Home, knees kiss the ground
Soldier’s sound: blessed embrace
Respect, holding tight.
My friend’s voice is soft, she is not a leader but a follower, I have no problem with this but some of my more straight-shooter, take control friends might. They have dominant voices, sit in attendance at board meetings, screaming, making a loud fuss about things that are important to them. Quiet people can’t or won’t do that but they still have their opinions. Louder people yell sometimes so that they don’t hear the soft voices in the background because nobody wants to speak over them.
Why should they? When they start to softly voice their concerns sometimes they feel berated. “Anyone who is scared to stand up for what they believe in is a scaredy-cat” loosely paraphrased someone said. Exhibit A. That, my friend, is a judgment, name calling. Softer voices have opinions too but are not as equipped as some of the more confident, take charge people to talk at meetings, to make a fuss but their opinions, sometimes silently, count too. They also vote. Some people shy away from conflict, this is not a judgment call, I would call it a style.
Where am I in all this? Straight down the middle like a true Libra. Balancing each side, over and over again. Quietly. Making a huge fuss when it is important to me. Family. Family. Family.
When my daughter was young she hid behind me and if she was shy or afraid, she would place her arms in the air in front of me and say “Up, Up” and I would lift her up and feel her body instantly relaxing against mine. Our son, the first-born,always bossed people around, he still does. Our daughter had planned her birthday parties years in advance and stuck to each theme, always wanted to see her cake beforehand and read the last page of every book before she decided to read it. Our son loved the element of surprise, he had to be the good guy and I was always the bad guy and left rooms always trying to have the last word, saying “No more conversations, no new conversations.” Two adult children, two very different styles. I love them equally.
It took me a long time for me to find my voice, as a second child with an older sister who was very strong and bossy, (Some other people would call it overbearing.) When I was young I was shy, bashful so I can truly understand both sides. As soon as my sister went to college I found my voice and it was dramatic and beautiful and real.
Listen. Try silencing your voice and make people feel safe and don’t criticize them automatically for their fear or reluctance, I know you do it, you know it too. Not everyone is like you, though, the world is not made of people as strong as you. They need their own voices to be heard, in their own way. Sometimes with care, sometimes written, or spoken in whispers to friends who are willing to take the time to listen and not judge.
Whether you outright say it or not, people feel your judgment straight from your body to theirs, not all judgment is verbal, of course. You can feel it from someone’s eyes or body language. I will not judge you for hushed tones like a sleepy mouse, I will applaud you if anxiety enabled you to speak softly about it in the first place. We’re all just different in how we express things. Let’s try to play together, without judgment or criticism. The point is, everyone, in their own way, is entitled to be heard.
Dedicated to my good friend, D.E.G.
for getting the conversation started.
(credit to above named photographers)
We tiptoe in, mostly we avoid eye contact but if we make it we acknowledge it quickly with a nod of our heads; dressed in white towels, the room is absolutely silent. Nobody breaks these unwritten rules either, you just know them. No talking in the sauna. Not one word. Someone leaves, they don’t say “good-bye and have a nice weekend,” that would be against the rules. ” She exits silently, closes the door quickly behind her and disappears into the locker room.
We know the procedure, even if it is our first time, we know what to do and what not to do. Is it in our genes? How else would we know? Perhaps it’s passed down from our mothers? I have seen the occasional aberration from the norm, but mostly one evil look, or two, will silence the uneducated. Oh, they will get the message. Don’t do this again, if you want to chat, go to Starbucks.
I go after a swim, where I feel that I am getting some of the chemicals out of my body, making my body glow naturally with heat. I can only stay inside for about five minutes, there are no watches or clocks, you need to know your own body and your body tells you when it’s time to leave. Don’t fool around with that. Drink a bottle of water right away to hydrate your body. It’s your own, private club, or at least that’s what you pretend. Other women work painstakingly with their hair and hair dryers for a long time trying to straighten their hair, but once I’ve showered I’m relieved to go out into the sunshine where my hair will curl naturally by the sun. I should pay more attention to make-up and clothing and accessories, I know, but to me, a little lipstick is all I do. It’s all I care to do.
Maybe the sauna takes us back to a place where there are no phones, no meetings, nothing to do in today’s ever so quick, changing lives. I admit, I have a cell phone but only use it for my children, it is usually turned off. Perhaps the sauna brings me back to the quiet, to the way things used to be, before the latest technology. I like it there.
Screams roar from my mouth
words can’t escape the damage
I turn to the wall.
No-one speaks or shouts
Try to talk in measured tones
Words that are silent.
Old wounds, never die
ripped apart with trembling hands
Add blood and lemon.
Deep within my grief
We know that life is cruel, sad
Always more to come.
Since I am comfortable with myself, silence does not make me uncomfortable at all. Years ago, when I was young, I am sure that I felt awkward at times with silence. Silence and strangers.
Now, it is a strength to be comfortable, alone or with another person in silence. It’s an act of faith, one that takes years to build; I am extremely comfortable with my husband or best friend beside me, together, alone.
Trust yourself and the other person both in silence and in speech. Know that the person beside you, the one that you have loved for many years is your soul-mate, your very best friend. It shouldn’t and doesn’t come quickly, it takes some time to understand each other, and even then, there is always the tiny unknown.
Start with a glimmer and a smile, many years later, you know each others thoughts, words, smiles and nuances. I can hear my own thoughts in silence, I can use words as photographs in my mind. More importantly, I listen to how I feel.
I just glanced away
No one but you and I knew
Silence, pause, is key
Purple, angry scar
Spoke volumes but said nothing
In the dark, leaves dance
Ghosts laugh in the hidden world
Branches twist, crack, twirl
‘You can calm down now,’ I tell myself, ‘everything is okay.’ But, it isn’t. I had trouble sleeping last night and I woke up feeling jittery and nervous. I’m off-balance and anxious and it seems that any little, tiny thing can set me off course. I know the stress must be cumulative. For the last 11 months, my husband has been unemployed. He is trying so hard and there is not much out there. I FEEL for him, I want to see his pleased grin, his crooked smile. I want this for him, more than I want this for our family and that says a lot.
I have been a stay at home mom with our children and I’ve also been sick for the past four years. I have a chronic disease ( and a few others) and even I, with my limited skill set, look at the paper for something part-time. Of course the lack of money is VERY important but really, we live without many frills. Having two teenagers makes it a bit harder and we have college to pay for: one child, in one year and the other child in the year after that. We will deal with it the best way we can, step by financial aid step.
I cannot see my beloved husband’s droopy face another minute even though he puts on a good show. I am not the type of person to blame the President and the economy for our misfortune. There are many worse misfortunes and I remind myself of that all the time. It would be nice to see the happy glow back on his face, the spring in his step back. I feel useless and helpless and while we have had a nice summer together, the teenagers will be back in two weeks and that changes the family dynamics drastically. There will be more stress, especially with a Junior and a Senior in High School but also, many more distractions. Even though there may be more fighting, there will also be more laughter to replace the still silence that hangs in the air.
One of the worst parts about being unemployed is the way you are treated. I worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and we ALWAYS called the applicant with the decision that was made, good or bad. Now? There have been jobs he has been assured of getting and then? Nothing. No call, no e-mail, nothing. I know there are more applicants than there are jobs now, but please, a little respect would be nice. No excuses.
I am trying, again, to stay positive in my mind. To readjust and focus on happiness. The house has never been vacuumed that much and that often in the last 15 years. I would give that up GLADLY. Help me in seeing good things come his way; I’ll keep you posted.