When I was little, quiet was all I wanted. I know I have discussed my night time issues again and again, but apparently, it is something I am still working through, thinking about and processing. I would sit in my bed at night and just listen. I would listen, hoping for silence, but would always get noise.
A car driving by outside, cricks and creeks downstairs, people talking, my parents watching a scary movie. Almost anything would get me out of bed. I would get out of bed and assume my nightly position on the top of the stairs. I would sit down on the top of the stars and hug my knees close as I listened. It is amazing how much background noise you can hear when you try. I would hear what I am sure what the house settling, but in my mind it was a huge gang of burglars and they were coming to steal me, or worse kill me. I know, crazy childhood imagination, right. I always say my imagination was my best and worst friend all at the same time. During daylight hours, my imagination was spectacular. I would play and build and invent and travel to so many magical places. At night, I was a sitting duck awaiting fire, theft, kidnapping or murder, for sure.
I would sit at the top of the stairs and just listen. I would hope for silence, I would hope for quiet, because as soon as I didn't hear anything else, I would retreat back to bed, assuming the goblins had left for the evening. More often than not, as soon as I began walking back to my bed, I would think I heard something again and it would start all over again. I would swear there was someone downstairs. I would eventually get so scared that I would go downstairs to check. I guess I was still somewhat brave during my nighttime terrors. I would go downstairs and since we never got robbed and I have yet to get kidnapped or murdered, you all know that each and every time I went downstairs, I never found any one.
After looking around downstairs and trying the best I could to not look out any of the windows, I would normally retreat back upstairs. I would lay wide awake in my bed, trying so hard not to listen, but would always find myself trying so hard to hear. I would get one of my favorite books and start reading. It would be a way for me to keep my mind off of my fear and keep my mind off of what was going on downstairs. This entire time there were at least two lights on upstairs in my house. One in my room because I was so fearful of the dark, and many times the hallway and or bathroom light as well. I always thought that not only would the lights allow me to see, but if a burglar, killer, etc saw lights on in a house, they would stay away.
As I got older, silence suddenly went from something I longed for, to something I feared. Now, don't get me wrong. I still get overwhelmed by large crowds and too much noise. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized what a saving grace a small television could be in a dorm room. I never had a television in my room growing up. We always only had one t.v. in the house and so getting to watch anything I wanted was a rarity. I use to always love sleeping over my Nana Barron's house growing up because she had a t.v. in her room. When I slept over I got to sleep with her and watch t.v. all night. I learned quickly that t.v.'s could really help me get through almost any night. It was also where I turned during all sleep overs. I always did best at the sleepovers where we had access to a t.v. all night. As long as I had the remote control and a t.v. I could normally make it through the night. There were some nights where this still wasn't possible, but I always fared better with a t.v.
I found this to be the case throughout college as well. By the time I got a single as an R.A. for my sophomore and junior years and I realized I could keep the t.v. on 24/7 not necessarily to watch, but more as a distraction, I suddenly was able to sleep better and feel safer. I suddenly wasn't paying attention to bumps and creeks. I was much more comfortable just "being."
Since college, I have always insisted on having a t.v. in my bedroom. I often say it is my very own grown-up night light. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I don't watch it, it just more about the combo night light, brain distraction that I thrive off of.
The older I get the more I long for the quiet that scares me so--ironic right, living in NYC? I do appreciate just being, I appreciate trying to quiet my mind and think and meditate. It still can become a scary experience for me at times, because my quiet mind is what brings my thoughts, it is what brings on my listening for something to happen. I try and stay busy because sometimes my thoughts that come during the most quiet of times are stressful. This is where I find myself worrying about every possible scenario I have NO control over. This is where I start to listen to my body in all the wrong ways---certain there is something wrong with me.
I have gotten better with being quiet, and still and living in silence. I have come to appreciate it more and more, but it surely didn't come easy to me. It is something I need to continue to practice. Sometimes I can just tell that my mind and soul are yearning for silence, they are yearning for peace and quiet. They are yearning for the time to think and be. Writing has become something that helps to fill this silence and enjoy and utilize the silence. I can write with background noise, and I honestly write best when there is background noise. I am trying to find ways to appreciate and encourage the silence. It can be so much easier to fill your life with distracting noise. To push away the scary and annoying thoughts. It can be so much easier to just zone out and turn off your brain. I often think my brain is on overdrive too often. Putting on music, a podcast or the t.v. is a way of shutting down my brain.
I have found myself in need of t.v.s and noise these past few days with Sandy and with the election. There just appears to be so much going on right now. Sometimes I just have to remember that I know myself well enough to know what works and what doesn't. All this being said, I do want to try and continue to find ways to push through my fear of the silence. To not be so fearful of what may be lurking in the shadows and in the silence. I have a real desire to have a simple life. I have a real desire to draw and paint and write. I have a real desire to be out in nature, to spend time outside. I have a real desire to meditate more, do yoga more, and watch less TV. My soul has a real yearning to do a lot, I just need to find a way to have a mind and body more aligned with my soul to be willing to take the silence and sit with the silence.
In today's ever busy, stressed on, non-stop and multitasking world, I find it rather sad that silence, peace and stress reduction are things I need to work on and be taught. Here's to hoping I can continue to be aware of my challenges and not be afraid to face them and work on them. Here's to hoping I can continue to find ways to bring quiet back into my day and back into my life.
and that's all she wrote...