Saturday, January 9, 2010
A Deeper Kind of Silent
Some part of me always knew I would eventually call myself a writer – that was a given.
Then came the deafening roar of silence…
*I should note here for those of you who may not know. I had been hearing impaired since the age of five. This is about a precise date, January 8th, 2005 – the night I ceased to hear. Imagine a light bulb burning brightest before it fizzles, pops and goes dark. Going deaf was a bit like that.
What I didn’t plan on was deaf being part of that descriptive nuance. Five years later I can’t imagine describing myself any other way. It’s the very current that flows beneath my writing. Life lessons that echo and reverberate against my words.
Why would I find myself with this need to define who I am? The question begs of me.
Because, it wasn’t until this year that it dawned on me, the subtle hush that falls soon after Christmas and stays with me until the very day – January 8th. A pattern that apparently repeats itself year after year as predictable as the air I breathe. It wasn’t until this year that I noticed something unremarkably different in as much as, the day slipped by without a whimper, unfelt and forgotten. Could it be?
Could I have somehow crossed that threshold of deeper understanding and awareness? What changed and where do I go from here? Those questions and more were in the forefront of my mind today, along with that insatiable need for definition.
If memory serves me right - that first year of deafening silence was spent exploring the space within my silent world. I tried to temper my feelings and prepare for this new learning curve by stretching my boundaries as far as I could, to see which parts of me snapped back into place. The second year was a defiant one and by the third year I was done exploring. I wanted all the jagged edges of my life to somehow work themselves out.
I discovered over these last silent five years, I didn’t get to take the easy way out – no one does. I had to put in the time and labor and let it teach me how to be complete. Think of it as reading a book: If you tear out the pages you don’t like and rush to the happy ever ending – you’re left feeling as if you missed an important part of the story. What happened to the journey to get there? Doesn’t it seem so much more enriching after reading the struggle that ensued to see the end results? Didn’t the book gain substance and life with those points of controversy and compromise?
Honestly, I don’t need to define this deaf writer. Questions come with anniversaries, dates (point being Jan. 8th was the day I first learned my world was completely and incomprehensibly silent forevermore) and life changes. My humanity simply begs to understand and the hush falls on my contemplation.
These last few years the pages of my life overflow, the plot and consistency of my beautiful flaws and exceptions from the norm only made the tale so much more enriched. Are not our lives all an unfinished book with it’s own plots and twist? Some are easier to read, others more complicated and filled with rich detail.
And so it goes…
Five years later my deafness fits me well. The lessons that have come from such a life experience are ten fold. Ink that was once wet with the first rendering of those days, is now dry on numbered pages of my life. Fresh crisp new pages await the next chapters.
These lessons echo in the characters of books. When faced with controversy and dealt a hand in life they didn’t ask for, they tell their story – page by page and show in their own way they haven’t reached that finale yet. Books mimic life. A writer’s experience and voice can be found scratched across a page, underneath the lives of characters. Listen for the whispers between the words, the hush that foretells a deeper kind of silence. Catch your breathe, keep reading, and keep living. There is a deeper kind of silent that unfolds within us all.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller
Picture from here.