Posted in social commentary

The Right to Remain Silent

In personal writing you have the right to remain silent. What is yours to process is private. In a world where lives are openly shared and viewed by others, how we are perceived is a coin toss. Whatever your opinion is about exposure, the journal remains a safe haven for most writers.

For me, when full sentences and long moods enter, poetry is brewing. I  have the right to contemplate without exposing. The bliss of taking time to be meditative seems appropriate and necessary. As the caterpillar  wraps itself into a cocoon so does the human spirit have a need to go within to morph. Then, time to emerge. Flit around. Socialize!

                           butterfly on white flower 1

In June the Sonoran landscape holds the heat descending onto the desert floor. A certain quietude takes over when winter residents head back north. Early summer seems to be made for reading and reflecting. I’m in heaven, in the middle of a fantastic book, Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Talk about a breath of fresh air; I love this book. It’s all about people and their social needs. Do you know your personality type?

In personality testing I’m right down the middle of the scale, leaning a bit more toward extroversion. Surprise. I’ve been called opinionated and sweet in the same sentence. The first one on the dance floor, I  would be out there in front boppin’  til the last song. Yet I need long periods of solitude and have been that way since childhood. I don’t need the spotlight.  Too much yak drives me nuts but I’m guilty of it myself at times.  So what’s the point?

People do have personality styles according to enneagram systems.  Testing equally  as more of an investigator and loyalist type, I migrated from the peacemaker and caretaker. Fascinated by study,  painting, and listening to music, the world of parties and events is secondary now. It changes.

Studies show that introversion and extroversion are real. It’s not that extroverts need people and love to party, or that introverts hug the walls and never go out. But it’s close. The point is more about how people process their feelings. Gender experts say women have to talk it out. Within 10 minutes of talking to a women you’ll know her life story and all about that mean comment her husband’s boss made to him on Friday. It would seem that  men would rather have a root canal than talk about their feelings.  Generally,  they are more comfortable talking about the game scores, jumpshots or details of car parts. Usually the man will want to be validated over feeling judged in a relationship. Regardless of gender, here are some questions about personality style:

• Do you need lots of quite time alone to read?
• Do you thrive on excitement and challenge?
• Does the thought of staying home  for more  than 4 hours drive you nuts?
• Are you a listener or a talker?
• How do you deal with negative emotions?
• Do you thrive on deep meaningful conversations or lighthearted banter?
• Do you get right to the point or avoid confrontation to spare feelings?
• Are you authentic and blunt or worried about fitting in?

Experts  say that writing about life is good for you. The immune system is strengthened by processing emotions. To find proof that it’s ok to do so is a big mood lifter for some quiet types.

Journal suggestion: Try writing in a public place about the most traumatic event in your life. How does it feel? Then, write in a quiet, serene place about the same topic.

Step two: What is your personality type? Take a personality test and see if you agree with the findings. Are you surprised or not?

                                             drawing for the right to remain silent

Happy journaling!

Coming up: interviews with guest bloggers.


I made it this far and plan to keep going. I believe nature heals the soul. I love to journal, to write, do art, and music. I'm not afraid to tackle tough subjects. Solar-powered & drive hybrid. Trying to do my part. Earned my BA at 53. And, I believe, it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

7 thoughts on “The Right to Remain Silent

  1. Sue, This is one of your best posts yet, so rich in information and inspiration. Live your artwork, too. Thanks for the links. I’m sharing this all over 🙂

  2. I enjoyed The introvert’s Way: Living a quiet life in a noisy world, by Dembling, even more than Quiet.

    I’m a totally un-shy, but died in the wool, introvert. It’s a spectrum, and as you point out, we show up at various points along a spectrum. (No one will know all about me in the first 10 minutes of meeting me, and I don’t want to know that much about them that soon either.) At least I think you pointed that out. I have something in my eye so reading just became blurred. 😉

    I plan to reread this post, because there’s a lot more in it that I want to process.

  3. Hi Lynette, I will check out your book suggestion. I think there is definitely room for debate on personality theory and social styles. Some say that there is truth to the theory and that basic personality doesn’t change. But…on the other hand, it’s like the debate over nature vs nurture. Is it either/or both? Do children act in certain ways because of their environment or genetics or upbringing, or all of the above? And how much of testing is valid? Does trauma change personality? One author claims that basic personality doesn’t change over time. Hmmm. I’m still out on the verdict on that one.

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting. Have you read Louise DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing, How Telling our Stories Transforms Our Lives? I just finished a class based on this wonderful book. Best wishes on the writing journey.

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