Friday, 31 July 2009

The language of pain

Someone commented on the fact that I am 'very intuitive' the other day... It was in response to my knowing that they were in some kind of pain...

And I got to thinking...

Intuitive? Perhaps... but really? I think it is about understanding the language of pain.

Which is what?

The complexity of this 'language' is only realised when you begin to look at how many different ways the language of pain can be spoken...

Ok.. so it is spoken through crying and shouting and all the obvious forms, but it is also spoken through anger or bittereness or cynicism and, confusingly, often through humour.

Often it is spoken secretly, too softly for ears... it is spoken through glances and longings and thinking out louds...

It is spoken drunkenly, sometimes violently and sometimes through an obsession with a distraction.

The language of pain that many people use, is often completely silent.

Another thing I realised about the language of pain is that just because a person may have the ability to speak, it does not necessarily follow that they are able to UNDERSTAND it when they hear it in others...

The language of pain is understood through empathy but first you have to be tuned to it, especially when it is spoken through silence.
This is what my friend called intuition. But it's not.
It is just a different kind of listening. A listening that is less 'outside' and more 'inside'. Listening to what is not audible... but nonetheless, can stil be heard.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now

I just worked out how to post videos.

Bit slow...

Joni and Me

"But now it's just another show,
You leave them laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away"

There's a scene on Love Actually where this song is used more powerfully than I've ever seen it used before. It plays while Emma Thompson desperately tries to control her sobbing upstairs while her family wait downstairs.

These words of Joni's... I live by them.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

I can't quite remember...

My therapist freaked me out today.
She thinks my mind has blocked out all my memories.
I thought that only happened in cases of extreme trauma or abuse.

I had an idyllic childhood. I just don't remember it.
The anxiety though... I remember the terror of that. And the nights sitting on the step. Waiting. Waiting for the evil to come and kill my family; waiting for the screaming; waiting for my sisters to suffocate in their sleep; waiting for the shadows to become men, ready to destroy any safety I had ever known.

I remember always waiting for something terrible to happen and I lived in a crash landing position.
Of course, eventually it did, and my position didn't protect me from being smashed into a million tiny pieces.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Steinbeck says...

Reading Stenibeck's Cannery Row, I was struck by a part where the wonderful Doc is answering Hazel's question regarding another character who has been working on a boat for seven years and keeps changing it when he comes close to finishing it.

Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boots.
"You don't understand, " he said gently. "Henri loves boats but he's afraid
of the ocean".
"What's he want a boat for the?" Hazel demanded.
"He likes boats," said Doc. "But suppose he finished his boat. Once he's
finished it people will say, "Why don't you put it in the water?" Then if he
puts it in the water he'll have to go out in it, and he hates water. So you see,
he never finishes the boat - so he doesn't ever have to launch it".
Hazel had followed the reasoning to a certain point but he abandoned it
before it was resolved. Not only abandoned it but searched for some way to
change the subject. "I think he's nuts", he said lamely.

Steinbeck's awareness of human frailty and the defences we put around our weakness is awesome. I would have liked to have known him.

I can't put my finger on how exactly, but this quote describes my therapy at the moment. It describes the fear of getting too close to certain things, and the way the direction has to keep changing in order to keep safe. The ocean is dangerous and terrifying and my boat doesn't feel like it will ever be ready... not even to sit in on dry land at the moment.

An Explanation.

I should offer one really... Hard to do so without labouring over lame excuses for this dip into self absorption and grim vanity...
I needed somewhere to journal... Stupid as it sounds, I feel that this affords me more privacy than writing in a notebook.

I live in two worlds.
The inside and the outside.

The outside world is well lit. It's cheerful and resilient. It is attractive to those who seek shelter or wisdom and listening and often acts as a refuge for those who have been damaged by the blows life can deal.

The inside world is a world of grey dust and black shadow, where fear bends double and leaves me breathless. It is a world where I sob dry tears and scream silently into wounds that have no name.

I try to stay on the outside but at times it seems impossible and though I battle the suction power that pulls me into the grey, I am often buried alive.

Is this an explanation?
It doesn't sound like one.
I think I am trying to allow some light into the inside. To illuminate, investigate, infiltrate. To understand something or to cleanse something.
For the first time in years, I need to write.