Chewing Words

noun. verb. adjective. adverb…they're all tasty in my book

Posts Tagged ‘Silence

The “P” Word Is the “S” Word & Vice Versa

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...magical things were always happening

WordPress asks today, Are You Stressed Out? My initial response was to throw my keyboard at the flat screen, which would have been an unambiguous response to the question. But I withheld the theatrics and was going to delete the email when the light bulb brightened ::TING:: (isn’t that a great sound-effect? TING). Because, WordPress, as a matter of fact, I am stressed. Like the whole flippin’ country. Well, most of it, anyway. And the thing about stress that can be scary is the way in which it bolts so easily into pain. And then you become the emo poster child, which is rather distressing.

I make light, much of the time, of my current situation. I am helpless, really. I don’t know how else to react. I joke and smile, holding up my head, trying to run a business and raise my 3 ½ year old LOVE and take care of myself and keep in touch with people who are concerned about me. But much of the time, I just want to sink into a blessed silence, where no emails or phone calls or face-to-face contacts can completely and utterly destroy me for the day or the week or perhaps even the month.

I am gutted by the helplessness. I can’t sleep, made worse by my daughter being gone for nearly 2 weeks with her father. Her presence, her smallness and need, keep me level-headed with no time for feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been holding it together for months. But the unraveling begins beneath the surface. Then the tell-tale signs appear on your exterior: black marks beneath your eyes, bad hair days, no make-up, weight loss. People, mostly your close friends and family, know what’s going on so when they see you, they want so badly to help you, to make you feel better. They read your face: Quick! Get out the Kleenex box!

I don’t like talking about what’s happening in my life with the people I see day to day. I don’t return phone calls, emails have a 50/50 chance. Marriage, business , finances – everything tubed down the chutes at the same time. Every bit of it, the Trifecta of Tragedy. I am, for the most part, a robot right now. How does one determine what is the “right thing to do” in the midst of so much upheaval? My husband walked out and asked for a divorce; should I have hired an attorney when there is no money? My business is tottering with the economic crunch; should I bail? My husband stopped paying bills and the mortgage; should I file bankruptcy? I don’t have any answers, though I have started praying an awful lot. Awkward and snotty, I don’t really feel like I know how to talk to God. But who else do I turn to when the answers I’ve given so far have earned me an “F” in the Pop Quiz of Life?

IT IS SO, SO PAINFUL. I hate it. I hate this uncontrollable emotion, the sobs and the strings of snot that get in my hair. I often wonder if it would be easier if there had been an affair or an addiction; I know it’s pointless to wonder. Our situation is so mundanely textbook as to seem ridiculous: baby, house, business – too much responsibility at the same instant, communication break-downs, long days & nights at the office trying to make it work, tight but manageable finances – everything hinged on balancing it perfectly. And failing utterly.

I would block the emails and the phone calls, but they are the only form of communication for talking about the needs of our daughter. I black out the attacks. I ask that we “not go there.” I want to stand on the higher ground. But in the middle of an abyss, the higher ground seems unattainable. I can usually ignore the parts in the emails that stand on the grassy knoll of my character assassination, but the sniper has more of a serial personality, and stalks me later in the day or week. After the 3rd attempt, I respond in these short, terse phrases that are interpreted as remorseless narcissism. And that pisses me off. Then all my promises to myself to hit “ignore” go unheeded. After running from the stalk all week, the pain and the stress make me shout, then cry.

That’s how I began my morning. Pained stress. Stressed Pain. One in the same.

5/360: PostADay

Written by cr8df8

January 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Still

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There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone

There’s that scene in the film The Piano that is like a postcard I have put up on my bulletin board, behind the ticket stubs and business cards and fortunes from cookies.

The scene is fraught with that high pitch that is usually only achieved with the right mix of cinematography, acting, and story. They’re leaving New Zealand. Ada mutely asks Baines to throw her piano overboard, a request made as she contemplates a life voiceless – no ability for speech, no ability for music.  Catching her foot in the rope, she is dragged underwater as the piano descends, deeper and deeper into the brine. There is that moment when you are not certain if she is going to sink herself along with the piano. And then she kicks her shoe free and breaks the surface again.

But the movie ends with the echo of an alternate ending, the road not taken. That snapshot of watery silence is the one I hang in my memory box. And it’s one I’ve pulled out today along with the poem that ends the movie, Silence by Thomas Hood:

There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

It’s raining tonight. It has all day. Evening has rolled into my house, me lost all day in the contemplation of an endless cup of tea and a computer screen, recovering from yesterday’s crying jag and spell of melancholy that pulled me by my ankles and down into its abyss as I kissed and waved my daughter good-bye, leaving with her father for a week-long visit to his family. It wasn’t even the leaving that hit as hard as the hissed words and reminders of failure as I drove them to my parents who took them to the train. I didn’t realize how incompetent you are. And such a disappointment not just as a wife, but as a woman. Bells clanged in my head, warning signs to shut the gate, shut the gate! You damned, fool, woman, shut the GATE! Too late, alas, those black words scurried past like shadows, leapt into my mouth, and skidaddled down my throat to lodge firmly against my heart. Ow ow ow! Such cold, little fingers that poke & prod and know just the right nooks & crannies to screw in the pain.

There is so much implicit in the short phrases and deliberate words he spoke to me. They speak of one’s very core. My competencies, my abilities as a wife, my (desirability/femininity/sexiness/empathy/intelligence) as a woman. They speak also of a man who has, in spite of a 10 year history, so completely severed his emotional ties to me that there are no qualms in practicing a bit of smack-down on my head. YOU. ARE. WORTHLESS.

And guess what? All day yesterday I struggled against the maddening, emotional fricking deluge that sluiced through my body, a physical act that tore out these huge, gulping, hyperventilating gasps for air. It was so, God-awfully, melodramatic. I felt so stupid. I felt 12 years old.

A friend called and told me if I didn’t get out of the house and go visit her, she was going to come and get me herself. So I yanked my hair back into a clip, dried my eyes and ignored the puffiness, put on red lipstick & a red scarf over my funereal black attire, and drove to her house. Where I spent all day with her 4 boys, her husband, her visiting brother and her, taken into their midst like a stray. They made me tea. They fed me. They taught me how to play poker. I won everyone’s chips in a last ditch, devil-may-care, all-in effort with a 3 ace hand. I left at midnight, unable to sleep again until the early morning hours. But able, finally, to breathe in my own house without gasping for air.

Today I have felt like I am recuperating from a hang-over. Choosing my own silence over the warmth of friends. I am too prone to shattering. Those dingy little fingers of his words still stab at my soft spots, but they’re less insistent than yesterday when I needed the distraction of someone else to stop the pressure.

I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel prepared. I just feel tired. I look in my memory box and pull out the postcard of a body suspended by a rope to a piano, under the deep, deep sea…There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

Written by cr8df8

December 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm