Life in the real world is very loud for me.
I was in my thirties when a therapist convinced me:
- Most people did not hear the world in the way I did, and;
- Being able to hear the unspoken voices inside of people’s heads and the unsung songs in their hearts and souls was a gift and did not mean I was crazy, and;
- Finding a balance between empathetic hearing/listening to others and maintaining spaces of silence for myself would require developing self-protective skills and habits foreign to my previous patterns of behavior as well as a lifelong vigilance about practicing those skills, keeping sacred those spaces and times of silence required to feed, renew, and re-charge my soul.
It isn’t just that I hear, it’s that I listen, understand, and validate, and, too, will often articulate for the speaker things they are afraid to say, serving as translator of the secrets of souls.
A few words about my cosmology are in order. Though I love reading, claim to be a sort-of-writer, I believe words to be poor symbols for the building blocks of reality, blocks I believe are made of Love and Light. There is an irony, I know, that I am having to use words to describe something I think beyond language, but, there it is. Love and Light, which are meant to embrace and encourage and enlighten and nurture. I truly believe that all energy is originally of good intent, and so, no matter how heinous and horrible its results might be in the physical world of linear time in which we live, I have always thought it was my job — the job of every human — to evolve to a state in which we can at least acknowledge the possibility of an original loving intent.
I don’t often discuss this (and I am fully cognizant my ideas are not original to me) because as soon as I do, people start offering up the expected horrifying villains in history, horrible acts in the present, and all the “what if someone did this or that to someone you love”. Yes. Understood. I’m not saying I’m always successful at finding the Light in the Dark or the Love in the Hate, I’m saying my goal is to try.
Until I can’t.
I offer this cosmological background because the same people who want to argue with me that pure evil exists, that demons walk among us, are also likely to point out to me that I am sometimes very dark of mood, bleak of outlook, buried in my angers and sorrows, and sometimes they will even accuse me of being a hypocrite with my talk of Love and Light when I can dwell in such anger and darkness.
Yes. I am a hypocrite. I own my hypocrisy. And, as I said; I try to find the Love and the Light, until I can’t. I am not a saint. Not a prophet. No Earth Mother or Jesus or Buddha wannabe.
I didn’t ask to hear what people are feeling.
Truth: It is sometimes exhausting to bear witness to others’ pain. It is sometimes exhausting to live in modern times where so often the original good intent is skewed into divisive attack and enmity, hatreds and accusations — so much fear. It is even more exhausting for me (yes, I know, the hubris of that) because I believe the awful behavior is a result of fear warping love into distorted, harmful shapes and actions. I mourn the loss of the love that might have been, the world that might be, if only we operated from love. From light. It is worse for me because I don’t just witness the vitriol, I also see the love behind it, and the might have been.
Which is neither here nor there, except for this: Sometimes the distance between what is and what could be is an abyss the crossing of which gets me very blue. Sad to the point of wanting an end to the noise, an end to hearing, an end to seeing, an end to knowing and feeling. An end. I lose my ability to hope we can recover. Fear infects me too, like a virus, and I am taken down by it, thrust into darkness and deafened to joy by the cacophony of all the ache and despair and distortion coming at me.
And I have learned that those dips into darkness are too much to tolerate for some people who sincerely love me. When I am in the throes of agony and anger, some people who love me need not to witness it. It took me many years to learn to see the love inside those absences; absences which can feel like abandonment, betrayal, unkindness, lack of caring and support. It was particularly difficult to understand those friends and loved ones who resented my depressions, were angered by them, or, even more aggravating, suggested I just buck up and see the bright side.
Here’s the thing: no one is obligated to share your sorrow (or your joy, or your wins or your losses) and some people simply can’t. There are many reasons: looking at your stuff means they’d have to face their own and they can’t; they love you too much to see you in pain they feel powerless to heal; feeling powerless makes them angry; their belief system requires a strict relationship between cause and effect in order that the world seem safe to them and so if you are sad, you did something to cause it and must undo that; or myriad other clinical explanations for why someone can’t be there for you in a time when you need support, encouragement, a hug, or, just a listen.
And here’s the hard part: That doesn’t make them bad or less loving or wrong. Nope. See, I think I’m entitled to my periods of darkness. They are part of the concatenation of traits that make MiracleCharlie. I have darkness like I have Light and Love; like I have thousand word memos and five thousand word blog entries. Like I have the propensity for bursting into musical theatre tunes for every situation in life. Like I do falling in love with friends. Like I do wanting to fix everything for everyone. I am a heady, saucy, sometimes toxic, sometimes delicious, always evolving brew of many, many qualities and sometimes I am sad.
Some people ignore me when I’m sad. Some do so because they only want to reward my happy and positive thoughts and writing and behavior. Some do so because they think I have brought on my own sadness and deserve it, like a religious punishment for my transgressions and bad choices. Some do so because they fear I might at any moment kill myself and they want to stay a wide space away from what they see as an illness requiring treatment.
I get all that. I’m okay with all that. I spent many years wanting everyone to love me, bending myself into not-really-me shapes to try to make people happy. All the while, I knew they were not happy. Because, you can’t bend yourself into something you are not. No matter how good you are at pretending — and I was damn good — the lack of truth in it is there, and whether the other person recognizes it consciously or not, it exists and will eventually destroy the relationship, or them, or you, or all of the above.
Right now, there is so much pretending and bending and lack of truth in the world, in the elections, in our monetary system, in the social upheaval going on, in reducing so much to US vs THEM, all the labeling and the naming and the hating, and all of that is a distortion of the original impetus of Love and Light, and distortion is loud. So very loud. It demands attention.
Meaning — the effort to quiet all that falseness, all that distortion, so one can hear the Love and the Light at its core, back at its beginning, is exhausting. And so, yes, I get sad. It’s my shut-down and coping mechanism. It takes me out of the world for a while, returns me to quiet, and usually, with time, I come out from under it.
You don’t have to follow me. You don’t have to read me. You don’t have to love me through it. You don’t have to encourage it. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to do anything. I love you because I love you, in the way I love you, to the degree I love you, for as long as I love you.
I’m not asking you to change.
But don’t ask me not to be me either. Because sometimes it gets very loud in here, and your disapproval adds to the noise. And a few years ago I made a decision that I would no longer believe the words “I love you so much” if I didn’t feel and witness the truth behind and inside them. Because I hear what you are not saying, and if you love someone, you love them who they are, not who you need or want them to be so your version of your story can be told. You love their story.