I was watching a video on YouTube of a symposium on decreasing stress and increasing peace in life. There were a couple of professors whose presentations I paid minimal attention while concurrently writing, tweeting, or playing games. Then an expert was introduced who surprised me. Here in the heart of academia was a Hindu guru (or a yogi?).
Staying seated at the round table, instead of taking the podium as the previous two professors had done, his first comment was, “When people come to me, they want to tell me all about what they’re thinking. I say to them, ‘I don’t care what you think. That’s just electrical currents at work.'” He went on to discuss the body and mind as related to stress and peace. “I don’t care what you think.” This was like a foreign language to my empath self.
In the current world, as I experience it in my limited way, it sometimes seems like everyone is shouting, well, nearly. Quietude is good for the soul. We need times of solitude and peace. I know a thing or two about aloneness, since it’s my usual M.O. It would be a paradigm shift for me to consider my solo time in a positive light, as compared to the current negative filter of being on my own as a sorry-ass way to spend my time, as though my life is only validated by going and doing as well as associating with people regularly.
Truly, I love being home alone. I don’t need to feel ashamed or less of a person because I live a solitary life. Yes, my husband comes home each evening. I text with friends and family regularly, which is my way of communicating with them. In fact, I’m transitioning to even more time alone because physical therapy will be ceasing, implementing a home program with occasional check-ins. My weekly counseling appointments are going to be bi-weekly, mostly because she started another job with good benefits. She expressed that I would be fine with spaced visits since I seem not to be struggling with suicidal thinking. I didn’t mention that I feel a sense of calm because I’ve identified an acceptable manner of passing and I already have the supplies. It was as we were ending our talk. I’ll break it to her next time if I’m still drawn to those thoughts.
My counselor noted that I’ve been thinking a lot and suggested I take a vacation from that. Admittedly, I spend waaay too much time in my head, but it’s aiding me in my unwinding, sometimes helping me see perspectives that hadn’t yet come to mind. There’ve been a couple ah ha! moments. I’ll try to remember those and get back to you.
I’m back. The first thing was an understanding that my chronic illess need not be coupled to my mood. For most days of the last couple years, my daily mood has been as bad or as good as the pain, vertigo, nausea, and muscle cramping I’m experiencing. Sometimes I’m able to curb symptoms with my medications but they rarely offer complete coverage of any one concern or relief all the symptoms at the same time. I have no idea what the second new view was.
I’m back. I remembered but it may take it’s own post. (If I can remember.) Now I remember this second thought was the topic for this post! So, I’ve gone off message. Do I edit? Do I include my rambling? I’m going to keep it all in, but this will be longer than most of my writings. Moving on…
I’m not sharing anything I haven’t told my husband already, so I think it’s okay to put it out here. My husband and one of my sons tend to respond to difference of opinion, surprise news, or any presumed slight with LOUD vocals. As the wife and mother, I did my level best to turn down the volume, but I wasn’t very successful. You can imagine how they interacted when they were opposed. When I tried to intervene, I ended up yelling so they could hear me tell them to stop yelling.
Several months ago, I exploded all of my repressed responses, irritation, and downright anger in the direction of my husband. I brought up long past situations, pointing out what I’d been thinking about at the time. My dear husband sat and listened for a very long time. Since then, I’ve begun voicing my opinions or feelings as we go. When I make a remark, and I can tell my husband has his hackles up, I actually say out loud, “I’m letting it out now so I don’t keep it inside.” To which my husband replies, “Let it out.”
Current bathroom makeovers have provided many opportunities to exercise this new communication. The worst episodes have involved decisions about the remodel of my en suite bathroom, because at some point I was told that I could do anything I wanted. There are parts of of my vision that my beloved project-manager of commercial flooring and tile was skeptical of things I described that he’s never seen in any of the thousands condos, apartment, lodges, etc. that he’s seen over the years. I very much love the look of my bathroom in my head, so I stood my ground, unless he explained why it was not possible. Then, I’d reluctantly accept that my desire could not be installed or used.
The walk-in shower will compete with the new vanity for jewel of room. One of the amenities I want is an elevated small triangle of tile as a place to put my foot for shaving my legs. This is one of those things he’s never seen and has tried moving me away from it. I do not want one of the commercial foot shelves available. A couple days ago, we revisited the details of my shower. As I explained again the short tile corner triangle, my husband did his loud confrontation response. Quietly, I asked him why he was getting so upset. He immediately acceded his volume was out of line and he committed to working on it.
Then came my epiphany. Looking back over the years, I’ve often wondered how I transformed from an assertive young lady to a woman refraining from expressing herself in her family. Here was the answer. In an effort to avoid the loud anger to which my husband and son reverted when challenged or upset, I had been the quiet. My other son was quiet with me. We’d roll our eyes at their out-of-control exchanges. It was part of my coping or strategy to avoid creating opportunities for the volume to increase, which invariably lead to a breakdown in meaningful conversation.
As a wife and mother, I stuffed comments or questions down, down, down in an effort to avoid the noise. The LOUDNESS we find all around ourselves in our society and politics can be ignored avoided, muted, or engaged. I, however, will not accept the spewing of aggression in my home, unless it’s shouts of happiness or surprise and just my son’s loud speaking voice! He doesn’t have an inside voice.
Along with the unfolding of myself with stress about disability hearing no longer in my head, I feel positive about expressing myself. There is hope ahead.