The Price of Peace (Domestic)

“…Women are encyclopedias, boy! Volume A, Volume B, Volume C.  Spend some time with every book and maybe one will make sense before you die.” 

(From the short story, “The Race” in the collection, The Silver Crescent by Leslie Woodard, a former ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem who is a Dean at Yale University.)

This quote got me to thinking about the question often asked by men, “what do women want?” “Everything,” would be my answer.  Everything it is possible to have without hurting anyone else. 

Everything, for me, has peace as its center.  Peace is something I’ve wanted all of my life.  I coveted peace because I had a childhood and first marriage filled with the turmoil, discontent, noise,  and braying of others.  Deserving or not, I can only take so much braying and yelling before I tune out and back away.  (This is one of the reasons I can only take small doses of MSNBC and other correspondents and pundits even when I agree with what they are saying.  They all seem to be in a permanent state of yelling as if shouting is the only way to convey passion or seriousness.)

But I digress.  Let me get back to my point.


I have craved and cultivated peace throughout my adulthood.  Recently, I’ve learned that despite its tranquility, peace has its cost:

  • Not just solitude but being left alone.

  • Not just silence but the absence of sound (sound so absent that to hear a noise you didn’t make stimulates suspicion).

  • It means having one when you wish for two (or three).

  • It means predictability that deadens – the dullness of things always remaining where placed.

  • Not just having room but too much room.  (Rooms become static because they are unpeopled.)

  • It is the lethargy that comes from the absence of external motivators and demands for attention.

  • It is a deficit of the joy and surprise of interruptions especially by a child or a relative who can and does drop by unannounces sure of a welcome.

  • Peace is often bought by things left unsaid (retorts and truths).


It is the thinness of friendship broth instead of the thickness of family stew.


To get peace I ended up purchasing apartness, also.


I thought I knew what this woman wanted but clearly I did not or I outgrew what once seemed crucial.


I envy my friends who created tribes that stayed.  I created a tribe that moved away.  All that I can do is love them up whenever I see them and make my home a place they feel welcome to come to. 





Keynote Address, Af-Am House Freshman Dinner at Yale by Dean Leslie Woodard


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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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