are you quiet or are you scared?
Hi! Molly here. I want to write more because it makes me happy and helps me understand myself. This is me doing that :)
I’ve been hearing “you should talk more” for… forever. From the very beginning, communication was clearly my strong suit: I’d growl and glare at other kids when they did something I didn't like. Once I got a little older and started going to parties, I discovered that my soft voice would simply dissolve into the baseline hum of human voices. Instead of shouting, I shut up.
When I did speak, I picked my words carefully. Anything that left my mouth had to have survived my numerous mental filters — each one simulating a different person’s perspective to predict how my message would be perceived. In practice, this meant that any opinion that managed to make it through all the filters was polished to perfection and playing it incredibly safe.
As you can probably guess, my quietness massively stifled my social life — leading me to the logical conclusion that I was incredibly and incurable socially awkward. Every interaction felt like a test. If I didn’t vibe with a person immediately, I failed. Instead of fact-checking this belief, I stubbornly clung to my quiet honor and collected citations to defend my silence. “Being ok with yourself when no one else is around is the truest test of character,” I would retort defensively. “Silence is a choice,” I’d scribble in all-caps. Both are kinda true, but my silence itself wasn’t valiant: it was purely because I was terrified of exposing my imperfections.
The thing to understand about being quiet is that when you do talk, people tend to listen. The first time, at least. If what you say is interesting, they’ll keep listening. “You’re so thoughtful” is how most people frame it. Naturally, they want more. But what they don't understand is that those opinions are like lotus flowers. They’re surrounded by mud, not more blossoms. I promise I’m not cherry-picking from a sea of perfectly thought-through opinions — I'm just spending more time polishing each one that does spring up to perfection.
The funny thing is that close friendship cracks this opinion curation complex right open. It did for me, anyway. Up until recently, I had zero desire to be anything but quiet. In fact, I viewed quietness as a virtue — I thought it was everyone else that should be more discerning about what they shared.
But man oh man, wanting to be understood by the people you love sure turns this opinion upside down. Probably because feeling seen requires airing your mud: by which I mean continually attempting to articulate the shameful and confusing inner workings of your mind — not just a curated selection of its greatest hits. Suddenly you're finding yourself fumbling with words and forming vague questions and feeling like every one of your imperfections is on full display.
But you do it because it’s the only way for your people to understand you. And being understood is kinda the whole point of life, no? The cool thing is that all this communicating pays off. It unlocks the gates to a new state of being together where none of you need to explain. It's kinda like being on the free plan of quiet and then switching to premium: your baseline level of contentment just got massively upgraded by feeling so ambiently understood.
Beyond the upgrade, I think airing your mud is also the only way to stop buying your own bullshit. See, we need other people to help us spot our bullshit beliefs. And once they’re identified, we also need a reason to change. If your only motivation to update your internal OS is your own long-term benefit, I wish you luck. It sucks, but we’re just not wired to value our future selves anywhere near as highly as we value our present comfort.
But herein lies the loophole: what might feel like moving a mental mountain to change purely for the sake of you often feels like no big deal to change for the sake of people you love. Maybe this is why people learn so much from love — you’re maximally motivated and receptive to changing yourself in order to experience life with your people.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m changing my tune. I no longer believe that I’m fundamentally quiet or incurably awkward. The truth is that we as human beings are ridiculously capable of updating our beliefs at any time and in turn, transforming ourselves into the people we want to be. And maybe the lesser-known side note is how much easier and more meaningful it feels when we don't have to do it alone.
I mention all of this as the first example of what I'm calling ‘rescripting.’ That’s what this Substack is going to be about. We all hold beliefs about ourselves that fundamentally really, really don’t serve us, and yet we let them define our decisions and understanding of the world. But we can update them, kinda like a changelog. This is the first of my self script release notes.
I’ve always found that an individuals writing style or rather their “voice” speaks to the perceptual depth of which their mind encompasses. Words carry more weight the less often they are articulated. However, as you point out this has a counter productive consequence of being “misunderstood”. Opening up and communicating as you suggest is vitally important to being seen by the people you love. I’ve found that long term strategic thinking is vitally important for manifesting the self within the world, but sharing that self as it evolves with others you love, is just as important. In this sense, a balance must be struck between single player gameplay and multiplayer gameplay within the world
I love this, the idea of 'rescripting.' I'm going through a similar process, specifically with regard to the belief that it's okay to have and own my desires. I've sort of nudged them to the side over the years for things I want to and think I should like but don't deeply enjoy (sums up graduate school thus far lol). I keep telling myself that it will eventually click, the work, this way of living and thinking, but it hasn't. The last four years have been hazy as a result, which makes me a sad, but I realized that if I could push myself through something I wasn't totally into, then I could bear the uncertainty of leaping into something that might just be right.