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By Rachel Gan
It’s not just conversation per se, but the value of words exchanged. How many words we use in day, that we waste and carelessly launch into the silence, that we rattle off like items on a list, niceties that have to be met.
It used to matter. Speaking. Speech used to matter, the ability to use words, learn words; you had to earn your audience. The suffrage movement, the emancipation proclamation, our right to speak bears a history of blood, violence, pride, honour and the determination of silenced men and women to cast off the fetters of oppression. Speech, is a gift.
And yet, we abuse this which we take as a given. We tweet inconsequentially, comment frivolously, our words no longer carry weight but serve to fill space. We talk, chat, gossip, blather, discuss, tête á tête, shoot the breeze and do not consider that as we prattle on, conversation is effaced.
When did we begin to talk at, instead of talk to?
It has been a long dry spell of good conversation, upended by the mundane five-minute gabs. I find myself craving, yearning, thirsting even lusting to talk to. I miss the consideration and deliberation we used to award words, when we spoke only when our thoughts are worthy of attention, when conversation was hours of heart with tea, biscuits with advice and soul upon cake.
This is the value of conversation to me, and when I talk to you, it’s not at you; our conversation demands attention, requires conviction and calls for – more tea. I regret the dissipating, shortening, hastening of them, little talks that I now know to hoard like nuts in the winter, like falling stars in my pocket that gleams in the dark silence. I regret losing sight of the words I used to love and now give out like corridor freebies. I regret forgetting how much I want to hear, to know, to understand. I regret losing track of ourselves in our haste and neglecting to share who we are because keeping thoughts, refusing to listen is selfish and words are a gift. It is a vote of confidence in the confidant; it is a privilege that in the hopes of its proliferation – has lost its place.
Remember that yes, we can say whatever to whomever but that does not mean that we should. Words are not loose change you keep in your pocket and conversations are not just words exchanged but words felt, silence that is full, sentences that fall into teacups, reverberating and echoing in its message. It takes only a click, a few clacks at the keyboard, a mere exertion of the vocal chords to pitch your words into the world. These are your thoughts. These are speeches that will define you, that people will use to measure you, judge you, think of you; and these are a reflection of what you think of yourself.
These are yours. Let them matter.
Talk to me, I will listen.