Those who know me know that me with an absence of words is, well, odd. To say the least.
I have so many words, so much of the time. And I rarely fail to use them. With the dear husband (you remember him right? Mr. Man’s Man/Woman’s Man/Everyman/Superman that I live with) when I pepper him with phone calls all day every day. Or bombard him when he comes in the door at the end of a long day, seeking peace and quiet and the asylum of his serene (HA!) home.
Or my poor patients at the hospital, wondering who this damn, cheery person in blue scrubs is that has the temerity to waltz into their room and suggest exercise?!?! To whom I then launch into a stream of words that surely has them wondering what dimension they’ve entered.
Or my daughter, during another history lesson, when I wax poetic (I love this phrase, but in all seriousness, what does it mean???) about some part of our shared existence. There are so many things to teach her and share with her and tell her so that she can venture forth into this world and make informed decisions.
Just the other day, at drop-off for summer camp, I talked with another mom for over an hour!!! Standing in the hot sun, in the street next to our parked vehicles. We covered a lot of ground. But oddly, she avoided me the rest of the week. Not enough hours in the day for my rambling loquaciousness I think.
My sister will call and two hours later we end the conversation. But then there is radio silence for awhile.
It’s like I’m bubbling over with chatter, jargon, utterances that threaten to overwhelm those who come into close contact with me. I should wear a warning sign:
“Enter into conversation with at your own risk. You have been warned. Danger, chance of losing hours of your time listening to WORDS.”
I don’t mean to be so voluminous with the verbiage. I really don’t. There are just so many things I can contain in my cranium without them coming hurling out in some form or fashion.
Except lately. Yes, there was the drop-off this last week. But I am finding that the voices in my head, shouting to be let out, shouting to get the words down in some way onto the paper, or the computer aren’t coalescing into coherent thoughts. And they seem to be receding. Which, some might say, would be a good thing. To not walk around with drums banging around inside your cabeza on a minutely basis. To not be constantly distracted by WORDS.
But my words have always been comforting. My voices are comforting. They’re a way for me to organize my thoughts, to help find a way to communicate my feelings. My voices are an avenue for my expression. And my expression is the essence of me.
I am losing touch with that essence of me. My voices are growing silent. My words are not banging the drums. I don’t know exactly why, but I suspect that my spirit is breaking. The daily onslaught of the news has begun to create in me the necessity of putting up walls. I am walling off my words because the enormity of what is happening is simply too much to comprehend, too much to organize into those coherent thoughts, too much to deal with.
When I look inside, I am not seeing the tapestry of my WORDS, but instead blank, whiteness. And that is frightening. I force myself to think about something….the children standing by, crying, unable to speak the language, wondering why their mother and father are being taken away, left to fend on their own, noone to console them…or the mothers who don’t know where their children are…
…my heart starts beating faster, my respirations increase, I begin to feel a sort of panic welling up inside of me. Centered in the middle of my chest, like a little, swirling tornado that threatens to erupt. This is why people speak about “heartache.” Because it actually feels uncomfortable right there where my heart lies. I worked with a homeopath for a long time on identifying what was happening inside my body, during a time of extreme stress in my life. Stress that was threatening to pull me under. We worked for a long time on naming what I was physically feeling and then finding ways to get past it.
I feel as if I’m back there again. I do not know how to not be affected by what is happening in our country. Forget the entire world, the starving polar bears, the melting in Antarctica, the erupting volcanoes and complete destruction of islands due to hurricanes, the massive wildfires. That’s enough on any given day to cause a migraine to arrive and visit me with its wrath.
The destruction in our country, in America, is becoming more than I can bear. It is beginning to affect me physically. And I know I am not alone in this. I am erecting walls against my words as a protection mechanism. Because the words will unleash a torrent of pain and suffering for those being irreparably damaged by the void of leadership in this country. The words that I am walling off will open a window into the devastation of lives and I am so very afraid of being sucked under and not being able to surface.
That is my fear. I do not think I can handle another photograph of another crying child, or read another story of another woman who has had her child pulled from her arms. I cannot read another story about the island of Puerto Rico without power and people dying because there were not able to get to dialysis. My heart is overwhelmed. And I am beginning to feel it physically.
America, what have we become that the president can use children as bargaining chips? Where is the conscience of the leaders of this country? Why is this happening?
The children are suffering. This cannot be who we are.
Because I have closed off my words, I will end this with some which are comforting, if only for a fraction of a second:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird-
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.