precisely at that point when you believe you have more to teach than to be taught, that you’re in peril.
I wonder if most of us are just trying to make ourselves heard in a deafening world? Is there a fear that a moment of quietude would consume us alive? Would our entire existence cease simply because we allowed our own perception of it to not always come first? The incessant jabbering of people so persuaded by their own relevancy has swallowed the voices of people doubting their own for centuries. It’s a different kind of pandemic to which there is no vaccine 90 % effective looming.
Moving to Dubai was in many ways like stepping into Narnia . Regardless of how many years go by in that enchanted world, time always seems to have stood still each time I retrace my steps back here. And if it has, maybe it explains it all. Maybe the need for constant assertion comes from being trapped in time. If life has come to revolve in circles, perhaps the noise is a sedative to persevere. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve begun to feel the void of my circle in Dubai. Because beyond the polished surface of a shallow world where everything and everyone is exchangeable, are people with minds more open than anywhere else I’ve known. In a melting pot of every flavor in any sense, this world has to offer, you cannot survive without a mind willing to sometime be wrong, eager to learn and humble to teach. That’s the people I chose. And I suppose that’s why we have survived for so long.
Perhaps it’s not at all a Swedish phenomenon.
Perhaps it’s a global matter.
Yet it has become something I so strongly link to coming back home, and at the same, one of the more cogent reasons for why it cannot be my permanent one just yet.