“Deep vengeance is the daughter of deep silence.”
― Vittorio Alfieri
When you think of silence,
Is it a place or an action filled with light or with dark?
Is it peaceful, a space of solitary contemplation, a refuge from the word-filled storms of the world, a moment to yourself, private, secret…
Is it stressful, a vacuum which terrifies, a sensory overload where every atom in your being screams at you, a haunted house filled with every ghost, ghoul, monster, and poltergeist you’ve ever known awaits your return, your special hell…
“Ah, how I rue that what I could have done I did not do!”
― Ludovico Ariosto
Do you cross the threshold from sound to silence eagerly or with trepidation…
When you’re with others,
are you the one most likely to be talking, filling the air with your voice, inserting a soundtrack into the film because it’s better that way…
no one wants to watch a scene without music telling you what to feel and to think, and what may be just around the corner (without the Jaws theme we wouldn’t know to be scared of the water and its depths)
or are you the one voted most likely silent while listening (or not listening but not talking either), the corner of the conversation which is quiet, the place where the words of others go to be seen, acknowledged, thought about in a way which sometimes makes them uncomfortable…
Are you the centre of the universe, the party has arrived, the sun is now shining please enjoy its rays…
Are you a satellite, the Moon, reflecting the light of some other sun, a gentle presence with a dark side but one that can be as comforting as the lighter side, where people go to hide and be sheltered…
Or are you the gloom out there that is sometimes in here… the one who steps into a lively circle and blurs its lines, letting it know that death (or something which may be life but others misperceive as the grim reaper due to shadow) is stalking it…
“Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
― Italo Calvino
Yesterday I spent some time visiting with my neighbour,
happenstance had caused our paths to cross a bit more socially than perhaps we would have even though we only live across the road from each other…
some roads are never crossed by humans…
but this socially awkward chicken needed to get to the other side to deliver a message which belonged to my neighbour and which I had received instead
(this happened the day after my neighbour had come to deliver a message which belonged to me but which they had received – they wondered if I had any of their letters… I assured them at the time that I didn’t. The day after… things had changed).
What was only supposed to be a quick hello-take this, it’s yours -goodbye… became a long exchange of identities and perceptions seen from those towers which crumble as we speak…
“Inevitably we construct ourselves. Let me explain. I enter this house and immediately I become what I have to become, what I can become: I construct myself. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me.”
― Luigi Pirandello
Whenever I am with other people, either in their company or just out and about in public places, I have a habit of forgetting about myself and focusing my attention on others.
This is partly due to learning the hard won way that others are more interested in themselves than they are in you, unless their interest in you is caused by them wondering what you’re thinking about them, and whether the impression you have of them is one they want you to have of them (which they’ve probably worked on over the course of their life and would like for you to appreciate as an artist would like for you to view his art).
I know not all people do that, but we all do it to a certain degree and it’s a fairly good gamble to assume that the people who you are with are doing it… until you get to know them better and can ascertain how much of your assumption is correct and how much of it is making an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’ (a friend pointed that out to me about the word ‘ass-u-me’ and I’ve never been able to shake it… this friend was prone to doing that quite a bit, so I guess they wanted to pass it on, worried that others were doing to them what they did to others).
A portion of every conversation, especially getting-to-know-you ones are a cluster of ‘I AM’ statements from both you and the other person…
“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
unless the ‘you’ is me, and then you’re not really thinking about who you are (because it’s best not to).
Who I am… confuses me, and usually confuses others too, particularly when I’m trying to simplify it to not make it confusing.
These ‘I AM’ statements may be in ‘I am this or that’ form…
I am a good person, caring, kind, an empath…
[I included the ‘I am an empath’ in this because I checked my stats this morning and found that nine people had used – people who say they are empaths but are narcissists – as a search term which had caused them to end up on my blog. That quandary is one I’ve written about quite a bit… not sure if the people searching found those posts as this place is a bit scattered (as am I)]
and those statements often come with a quick ‘my life’ tale as an example, because our mind coughs those up to confirm to us and others that we are who we are saying we are. Sometimes it does the opposite and as we are saying how friendly we are it reminds us that we’ve not always been friendly…
If a person you are with suddenly waves their hand in a way which seems like a nervous tick – they’re waving away an uncomfortable thought, perhaps.
“If you meet an angel, you will have not peace, but a fever.”
― Stefano Benni
Or these statements may be in the ‘Someone else is this or that’ shape…
Someone else is a villain (saying this about them means I am a hero),
someone else is a narcissist (therefore I am not),
someone else is incompetent (which points out how competent I am, I am pointing out their inability to accentuate my ability),
someone else thinks I’m beautiful… aren’t they silly (the answer to that is no, they’re not silly, they are seeing the truth! Please let it be true…),
someone else needed my help and I helped them (aren’t I a good person, caring, kind and empathic… even if I made them feel a bit bad about needing me to sort out their mess, and if they ever forget that I helped them, that they couldn’t do it without me, I’ll be considerate enough to remind them)…
For every knock life gives us,
knocking us over, knocking us down…
someone else may hear that as opportunity knocking on their door.
“I gave up the unequal struggle against what appeared to be in my fate, indeed, I welcomed it with more affection. As one embraces a foe one can’t defeat and I felt liberated.”
― Alberto Moravia
The knock on effect of the first knock…
can last a lifetime, and go from friend to foe and back again many times over… where it stops, does anyone know?
We often pass on our wounds to others without even being aware that such a thing is happening,
sometimes our wounds are those of others and no one knows the difference,
firm friendships are sometimes the result of wound alliance, recognition, solace in company which misery loves…
You can see it more clearly in others than you can in yourself, that bond between people which involves a wound, and an identity that can’t exist without a contrast…
a black that needs a white,
a silence that needs a sound.
For me the knock stops in a deep silence…
“Everyone stands along on the heart of the earth transfixed by a sun ray:
and suddenly it is evening.”
― Salvatore Quasimodo
Chatting with my neighbour (and his business partner – who may or may not be a partner in other ways… I didn’t ask as it is none of my business),
to go with the ones which were made by them, I made some ‘I AM’ statements, ones which are expected when introducing and being introduced…
mine are often very vague, but it usually doesn’t matter until someone decides that they aren’t okay with that…
when someone wants more than just a socially polite slice of you…
I can be surprisingly (to me, and sometimes to others) open about everything and anything, including those things which may seem to be matters that should be kept private,
I am an idiot – is something I’m quite happy to tell all and sundry, one way or another. Whether you believe me or not, think I’m an idiot for saying such a thing, decide that it might be useful to take advantage of this vantage point… ‘t’sup to you what you do and ‘t’sup to me what I do with what you do…
Why do I do it…
Why do you do what you do…
those reasons lie within the deep silence, often a vengeance from some past which may only be ours by proxy.
“The future has an ancient heart.”
― Carlo Levi
Never tell people who you really are,
is something which my ancestors handed down to me through my father. They wore black both inside and out, and saw it as the colour of silence.
Through my mother,
my ancestors talked a little bit more than those of my father,
my mother talked for everyone all the time,
because silence was a thing to fear and so she always needed to make some noise…
that noise hid more than it revealed,
it was particularly good at hiding the fact that she actually said less than my father did about who they were.
His silence spoke volumes, her noise said nothing at all.
“Poor as the poor I cling,
like them, to humiliating hopes;
like them, each day I nearly kill myself
just to live.”
― Pier Paolo Pasolini
Who are you?
and don’t really want to know,
and you do the same with them…
whoever they are,
you are too and yet aren’t…
in silence or in sound.