As I mentioned yesterday, I was a somewhat talkative child.
Okay, okay, I was SUPER ANNOYING NON-STOP TALKATIVE.
At home, anyway. In public, I tended to be more on the shy side, but when I was at home with my family, it’s a surprise I didn’t randomly pass out on a regular basis from lack of oxygen, because I basically just never shut up.
My parents would be trying to watch Star Trek and I’d be like
“MOM! GUESS WHAT?”
“HEY MOM! YOU KNOW WHAT?”
“OH! AND ALSO – ”
So my mom used to play a game with me.
“Andrea, Andrea,” she’d say in her quietest, calmest, most UNannoyed tone of voice, “I bet you can’t be totally quiet for two whole minutes.”
“See the clock? It says 6:34. I want to see if you can go until 6:36 without talking.”
“YEAH I COULD!”
“Okay, then do it.”
I was totally onto her.
So as hard as it was for me – and trust me, it was hard – I would purse my lips and hold it all in. Sometimes I wanted to talk so badly that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. In all fairness, I was a little kid, so I may have been forgetting to breathe just because my mouth was shut. But still! I stuck to the game.
And then some.
On nights I was particularly annoyed/hurt that my mom wanted to play the quiet game with me, I would actively flip it on its head. I’d look at the clock and decide FUCK IT, I’m never speaking again.
If you’ve ever questioned whether stubbornness is something you’re born with, IT IS.
Once I got past the initial feelings of suffocation and panic, I would find total serenity in my silence. It was like an out-of-body experience. My silence was all-encompassing and completely satisfying. I was at one with my silence.
And then my mom would get freaked out.
“Andrea, are you okay?”
(Insert some stereotypical zen “OMMMMMMMMM” here. But only inside my mind. Not out loud. Never out loud.)
“Andrea, say something.”
“Andrea! You’re scaring me! Say something, please!”
“Oh, thank goodness.”
And that was when I learned what reverse psychology is.