Warning: This is a little disjointed and possibly tangential. Just go with the flow ~
Two songs have been rolling around my head these past few weeks. Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb and Franz Ferdinand’s Well That Was Easy. In particular, these lines:
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
…I can’t explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb
And from Franz Ferdinand
Numb, so numb
I’d let your words
Come and come
That imagery of emotional numbness is so strong in both these songs – it speaks to me because for a little while I wanted to feel that. To ignore the emotions and just let the words wash over me – without a second thought. Say what you will, it matters not. But that’s not how I am.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words will also hurt me.
And that’s OK.
Words are powerful. They hold power for me. They always have. I connect with the world through words and language. I love words because they affect me so deeply. They elicit strong emotions – I suspect it is why I love music and stories so much. It moves me like nothing else – more strongly than visual imagery. I see the world through words.
So at my core, words are my breath. Like I said, it is how I relate to the world. Obviously, it is not how everyone does. But it is how I do. And it is no better or worse than other ways of relating to the world. It is not a value that you can give an intrinsic label. It is not ‘bad’. It is not ‘good’. It just is.
Sometimes words tear me up. Intentional cruelties. They rip me apart.
‘Grow a thick skin’
‘Ignore those words’
I’ve been advised of this so many times. They tell me if I’m to become a writer, I have to not be affected by words. How? Tell me how? I feel them. How do you turn that off?
Here is my fear: If I turn off those feelings from cruel words; what of all the other feelings from all the other words? What if I lose those feelings? I can’t risk that. I will not risk that. I would rather feel that pain for whatever duration then to thicken my skin and possibly lose the emotions of all words. I do not want to live my life numb.
This nagging conundrum – I need to write about it. I need words – these words, right here – to begin to change the emotions of words written with careless cruelty. That is how I can get past this; not turning myself off; but turning myself around.
I cannot help being other than what I am. I open myself up to most people. And what I mean by that is I talk. A lot. I know this – I’ve been labeled with most all the adjectives from gregarious to loquacious to chatterbox. Sometimes it makes me smile and other times it makes me feel embarrassed. If I’m to be honest, sometimes shamed.
But what I’d like to say about my ‘enthusiastic’ talking is this – I only do so because I want to open myself up to the people around me. I do so when I feel safe – and that feeling comes all so easily, sometimes too easily so it makes it hard for me to guard myself. And that vulnerability opens me up to be sliced. But there is a reason why I take that risk. More often, it gives me the chance to connect with someone deeply and that connection nourishes my being. Those experiences are worth more to me than the slice. So I’ve realized that I need to feel both; the joy and the pain –I have to risk the pain else risk the possibility of losing those nourishing experiences with people. I accept those consequences. It doesn’t make the pain any easier, but it makes me know I’m alive.
I will not become comfortably numb.
So those are my words.