0.0 | Voice
Trigger Warning: Some of this post was written while I wallowed in a profoundly dark state. Amidst constant anxiety, suicidal ideations, stress, and declining health, I chose the only outlets I could muster at the time: writing and talking to myself. Some of those thoughts are included in this post. If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, I know now that telling you how much you have to live for, or that you'll be missed is helpful, but it won't change how you feel. I wish I knew then what I know now, that you see the world not as it is, but as you are, and your dejected view of reality and deep internal pain is so biased because you are sick right now. It can be different and it will be, even if it doesn't feel that way now. Call a loved one or your local suicide hotline. It'll mean more to you than you can appreciate right now.
In 2020, I noticed for the first time that I'd lost my voice. Not that strange physical coarse sensation your throat produces after a long exciting conversation. Not that.
This one was internal. A sense of disconnect between my life and it's assumed controller: me.
In the chaos of the year, with its raging global pandemic, societal unrest, and generational changes, I realized that I no longer knew what I cared about.
Inside my head, an anxious swirl of internal expectations, cultural norms, insecurities, emotional baggage, desires – unknown, changing, but oh-so-ever yearned for.
So many tradeoffs.
I felt the crushing weight of the life I knew just months before crumbling away like sand in my palms.
The omnipresent "welcome to the new normal" and "change is the only constant" were so cavalierly tossed at me as some sort of viable response to this weight.
Was I so deeply misguided for not expecting nor welcoming such catastrophic change?
The deep gnawing of my soul felt immaterial, as if the life I was so eager to fight to retain was not even a life I decidedly or deliberately wanted.
I felt lost. Unable to move, to see, to know, to even want anymore.
"How can you be lost on your own journey?" I asked myself, annoyed.
I felt lost in more ways than I could describe. An opaque sense of "the future" betrayed my present.
"Future", I laughed, the idea itself mocked by my own ignorance of the very next moment.
It's a gnawing discomfort, letting the natural chaos of the world seep into your mind.
Maybe there was never even a "found", in some sort of twisted existential cosmic hilarity.
I felt like I no longer knew anything. I no longer knew myself.
Have I ever made a decision on my own accord?
If I wasn't me, who was?
I shut out the world. I paused, I reflected. I tended to myself. Self care right?
What is that cacophony of voices in my head, that pressure?
Society. Culture. Parents. Friends. Lovers. Insecurities. Hope. Trauma. Experience. Wisdom. The whole gang is here, crooning an anxious grating melody.
These are the persistent, piercing faculties of my attention.
Voices individuated, yet drowned in the discord of their own company.
The deja-vu is stark, uncomfortable, but deeply familiar.
I’ve been here before. In fact, I’ve always been here. But somehow I remember a smaller performance. When?
There must have been an original voice, somewhere, sometime.
"It’s been years", I decide, "maybe even decades. What do I even sound like?"
I try a grand silencing. An internal forceful yell for the room to quiet.
Is this meditation?
I try again. A calmer ask. I breathe in, I breathe out. Yoga.
"This has to be it, right?", I question no one.
Nothing. Weeks pass.
This is taking too long.
I write. I try to calm my anxious mind. I walk, I hike, I run. I try to sleep. Surely answers will be found in action.
Desperation takes over.
I drive for days. I scream.
One foggy afternoon, the angry voice of an abandoned friend is heard.
I'm skeptical, for sure.
"Why?" it asks.
It's my conscience apparently. The whole fucking time.
It's decidedly not my favorite reintroduction.
"Why does living itself scare you?"
Maybe it's the cruel acknowledgment that the world, our society, is comprised of people, floundering about as lost, wildly deluded and confused, and maybe, just maybe, no less flawed than myself.
Perhaps it’s the resulting realization that none of us, really, truly, know what the fuck is going on.
Or that the handbook for adulthood simply contains just the memorable line: “Try shit and hope it works out?” with that unnerving punctuation.
Maybe it’s the discomfort of making tradeoffs and decisions without knowing the consequences, and the terrifying awareness that everyone else is doing exactly the same.
Religion, dogma, dictum, education…they make sense. A structure that defines a pathway, well trodden, that leads to a hopeful destination we can will ourselves into believing in its unerring existence.
Are these the confines that form a desperate refuge from the stunning, paralyzing abyss of uncertainty?
Are these the necessary lies of society?
Can I accept that?
It's a kind of conversation then, I find out, with an ever changing muse of my own making.
"Why are we just now talking, why do I only hear those other voices?"
"I talk all the time, you just ignore me".
All those moments, those discomforting mindless two hour Instagram sessions, those phone calls never made, words never said. Action never taken. Courage never found. It's been there. I've felt it. I've ignored it.
Turns out listening to the loudest voice is a flawed strategy for life.
It's a balance, to manage the imposing voice of culture, of loved ones, of others, of wisdom. Of your own voice, your implicit ideals. Listening to your demons with kindness. They morph, you morph.
The yin and the yang. ☯
If it takes courage to hear your voice, it takes surrender to actually listen.
You'll have to pause sometimes. Often actually.
Cherish the conversation.
Staying still, getting lost, recapitulating on your own journey is still better than casually floating down someone else’s.
You'll hear the voice.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post ❤️
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