The Sounds of Silence

Today, I was given a small but worthwhile blessing in the form of an unexpected friend. This friend and I have never been particularly close, but she has always offered the kind words and support that even my closest friends can’t seem to manage. She had always said, “If you need me, I’m here.” And I’ll admit I looked the other way. Everyone says that in the moment, but when the actual crisis occurs, they’re never there. But today, on easily one of the hardest days of my life, I went out on a limb and asked for help.

Within the hour, she was sitting with me in my hammock patiently listening to me pour out my heart’s frustrations. Her warm presence was not the only part of the blessing, however.

I told her of my struggles with grief. That I was having the most difficult time with exiting the bargaining stage, that is, where I go over and over through my head all the things I could say or do to change what was happening. I told her how desperate and pathetic I felt. She nodded quietly, and told me that what I was doing was completely human, and she’s struggled with it herself. But then, she gave me a piece of wisdom that I had refused previously to consider. 

“You have to realize that eventually, there is nothing else you can do. I think about it like this, and maybe it’s stupid, but it helps. Think about music. Say you’re sitting in a jazz club where musicians are playing and everyone is having a conversation, really not paying attention to what’s being played. It’s just background noise. But, when the band stops, the people stop talking. They notice the band for the first time, and only in its absence do they actually start to listen. There is nothing else you can do, Carson, but hope the silence makes him hear.”

For once, someone said exactly what I needed to hear.


Back in the saddle!

Tonight, I went to my first lyrical class in months. I’ll probably have a hard time walking tomorrow, but people aren’t kidding when they talk about endorphins making you happy. Endorphins make me happy, and dance makes me happier!

Bear with me on the low quality! Choreography by Joshua Wise

This will never cease being relevant.

Photograph – Andrea Gibson

I wish I was a photograph tucked into the corners or your wallet.
I wish a photograph you carry like a future in your back pocket.
I wish I was that face you show to strangers when they ask you where you come from.
I wish I was that someone that you come from every time you get there, and when you get there I wish that someone that got phone calls and postcards saying I wish you were here.
I wish you were here.
Autumn is the hardest season.
The leaves have all fallen and they fell like they were falling in love with the ground.
And the trees are all naked and lonely, I keep trying to tell them new leaves will come around in the spring, but you can’t tell trees those things.
They’re like me they just stand there and don’t listen.
I wish you were here.
I’ve been missing you like crazy.
I’ve been hazy eyed staring at the bottom of my glass again, thinking about the time when it was so full it was like we were tapping the moon for moonshine or sticking straws into the center of the sun and sipping like icarus would forever kiss the bullets from our guns.
I never meant to fire, you know.
I never meant to fire, lover, I know we never meant to hurt each other.
Now the sky clicks from black to blue and dusk looks like a bruise.
I’ve been wrapping one night stands around my body like wedding bands and none of them fit in the morning. They just slip off my fingers and slip out the door and all that lingers is the scent of you.
I once swore if I threw that scent into a wishing well all the wishes in the world would come true.
Do you remember?
Do you remember the night I told you I’d never seen anything more perfect than the glow of a street light.
Electricity bowing to nature.
Mind bowing to heart beat.
This is going to hurt.
Bowing to I love you. I still love you.
Like moons love the planets they circle around.
Like children love recess bells.
I still hear the sound of you and think of playgrounds where outcasts who stutter beneath braces and bruises and acne are finally learning that their rich handsome bullies will never grow up to be happy.
I think of happy when I think of you.
So wherever you are, I hope you’re happy.
I really do.
I hope the stars are kissing your cheeks tonight.
I hope you finally found a way to quit smoking.
I hope your lungs are open and breathing your life.
I hope there’s a kite in your hand that’s flying all the way up to orion and you still got a thousand yards of string to let out.
I hope you’re smiling like god is pulling at the corners of your mouth.
Cause I might be naked and lonely, shaking branches for bones, but I’m still time zones away from who I was the day before we met.
You were the first mile where my heart broke a sweat and I wish you were here.
I wish you’d never left.
But mostly I wish you well.
I wish you my very very best.


Sylvia Plath wisely said, “How we need another soul to cling to.”

There isn’t a normal person in the world that doesn’t ache for companionship. God himself realized that Adam didn’t have enough, and gave him Eve. It’s so easy to let your pride swallow you and swear off people. It’s easy to think that you’re better off alone. People inevitably let you down. Loving someone, whether it be platonic or romantic, makes you at the mercy of the other person. “The power in every relationship lies with whomever cares less.” Blah, blah, blah, bitterness, etc.  

 At the end of the day, no one is better off alone. No one should have to spend an entire day without producing an actual sound from their lips. There are types of pain that can only be overcome with the help of another person. It takes a village and every other cliche.

I spend all of my energy reaching out to people. I swallow my pride and realize that I am desperate for interaction, putting faith in the type of friend that I have been to others, and yet am rewarded with not a single response. 

