I’ve written a lot about being single, and a lot about loneliness, but one thing I’ve never written about noise.
I hate noise.
I grew up with a lot of noise. I come from a very noisy family. Lots of screaming and yelling and fighting. Not just when people were genuinely mad/upset. All of the time. Screaming, in my family, was the norm. It was how people communicated.
And, in case you’re not familiar with those kinds of situations, it becomes an arms race, of sorts. Voices get higher and higher. So do the volumes on everything else. The TVs, of which there were MANY (by the time I was a teenager we had more TVs than people in the house, but that’s SO another story) were all set to blaring. And then people screamed even louder to be heard over the TVs.
For those of you who are new here, I have a complicated relationship with my family (some members more than others). Things are much less complicated now than when I was younger, as I decided sometime in my 20s that it was important to me to make my relationships with them work. No matter what.
Anyway, all that noise when I was a growing up affected me pretty deeply. In big ways and small ways.
The biggest way is that I avoid conflict in my relationships. Sometimes, in my attempts to avoid conflict, I accidently attract more conflict (by dodging small uncomfortable conversations for fear they might turn into fights, then having those turn into BIG fights later on). But, if there was a way for me to remove all conflict from my life, I would. I’ve been yelled at, and done enough yelling, for this lifetime. Yes, I know (in theory) there are people who can disagree without yelling, but I haven’t seen much evidence of that.
The fact is, I LOVE silence. I love sitting in my quiet apartment. All by myself. I love working in quiet rooms. Reading in quiet rooms. Taking long walks, alone. The quiet of solitude makes me happy, in a way that few things can/do.
And then there are the small things. Like I’ve been in my new apartment for almost a month and still haven’t plugged in the TV. And I really can’t stand being at insanely loud parties/bars. Or around people who need noise in their life (loud TV on in the background, all of the time, or loud music in the car).
Sometimes, I wonder about all of this. And I think that maybe my love of quiet is part of why I enjoy my single life so much. Why it’s such a good fit for me. And why, conversely, the thought of spending time with someone who isn’t a great fit fills me with dread, instead of happiness (to have someone to spend time with). I also wonder about other people. Are other people as sensitive to noise as I am? Does it elicit the same emotional response in “normal people”?
My sense is that some people dread silence and will do just about anything to fill it.
And, more importantly, should I maybe avoid dating men who are comfortable with noise/who enjoy chaos and confrontation?
I have no answers. Just questions.
Tags: apartment, family, loneliness