The Mighty (Un)Mute Reflections

On Wednesday 5th October 2022, the team at TMC took part in The Mighty (Un)Mute – a vow of complete silence and no communication to raise awareness and vital funds for a groundbreaking new arts education project – The World Reimagined – which aims to fight for racial equality and shed light on the stories and histories of the Transatlantic Trade of Enslaved Africans. Here, our Communications Coordinator Hope shares about her day in complete silence and the importance of taking time to reflect.

8:30 – I’ve already slipped up by thanking the man who let me off the bus first. Strike one.

9:30 – And again. We’ve set up the YouTube Live Stream and I slid a note across to let the Marketing and Communications Manager know it’s up and running. It’s very strange and I feel like I should apologise but that defeats the point further!

10am – It’s only 10am? This is tough. There’s a room full of people but I can’t speak to any of them. Even when I’m at home working remotely I chat to the postman or call my mum when I’m making some tea. Oh wait, tea sounds like a good idea.

10:23 – Only 23 minutes have passed? I still haven’t made the tea yet. It’s hard knowing I can’t even ask if anyone else wants a cup! I have my headphones in but can’t sing along to music. Thinking about just how hard it is to go COMPLETELY unheard with no outlet, it’s really overwhelming.

10:35 – Tea, sorted. I also made one for someone else, which means I’m one – too polite, and two – four strikes into my slip up tally. For every slip up I have, I’m adding an extra donation at the end of the day. I’m literally paying the price!

11:20 – There’s noise in here still, the printer, the kettle, keyboards clacking. But the silence is deafening. Even though the sound of my phone buzzing feels like some normalcy, I can’t answer it!

11:42 – This is so hard.

12:53 – Lunch. Thankfully I remembered to pack the book I’m reading. It’s like autopilot that I’d usually reach for my phone to check social media or emails at this point, so it’s nice to have a break from the screen.

12:57 – It’s raining. I did not bring an umbrella. If I could communicate, I’d have been able to ask my partner to remind me to pack it. I have written a note to tell the team. Another strike.

1:29 – After getting stuck into a task for the last half hour, I have realised it’s been HOURS since I last spoke. Even longer since I checked my social media and texts. I don’t know if I miss it or miss just being able to do it without thinking.

2pm – It’s time for a walk! We’re going to visit all ten of The World Reimagined globes around Leicester and it’s happening in silence. Though it’s lovely to be able to reflect on the artworks we’re seeing in my head, take time to really absorb the city, and take photos of the team admiring all the sculptures, not being able to share my feelings with anyone else is tough. I’ve had to stop myself from speaking to the team twice.

4pm – Back in the office for the last push. It’s still so quiet and we’re all tired from the walk. Usually this would be the time for the last cup of tea of the day, but I can’t ask! Today has been really tough, overwhelming and at times, frustrating. Not being able to thank someone for something or find out what everyone’s been up to at the weekend is so lonely. There’s a feeling of camaraderie in the office, but it’s all so isolating. A few of the team are catching up after we finish to talk about how tough it’s been, and I can’t wait to use my voice.

5:15pm – And it’s done. Spending the whole day in silence has been more challenging that I thought. My final slip up tally ended up at 15, as it’s so easy to go on autopilot when thanking someone, or even miming the actions for “tea or coffee?”.

Though the day has been tough, it’s had its moments of clarity too. Realising how frustrating and overwhelming it must be for the young people whose voices we want to champion to go so unheard was eye opening. We take for granted the ability to communicate, being able to reach for a phone to send a text, share a joke with friends and even express our feelings. But today has also given me the chance to be more introspective, to reflect more in my mind and sit with what can sometimes be a loud and busy thought stream. To acknowledge the privilege we have to use a phone, talk openly and freely without fear of judgement or persecution and to spend time learning about the countless voices and stories we are championing.
It’s reminded me to take in my surroundings, appreciate the parts of Leicester I wouldn’t usually, take time to enjoy a book and most importantly, today has allowed me to experience, for even just a fraction, of what young people who so often go unheard must feel. They say actions speak louder than words, but today I think silence did.