I am astounded at the absurdity and the letdown of the last 7 days.
I have learned that I am cursed with the notion that words mean things…specific and precise things, and some words can morph, can shape-shift depending on the wind or the light…or the scents in the air…
and so I have collected them…words. I use them like a carpenter uses finish tools, like a furniture maker wields her instruments of creation.
But I have also learned that others do not…
…others do not know that words mean things (they ass-u-me)
…others do not CARE that words mean things
…others use words carelessly
…others use words lazily
…others use words clumsily
So the next thing I learned is that other people freak out when I ask what they mean…they get upset, or angry, or worst of all puzzled, as if I speak in a foreign language, as if I am an animal that suddenly went Narnia and began to utter intelligible sounds…but since I am just an animal they need not be considered seriously, it is just a lucky co-incidence.
This freaks me out greatly when this happens…being a sufferer of brain trauma, this ambiguity and denial of meaning is like throwing gasoline on a fire and expecting it to go out like water has been applied to those unwanted and despised flames.
So I devised a coping strategy…I decided to ask for clarification.
“I don’t understand, would you please clarify?
“I am uncertain as to what you mean, would you please explain?”
“I am anxious and scared because the ramifications of what you said shout and gibber at me and I have no hiding place…will you please give me definition and reassurance, or if not then out with the guillotine and lop off my head?”
Sometimes, when I ask this, people deny there is anything to define…the inference is that I am crazy, reading too much into the words, finding things that are not there, and that I just need to mellow out.
“Take things for face value” they say.
I tried that. It led to betrayal and violation and deeper/horrific trauma and a conflagration that nearly was my end…thank God for God and for Phoenixes.
So that didn’t work so well…or rather, it utterly broke and stained for good that place inside which could (a little) stay still and let go and take something on its face…this is utterly absurd anyway, given the combination of words that are so carelessly used and the mutual exclusivity of those combinations…to take most statements at face value is to accept meaningless absurdity and to bathe in the vile flow emanating forever from the ruins of the tower of Babel.
This led to a different strategy…that of survival.
Maslow wrote about the hierarchy of needs, ranging from survival to self-actualization, and emphasized that when survival was in question self-actualization was a pipe dream if it was even present in the threatened consciousness.
I learned that words cannot be trusted when they are loose and running wild in packs like rabid dogs. I learned that other people do not want or will not choose to place them on leashes and seek to master them and use them for life rather than death.
(“The power of life and death is in the tongue” says the sage)
As I survive, I discover people and places where there are indications and implications that I might find sanctuary. I begin to trust, begin to hope…and then comes the dilemma…undefined words, confusing communication contradictory and capricious…
What do I do? Whenever I ask for clarity, that ask is offensive, shocking, puzzling, incomprehensible? But if I don’t ask, then I am doomed by this:
In the lack of clarity, I am compelled (powerless in this, actually) to find the worst possibility and the shade of meaning that places me in the worst place…and that becomes my truth.
Which of course leads others to heap on even more incredulity, and they say to me THEIR truth of me…
…as if I am an idiot for thinking what I think in the face of ambiguity…
which actually drives me deeper into the fires.
In these last 7 days this has happened to me…and I have happened to it as well, for I sought clarification…in open words, in more words than others consider decorous (because I want to be as sure as I can that I am clear in what I am saying)…in plain pleading plaintive words…begging words with empty cup extended in front of my dirty street urchin face…
and the bottom of lower than the worst has been the result…
The very worst thing, the ultimate blow that anyone can give to me in this place…
…………… is silence……………
That silence has a voice. Did you know that? Silence speaks?
In crushing fog weighty and inexorable
Silence gibbers sinister
Silence threatens with burbly graveyard chuckles
Silence goose-steps over my grave in shivery stampings
Silence screams that I am nothing
Silence screams that I am soon going to be eaten
(but only after I have been torn apart)
Torn apart by words…for it is on the other side of silence that others finally speak words…imprecise, wielded clumsy and ham handed, lacking nuance and deftness…and me, Andromeda without a Perseus caught there by my wrist, chained while the imprecision feeds on my liver in gnawing knife pecking beaks and ripping tearing talon claws…
It is in these moments that I wish it would just stop.
I have recognized this is also mostly the result of trauma in my life, and of that I have recently written…no, you cannot just “mellow out”, just “relax”, just “let it go and choose different”…thank you very much for your insensitive and ignorant admonitions…give me some credit, and imagine that a being as complex as myself might have tried that a time or trillion…no.
Trauma is with you like your skin, but it is a skin inside your skull and made solely of cockleburrs and foxtails.
And that is where this poem comes in…”Nothing Rhymes Orange”
It is short, considerably shorter than the ravings of this post (now you see why I love to speak in poem and nuance and layers)
Ask for clarity
That is the road for Charissa that leads to hell.
5 days of hell, and me still here and no one understanding the fortitude or fierce fight that I have been in simply to be here prattling on and on and on and on…
Silence says to me “Just shut up and go away”
Silence is the siren call crooning and never have those sharp rocks looked so inviting, so final, so untroubling in their destructive shadow.
But I? Well, I guess that I am even worse than bad…because in the face of repudiation and rejection shouted so eloquently in that Silence slouching towards this Bethlehem, I don’t even have the good sense to go…the courage to go? The integrity to go? Is that it? Prolly that is it since my integrity is called into question in the imprecision and indefinite miasma that masquerades as communication…
Is it that I am stubborn? Is it that I am curious and want to see how it ends without me breaking character and stepping off the stage in Act 3 of 5?
I dunno…I will just go with the end of “Papillon” (those curious can search my blog for that, those not curious, well why are you even still reading…did I not lose you in the Labyrinth of my words?? ‘Ware the Minotaur, sojourner!!).
I WILL NOT BE SILENT, even though so many will…
but I won’t lie either. These last 5 days have been a living hell inside my skull, and it hurts so bad.
Words often fail to bring comfort I know, but you are heard and seen and loved.
Be as stubborn, persistent, emotional, caring, and relentless as you were created to be.
Keep going friend.
Thank you, brother… Thank you 💞