It’s been awhile since I’ve written a “Why do I do this?” post. Sometimes I need reminding. Why would anyone write anything if the fear of writing was that others might see it. I think that might be the difference between people who have the compulsion to put their thoughts into print and those who would never want to express what they feel on paper, much less risk someone else reading it. A lot of people do write, and they hope that no one ever sees it. So what compels some of us to put such personal thoughts out for just anybody? Like that dusty bowl of ribbon candy at your grandparents’ house.
There have been many times in my life that I have felt alone in how I feel, and nobody else seemed to feel that way either. So, that moment when you read something that echoes how you are feeling, you find a connection with someone else, either separated by miles or even years. In some cases centuries. The truth is the people a thousand years ago are going through much the same things that we are now. With a few minor differences (more like complications) thrown in by technology.
I’m sure there was a second century farmer out there who thought that the young kids of today had it so good because they had some kind of iron bit at the end of a stick instead of just wood. We just used wood in those days, and it was good enough for us!
Today I stumbled across one of my older blog posts. It is one of my favorites. At the time I wrote it, I was feeling really raw, but I was also healing. The me from three and a half years ago is different than the me I am today. Back then, he couldn’t have known the challenges he would have faced, and maybe it would have been too much for him to bear. But he did see the natural progression of some things. Not so much a self-fulfilling prophesy, but more like just being able to read the road.
I’ve been through a lot of bullshit since then, but I have also had amazing moments, sprinkled in here and there. There will probably be more of that to come–good and bad–but I do see a break in the clouds. I see opportunity. Adventure. Contentment. Peace. My life isn’t over yet. I have only just started really living. When pathways are taken away from you, rather than sit there and stew and whine about it, you have to push ahead and find something else to live for and new pathways to make for yourself. It isn’t easy. There are days that is the last thing I want to do. Like hiking up the side of a mountain, you can stop where you are and say, “I just need to catch my breath.”
Some people just pitch their tent right there and never go any further. They are too afraid to see what is on the other side of the mountain. It’s easier just to stand on the side of a steep incline all day, because that is what they are used to doing.
I have this ringing in my ears. It comes from years of abusing my hearing with loud music, playing the drums, heavy equipment, you name it. In a quiet room, I can sit here and hear that neeeeeeeeeee just ringing in my ears. That’s the way it is sometimes. We live in a world of chaos where there is always drama or conflict or people shouting and acting bonkers. They don’t feel safe without the familiarity of so much chaos happening around them. It would be like sitting in a quiet room and just putting up with the ringing in your ears without it. So, they metaphorically crank up the stereo, vacuum the floors, turn the TV up to full blast…just so they don’t have to hear that ringing they can’t stop.
The ringing in my ears is annoying, but it isn’t hurting anyone. Not even me. It’s just a sound. It just means I have damaged my hearing and made some mistakes in my life. I can still hear. I can still feel. I can still walk and climb and drive and sing. I might not be able to hear as well as I used to, but I can still hear. And even if I couldn’t, there is a lot more to life. Focusing on the one thing that doesn’t work that well and making it your personality is exhausting.
After a while, you don’t even notice the ringing in your ears. And if you want to play loud music, play it. But only because you enjoy it, not because you are hiding from the ringing in your ears.
So, back to the original question. If you are reading this and it spoke to you, if it made sense or captured what you couldn’t put into words, I’m glad I wrote it. I do this because we are wired to communicate and this is just one more way we can do it. As people, we are flung all across the planet. Sometimes our tribe isn’t the people we are neighbors with. Sometimes they are halfway around the globe. I write because that’s how my brain has found its happy place. The peace it needs. Most nights I can’t even sleep unless I write. The noise in my head becomes too much then. Writing is like turning off something one by one until all you are left with is the quiet. Sometimes it even turns off that incessant ringing.
And since nature abhors a vacuum, that emptiness, that quiet lets good things back in. Instead of ringing, I hear music. Instead of all that weight, I feel strength. And instead of fear, I feel brave enough to keep walking ahead to see what is on the other side of the ridge.