04 May 2008

The Sound of Silence

It is quiet in my condo. The fridge is whirring and the dehumidifier recently started its nap, but it's so pleasantly hush in here.

There was a time when, no matter the time of day, there was music on. Some people find it comforting. I find that it gets in the way.

I've done a lot of thinking over the past month. A lot has changed. It occured to me that I never thought I would be doing what I'm doing right now. Lying on the couch, typing on my laptop isn't strange; neither is my teaching career. But I didn't think that I'd be sitting here alone. And I certainly didn't foresee that I'd be okay with it.

I forgot myself. It happened before. In fact, I can't name a time when it didn't happen. I feel relatively certain that it will happen again. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. There are, however, limits. For example, I did realize one thing in particular in this last month. When everything in my life seems to be going swimmingly, and yet enormous amounts of anxiety are crushing my will to live, it's time to re-evaluate.

Other things I realized:
  1. I am not No Good.
  2. Judging is for people who can't self-reflect.
  3. My parents are the best friends I have.
  4. My friends are the best and most supportive in the world.
  5. No matter what, no one can ever say that I'm a coward.
Let me break it down:
  1. I was told a lot of things about myself that I came to believe. I was told that I was broken and needed fixing. I was told that the breaking was my fault and that I needed to try harder to fix it. I was told that I wasn't doing it right and was therefore No Good. I was told that I would be like that forever. None of that is true.
  2. I think a lot about the things I say. In fact, when I don't think, I say a lot of atrocious things. I've yelled things across restaurants without thinking; I've said things to students without thinking. When I don't think, bad things happen. So, I've generally learned to think a lot about the things I say. I think about how other people might react. In fact, I'm so good at this, that I've come up with about 40 different ways in which tomorrow night will play out, because I'm really good at thinking about what I think and want to say. People who don't or can't self-reflect do a lot more damage than they realize. The sadest part is that they aren't doing damage to other people, because other people can forget and move on; they are doing damage to themselves because history repeats. Or Karma kicks ass.
  3. Over the past 8 months, my parents have been wonderful to me. They have been there for me when no one else has been around. They have let me stay with them when things were tight. They lent me money when things were even tighter. They didn't judge or cajole, they just loved. They are amazing people. One day I will have to learn to live without them. In the meantime, I'm so glad that I can rely on them.
  4. I had been keeping lots of friends at a distance over the last little while. The irony is that I needed them. Luckily, they didn't take any offense to that, and when the bottom fell out, they were wonderful and supportive beyond measure.
  5. I have never lobbed a grenade and taken off. I stand my ground. When I have something difficult to do, I see it through to the finish and I don't let other people clean up after me. I've sure wanted to plenty of times, but I try to give in to my conscience and not my ego.
That's what silence gives me the time to sort out.

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