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I am now in my third week of Silence and I have been exploring what it means to be selfish. I took some time out this week visiting some friends in London, painting some pictures then I headed up north to Manchester to check out the Art scene, I felt so at home, I discovered an artist called Clifford Owens who was exhibiting at the Corner house Galleries, I felt really inspired.
I am meeting like minded people on my journey that I connect with and it’s a beautiful feeling, I can converse for hours with them even without the use of my voice, still the general consensus is that no one really truly understands what the hek I’m doing so they make their own assumptions automatically, that’s what we as human beings do. When i’m communicating with people in silence I am being treated the way I’m being perceived through the judgemental eyes of others and it can be difficult not to react to this, I can’t explain myself verbally so its a challenge for me not allow the way others view me to define my behaviour. When someone looks at you like you’re special, or in a positive light, you automatically feel special, or positive, if someone looks at you like you’re stupid, or in a negative light, it makes you feel stupid or negative, which is what keeps on happening with the people who are closest to me and It’s creating unnecesary tension in my life.
I went to visit an old friend on the 13th, I decided to speak as I could see they were getting a bit freaked out, not only that, I started to feel like ‘Oh my god, what if i can’t speak anymore’, it was strange, so I just wanted to check that my voice hadn’t evaporated completely, it hasn’t, my pipes still work. In my three hours of talking on that day my friend and I ended up arguing over past issues that are no longer relevant. Saturday was my Birthday, I was pushed to talking by my mum through her frustration of me not speaking which inevitably turned into an argument, and today the same thing happened again with my sister. I was so angry that I had allowed myself to break my silence in attempt to explain myself, I shouldn’t have to explain myself, as long as I am not hurting anyone I should be respected for the choices that I choose to make, It affirmed to me that I’m totally on the right path and this is where selfishness kicks in, this is something that is extremely difficult to do and function in socitey and it is something that is really important for me to achieve. I’m seeing things and behaviour from a much broader perspective as time goes by and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to engage in generic chit chat mainly because I am made by others to feel unwelcome in the conversation and looked upon like outsider, I feel like I’m in a different space from the people around me, but I’m choosing still to integrate as a form of artistic expression and to record my interaction, people who are in silence usually retreat but I don’t have that luxury so I’m making the best out of an odd situation. I am in silence for a reason and I no longer have time for anyone who doesn’t respect what I’m doing.
There are so many reasons why I have decided to do this silence that there is no one answer when I am asked why, and when I do try to explain, it’s art and it’s spiritual people want to know the in’s an out’s and for some reason want to challenge me instead of simply respecting my choice not to talk. However difficult communication may be for me I find it so interesting to gage people’s reactions, some assume i’m deaf then get confused when they realise that I can hear them, some people find what I’m doing fascinating, most find it strange but a lot of people i’ve found really open up when there is someone there to just listen. I have learned that I do like to listen to people talk uninterrupted and I’ve noticed that most people’s favorite topic of conversation is themselves, selfish.
We have created a world of selfishness and we place self image so highly in what it is that defines us, when people get a chance to tell their story and be heard you can see it’s almost like a relief on their soul that someone cares enough to just sit and listen. So many people only really comminicate in cyber world and express themselves through staus’ and snap shots of their ideal realities. The other day I saw a group of girls pretending to be sitting at a table socialising just so that they could take a photograph, then they jumped up straight away and left, it was bizarre.
A friend of mine pointed out to me a few weeks ago that he thinks I am selfish, it felt like someone had just kicked me in the ribs, it annoyed me so much for the fact that I had done above and beyond to accomadate that person, but In my silence I do see what they meant. Hi my name is Janiece and I’m selfish, I am, I always think i’m right, I take selfys, I love myslef and I say ‘I’ a lot, that’s only because ‘I’ have ‘My’ own personal point of view on things that I understand that not everyone else around me shares and I respect that, although I feel if people adapted my point of view the world would be a much better place, still, I’m not into dogma. If I don’t care for something generally I won’t entertain it. This can be a strength or a weakness, we can’t love everything and we should know what we as individuals like and dislike but it’s not healthy for society for people to be closed minded and fearful of things that they don’t understand, it’s good to take time to listen, even if we think we already know, there is always more to learn. There is another side to my own personal selfishness that comes from a place of sensitivity, loneliness and my own pursuit of happiness. I am naturally quite insular yet bubbly which can seem like such a contradiction but thats me, I have always been that way and my life so far has taught me to be over protective of myself and my emotions because not everyone understands me, I have this overwhelming need to please people and make the people around me happy, to create a happier environment, thats why I love performing. In order for me to maintain balance in my life I have had to learn to love myself and be happy to the point that I don’t feel the need to be validated by others, which, whilst it is comforting can create isolation.
