Avery Grant: The Strength of Silence

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Avery Grant says it’s the quiet voices that are often the most worth listening to.

I have practiced ballet for the past 15 years and recently started to learn American Sign Language. Human communication is an art. I find happiness in expression through movement, challenging the typical ways and norms of communication. Words can often take up space, an endless combination of syllables spoken into a never-ending void. Constant chatter back and forth like roosters competing for the loudest crow. That is why I, and many introverts, choose our words and embrace the unsaid. There is beauty in silence.

I vividly remember my sixth-grade history teacher telling the class that once we let words out of our mouths, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten. As a firm believer in the saying “if you can't be kind, be quiet,” this seemed blatantly obvious to 11-year-old me. In a world that promotes booming voices, it often feels like I am a whisper and my voice gets lost among the many. We live in an extroverted country. Schools and the workplaces are designed for
extroverts. Positions of power seem to be given to those who make the most noise, rather than the ones with the strongest ideas. From politics to social media, it is just a competition of sound. I know that there would be more kindness and love communicated if we all took a pause before each sentence. There is peace in silence.

Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill Gates and Sir Issac Newton, were and all are introverts themselves and have changed civilization as we know it with their ideas. Instead of trying to change introverts, extroverts need to learn that silence is beautiful. It provides a stillness that the bustling world so desperately needs. I, and many like me, learn more by listening than by talking.

As I have matured, I realized that many people do not listen to understand, rather they listen to reply. Actively listening to our classmates, coworkers, friends and family creates stronger connections to one another. Life is not always about stringing words together, rather cherishing the moments and breaths in between. As we all continue to gracefully dance and navigate our ways as we grow, we must remember that sometimes a handshake or a hug will fix what a thousand words cannot. Words have a purpose yet there is wisdom in silence.

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With a Perspective, I’m Avery Grant.

Avery Grant is 17 and is a student and dance teacher. She lives in Marin.