Duality of Silence

Lately, I feel out of touch. Lately, I feel free. Lately, the blank page is the finished piece. Lately, I embody contradiction.

Blank pages used to look like a canvas, a surface welcoming the musings of my mind. I could pour my thoughts onto the canvas, black ink tucking my feelings into lines of paper. The way they escaped my consciousness was similar to the moving pictures of my unconsciousness; dreamlike.

Lately, nothingness, to a degree, feels safer. Lately, I’ve been dreaming about the past. The ghosts there haunt me. They remind me of the distance between time and the different versions of myself.

At 24, my mother tells me I should write more. She typically asks me to fill out cards for her- celebration, birthday, sympathy cards. At 17, I studied Business Administration in school because it was “practical.” I was terrible at accounting. She typically doesn’t ask me to fill our her taxes.

One minute I am full, the next I am empty. I can write myself into sadness. I can write myself out of it. Reflection, is a blessing and a curse. Self awareness, is a blessing and a curse. I see people protest in the streets and I wonder why I cannot join them. I wonder what feeling it is that I lack or what fear is suffocating my voice.

My feelings reveal themselves when I see familiar faces sitting on the sidewalk pavement, day in and day out. I walk by each morning, designer bag over my shoulder, and he says, “Good morning,” as the coin cup shakes and eyes meet mine, “Good morning,” I smile back, wondering how easy it would be to join the homeless on the sidewalk. One wrong purchase and there goes my rent for the month. One emotional breakdown and there goes employment. Everything I’ve built. Homelessness brings me pain, it is tangible, but we are taught to see those without as dangers and make examples out of them.

Mostly I wonder who has loved them and when or why they stopped. I pray that my smile reached my eyes as they met his. I think about him before I reach 44th street each morning. Some mornings I turn down a different street just to avoid him.

I defined two words in my journal last night. The first, “unaffected,” the second, “unattached.” Unaffected is an adjective, defined as feeling or showing no effects or change. Unattached, also an adjective, is defined as not working for or belonging to a particular body or organization. Subconsciously, these became goals at some point. Love, unrequited, was their foundation. Denial to express my authentic feelings and the hurt that came with it was a blessing in disguise.

Remaining unaffected is the blank canvas. It is a conditioned non-response from lessons learned, an earlier version of myself, to not be pained by what has already hurt me. Learning to be unmoved is a movement. Sages of old know the wisdom of silence and the freedom of a meditated mind. The ghosts of my past did not know these teachers. Now, there is little distance between us.

We each have a voice. Each voice has its purpose. Each voice is dialed in to a specific frequency and volume. It has its time and place in a narrative. It listens to itself. It does not force itself to the surface out of anxiety or fear. Its truest expression is through self-love.

Lately, I recognize empty space as a space full of patience. It will soon be full. Lately, I recognize my place on the sidelines as a moment to stretch and warm up. I will soon be tagged into the fight.

Don’t ask me to do what seems like the practical thing to do. Ask of me what I’m good at. Ask of me what shakes my unaffected disposition, putting tears in my eyes without direct cause. Ask of me what I can fight for with all of my might. That’s where I will serve. That’s where you will see Love and a canvas full of color.