We should all be aloud and allow ourselves to be a little bit selfish, to never loose sense of self and self worth. It’s important to respect each others selfishness, listen to each others stories without judgement and celebrate each other. It seems to me that so many people are competing, for what? I have no clue, competition is a facade, life is not a game. We should all be free to express ourselves as unique individuals, our identity is our story but whats a story if the people around are too wrapped up in themselves to listen to it if not with a judgmental eye. Who am I and what am I doing here? In this time of the selfy nation we’re all looking to find ourselves, weather it be in silence, In chaos or through a pouty pic taken on the reverse camera of an iPhone, it might not be everyones cup of tea but there’s nothing wrong with a selfy.
So yesterday I typed out my whole blog post only to refresh the page by accident and wipe the whole thing, I was inches away from crying, I was actually heart broken, I have been very emotional, I’m on day 9 of my Silence and it’s no longer feeling golden, I’m beginning to feel the strain of not being able to communicate. I’ve been asked if I’m mentally ill, I’ve been told I need Jesus and I’ve been snubbed my people who have misconstrued my not speaking as either stupidity or blatant rudeness.
I’ve came to London, which I though would make my silence easier, turns out… not really. My friends had a party last night and I couldn’t enjoy it, when people found out about what I was doing the questions kept flowing, to have to explain myself over and over through notes in a phone in a crowded room with music blaring began waring thin so I went to bed, not only that I was super tired, I hadn’t slept the night before and was out at 5am to head into central early for the Marina Abramavic exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries, It was such an interesting experience, I really wanted to speak to her as I am a big fan of her work and I couldn’t.
On the up side I have been practicing Mime and have even done a little street performance, I really enjoyed interacting with people and being able to express myself creatively in silence, I saw people that I know who were very confused but I didn’t allow myself to drop out of character. Engaging and communication with people made me happy and even though it was a long, hot day I loved every second of it. I was given money that I used to create a piece of art with, the look on peoples face’s when I thanked them for their change and whipped out the glue was pretty priceless, I was also despised by almost every homeless person on Bold street, they made no issue of telling me that what I was doing was a waste.
I’m really beginning to miss singing, it actually feels like something is missing from my heart. I attended an EP Launch event for artist G-Frsh on Thursday night and he performed his track ‘Falling High’ with Sonny Reeves, the song resonated with me so much it moved me to tears, I’m on my monthly too which seriously isn’t helping this situation. Overall I’m optimistic and I feel like things sometimes have to get worst before the can get better :)
Silence the angry man with love,
Silence the ill-natured my man with kindness,
Silence the miser with generosity,
Silence the liar with truth,
Hello to any one who is reading this, thank you :)
My name is Janiece, I don’t want to bore anybody with the details of the usual clamber that people conjour up about themselves so I will say that I’m an artist, I have trained in performing arts since my early teens and as I got older began to explore new ways to release the creativity that bubbles up inside me.
The latest venture is Silence, total silence, part spiritual growth as practiced in buddhism and part the artist in me wanting to explore new realms of my creativity.
Today has been Day One of my Journey of silence and as I have walked around the city and interacted with different people, its amazing to me the reactions, Most of it has been positive and receptive yet I have been asked, in what feels like a very patronising way “ Are you ok” the frustration I feel at that patronising look of judgement when all I can do is nod and smile, minus the momentary humiliation that I feel being looked upon as some kind of mental patient, that is genuinely how I feel, I’m not sad, or depressed or anything like that I’m just extremely sensitive to other people and their energy, being around people who think negatively of me I can feel it eating away at my energy… Sound strange?
I went in to my visit my sister at work and I could sense her fear of embarrassment at her perceived perception how her work colleges might react to her silent little weirdo sister like she’s on crack and my father was almost in tears, he took it so extremely personal and then, told me to look at what I’m doing to the family (nothing by the way). He accused me of disrespecting people without the use of their voice, what’s frustrating is that doing this from my personal perspective creates an empathy and makes me appreciate the fact that I have full use of my voice. It may not be the most understandable thing to all, I am not doing this for the people that don’t understand, I am do doing it for the ones that do. Thats what art is for me, an exchange of Idea and emotion, head and heart, fear and love and when you have a unique point of view and can share that through an art form with someone who understands you perfectly it is priceless. In this process I am exploring human emotion, as to communicate that is all I have left, I am challenging my self and others around me and I am standing up for my rights, as a human, and an artist and the rights of others to obtain systematic freedom and yet find unity and peace, save the tree’s and the bees, and my dodgy knees and a super long list of reasons why I believe this to be positive and beneficial.