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to answer a damn text message.

I hear you, Salinger.

I recently finished the J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Initially, I had chosen the book because it was my someone’s absolute favorite novel; He even went as far as saying that the book summed up everything he felt about the world. I had begun the book to merely understand him, and left it learning more about myself. It’s discouraging because I wish I had read the book because of my own conviction. I’m not sure I’ve felt more closing a book than when I closed the back cover of Franny and Zooey, and in a way I regret that it wasn’t my idea. It reeks of an almost conformity, like maybe I only loved the book because my someone did. A person can yell and scream all day long that something “isn’t so” but the fact that they’re even yelling makes it difficult to believe them.

Motives aside, my heart swelled and pounded as I finished the final pages of Franny and Zooey. If an author is doing their job right, you feel as if what you’re reading is being said directly to you and I did. I heard. I’m listening.

An excerpt from Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

“I don’t happen to be attracted to the St. Francis of Assisi type. But you are. And, in my opinion, that’s one of the reasons why you’re having this little nervous breakdown. And especially the reason why you’re having it at home. This place is made to order for you. The service is good, and there’s plenty of hot and cold running ghosts. What could be more convenient? You can say your prayer here and roll Jesus and St. Francis and Seymour and Heidi’s grandfather all in one. ” Zooey’s voice stopped, very briefly. “Can’t you see that? CAn’t you see how unclearly, how sloppily you’re looking at things? My God, there’s absolutely nothing tenth-rate about you, and yet you’re up to your neck at this minute in tenth-rate thinking. Not only is the way you’re going at your prayer tenth-rate religion but, whether you know it or not, you’re having a tenth rate nervous breakdown. I’ve seen a couple of real breakdowns, and the people who had them didn’t bother to pick and choose the place they–” “Just stop it, Zooey! Just stop it!” Franny said, sobbing. “I will, in a minute, just a minute. Why are you breaking down, incidentally? I mean if you’re able to go in to a full collapse with all your might, why can’t you use the same energy to do something well and busy? “

Proverbs 23:7 says

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

The mind is a powerful thing. From it stems everything around us. It is where decisions are made, relationships are formed, and emotions are processed. The mind holds ultimate veto power. 

Over the course of six months, I have paraded from doctor to doctor trying to explain the chronic nausea that has been completely debilitating to my life. This past week, I finally went to the big time, the renowned Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, I was not referred. In small town Minot’s Trinity Hospital, I had undergone a series of tests including a gall bladder HIDA scan, a stomach emptying test, a bone, ultrasounds, multiple series of blood tests, and an endoscopy. All coming up completely normal. As it is, these are bases that would have been covered at Mayo as well, and since they had already been performed, a committee would have to meet to discuss my case and whether or not to take it on. After vomiting for a week, these weren’t odds we felt like gambling on. Instead, I was admitted to the ER where I received necessary fluids, as well as a full work up and referral to a G.I. specialist. 

Taking into consideration everything I had heard about the Mayo clinic, I was eager to receive my standard “team” of doctors working on my case; My own personal Grey’s Anatomy. I even overheard the sentence, “This is a teaching hospital. A resident and attending will both visit with you,” to the woman next to me in the ER. But as I walked in to my appointment, this was not the case. A surprisingly young woman entered the exam room. She quietly paged through my records that my ever-efficient mother brought with her. When she finished, she asked me the same questions every doctor asks. “When did the nausea start? Do you vomit all the time? What about stomach pain?” etc etc. She spoke very tersely, and left no room for discussion between questions. 

Then, this very foreign named doctor turned to me and said, “I would like you to see our behavioral specialist here. We believe that nothing structurally is causing your nausea, therefore there isn’t a reason for it. I see that you have a history of anxiety and depression, so meeting with one of our psychiatrists will help you with breathing techniques to eliminate the ‘nausea’.” 

I sat back in my chair to take in what I had just been told. I had driven 10+ hours to have a woman tell me that how I’ve been feeling isn’t real and it’s all in my head. Better yet, there is nothing they can give me to cure it except for two hours with a shrink to teach me how to breathe. 

I believe in the power of your mind over your body. It explains the way your heart speeds up when you’re nervous, or you get the pit in your stomach when you hear bad news. Even a panic attack is your brain’s way of the fight or flight response to fear. These are real things. But how do you explain being completely unable to eat?  The smell, the texture, the mere thought of food causing me to dry heave, only to vomit later. Is my brain afraid of sustenance? I can not buy that something isn’t wrong.

The “diagnosis” ,or lack thereof, came ironically because the day before I had gone to the hospital, I met with my priest. He told me to pray over the idea that maybe the only thing that’s wrong is that nothing is wrong.

Maybe these people know something that I don’t, but it sounds like a little too much weight behind “Mind over matter.”

Work done with …

Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.

Bhagavad Gita