Thursday, August 9, 2012

Writing Can Take you Places

     My thoughts are as insignificant and as plentiful as ants marching to my kitchen.  They often annoy me unless I am actively collecting them for a mental construction like Elliot practices with Lego bricks.  Sometimes I get very excited by these invented clusters, which when spoken aloud are often destroyed by the argumentative men in my life.  It is a pattern and a feeling I am used to.

     My father had a habit of silencing me (or anyone else) during a discussion by incrementally raising his voice with each exchange until the force and volume of his statement (which also included a pointed finger) ended the discussion.  From childhood I learned that the loudest, angriest, most emphatic, righteous authoritarian person won the debate.

     He beat me at every game we played and sent me off into my independent life nodding my head in agreement with his political ideals but with a broken heart that required freedom to live not challenged every step of the way.

     To begin to see my life through the inner eye of soul-consciousness is like walking on a road littered with the discarded thoughts of anyone who has ever played a role in my education; from the people who wrote the textbooks (so neat and factual), to the ones who showed me how to make some use out of the available language.  I need a method of collecting and arranging the random, free flowing words, the insights, the questions for which I often attempt to construct solutions.

    Flimsy cardboard houses that can be blown down by the huffing, puffing wolf.

   So far the only method I have is to keep these random, handwritten journals.  They are mind-exhaust.  The spent, used up thoughts that have traveled through my consciousness, up into the air, only to live the brief life of a butterfly seeking a mate and nectar, fragile and temporary.

    Yet, the monarch migrates to Mexico, their children back to Canada.

     Writing can take you places.

     I am a writer because the arguments held in my childhood home had an inner, secret life that carried on after the last loud, emphatic statement spoken by my father.

    Anger, even over the smallest, insignificant ant of a discussion was the power of my father's inner abused child that could not speak out against his abuser.  For the rest of his life he was determined to do two things: avoid hunger and stand up for himself.

   For his daughter growing up with an imaginative, sensitive mind, the last objective felt unnecessarily harsh.  It set up a pattern of seeking strong men who could defeat me with either brute strength, intellectual discourse, or both.

     I once became obsessed with a man who was my boss.  I sought his approval, attention and love at every turn.  Like my father, he was a grower of plants and he smoked.  He had the darkest, surliest moods but could surprise you with practical jokes and teasing.  I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and foolishly, insanely, wrote long letters to him, one of which was discovered by my then-husband, who promptly divorced me.

Words can take you places you never expected to go.  Which is also why I value silence.  The silent calm mind brings peace to the soul.  It isn't actively seeking shelter or a solution.  It has no need to be correct, to appear intelligent or interesting. It doesn't attempt to seek love, because it is love. It is beautiful in its simplicity like the glassy surface of a calm river or lake.  In the silence, quiet noises of things that are not language can be experienced.  The white noise of a fan in an upstairs bedroom.  The low rumble of a passing car.  The tiny bell of a cat's collar.

     Let them all win.  Let their words blow over like a storm that will pass.  Let the little ants of dissension march whichever way that they will.

   Engaging in dialogue is a choice, and one that can bring pain, frustration and a sense of defeat.  I am learning that the real value is knowing how not to attempt to "win" the game, but to find a place within where the heart is relieved, unrestrained, free.

 
 Arguments wrap us in bondage and burn the fuel we could be using for joy.


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