I went today to visit my good friend Paislie who got it within 10 seconds and I knew she would, she is very intuitive which give me a sense of calm, but I understand not everyone will get this and that is the first beautiful lesson that I have learned on this my very first day of the challenge, Acceptance! I accept that some others may not respect or accept what I do, that problem no longer belongs to me :) The saying ‘silence is golden’ holds so much truth, I feel a sense of freedom in not having to explain myself and my opinions or justify my actions, or defend myself or ask questions that deep down I already know the answer to or really just don’t care about…… and exhale… freedom!
I was never the best in school and not because I didn’t understand it or I was thick just because all these random subjects that I had absolutely no interest in were being rammed down my neck at once. I used to dread my mornings having to get up and go to that place, I was late more often than not and any chance that I could get to stay under my duvet I would, and I still come out of that place with my GCSE’s all be it mostly C’s, considering my attendance in the last term was 60% I did ok.
At the moment I study Philosophy and Psychology with the Open Uni and get to work at my own pace and delve into subjects that have a profound impact in broadening the perspective of how to use the magic powers of creativity for the good of humanity :) I have a decided to read more and have selected 12 books, put them in a row and will read them in chronological order throughout the next 12 months, the first one was picked up so randomly about 2 years ago at a service station, 2 for £5 It was pink and girly but then a second look at the cover It seemed a little too girly and whimsical so I disregarded it on my bookshelf until now. The book is called the “Queen of new beginnings,” I’m half way through at the moment and It resonates with my life so much, not that I’m a queen or this is some whole new beginning for me (you should learn not to judge a book), but because the main protagonist in the story is an artist and she continues to make the same mistakes and hit the same pit falls over again.
This past two and a half years I have been on an emotional spiritual and physical journey and i’ve come to understand that, In order for me to get out of old cycles of negative energy and create a life for myself that makes sense to me and one that I am truly in love with I have to step back and assess. I have learned through my studies and observation that we as people in this society each have an identity that is based on perception, the perception we have of others and vice versa and the perception we have of ourselves. I feel like through the practice of silence combined with embracing a lifestyle that I naturally gravitate to I am enabling myself to become a happier vibrational version of who I actually am instead of sad because I don’t fit in with other peoples perceptions of who they think I should be.
Enough explaining, the whole point of why I am doing this is very simple, Experience. This is my experience and I am enjoying my time that I have here on this planet and I will do what I can to make a positive impact on the world around me. I believe that we as people watch way too much television, it is called television ‘programming’ for a reason, the subconscious mind is so sensitive any images that we see stick with us, so I made a personal choice to stop aimlessly watching television, I will dip in if I am at a relatives house and peek in at what the Kardashians are up to, Big Bang theory, Grand Designs, Come dine with me or most cookery shows for that matter. But I do not allow myself to look at the screen If what is on it is not entertaining me in some way. I’m not a technophobe and I do think the internet is such an amazing creation however I like to keep my phones switched off. mainly because I don’t want to stop speaking in the real world and start going h.a.m in the virtual world living some double cyber life lol, plus I’m not good with viral communication, I think I come off cold online, i’m really not sure but I prefer face to face interaction. Friends and Personal connections if they like can message me for the number to my No cam/ just about colour screen/ haha I have the original snake not some awkward re-production app, Nokia whatevertytwoten phone.
This is a one year challenge 1st of August 2014 to 1st of August 2015, I have been told that it is extreme and to lessen the expectation yet for me this to be a journey of breaking old habits so I choose to have high expectations of myself and meeting them, understanding, learning and moving on from mindlessness, words always tend to get in the way.
I will break my silence in 25 days I have a prior commitment to sing at the Band Stand in Sefton park as part of LIMF on the 25th of August, one of my personal goals is to honour my commitments and that performance will be the first time I let out sound for 25 days. Oh my gaaaadd!
Tomorrow the 2nd of August I will be attending the rally for Palestine outside BBC Radio merseyside from 12 noon. My drama group as a teen Positive Impact and the Al Harah Theatre from Bait Jala in the West Bank did an exchange back in 08 and I got to visit Palestine, It was such an amazing experience and I met some of the most beautifully natured people. Al Harah (Meaning the family) are known for their street performance’s to lift the spirits of the people… I am feeling Inspired.
I will blog each Friday and keep updated with how things are going, Friday Is my Internet day :) Please wish me luck and if you see me don’t try and get me to say things.
Lunch time at Art School #ItsArt
B&J Movie #ItsArt