The Passion of Soundlessness

Do you ever get in a peevish mood for no apparent reason?  Where it feels like an ill wind blowing hard but the air is as stagnant as a hot airless summer day?  I feel like that right now.  I can number my complaints, I’m sure.  They are many and all ridiculous.  Let’s take a look:

The inconsequential nothings making Angelina as bitchy as a crow with bent feathers:

  • Philip saying I obviously don’t have a very strong sense of taste because he can very distinctly taste the nettles in the pasta I made to very carefully mask the taste of nettles which I don’t like.  Shot me down like a German jet.  What’s stupid about me being annoyed is that the bottom line is that dinner was so fucking good it’s taken every ounce of will power not to have seconds.
  • The noise level in the house which only just diminished as Max and friend were sent to bed.  I could not think a single thought without some intrusive SHOUTING crashing through them.  Makes me want to punch walls.
  • I’m annoyed that I can’t decide what the hell I want to do so that the whole evening is trickling away with this uncharacteristic indecision.  So I’m writing this post about how annoyed I am with myself.
  • Finding out that Max’s psychologist is twenty years older than me but looks my age was a major irritant.  It is demoralizing and comes, I’m sure, from him having a balanced mind and a Quaalude-calm personality.  Max was as astonished as I was and said “But you are completely wrinkle-free!”  I crawl in my ditch of limp-hipped drag-bagged self and cry.
  • My mom telling me I have every reason to freak out about something just when I’ve calmed myself down to a place of rational and philosophical evaluation of the thing that freaked me out.  Thanks mom.
  • People existing in huge numbers all around me.
  • Philip coming home announcing that he made blue belt tonight in Kung Fu.  I am proud of him but also jealous.   I am disappointed in myself that I don’t feel I can be in public classes right now and have that sinking feeling of having failed.  Max is pissed too.  It’s at moments like this when I hate my mental illness and the side effects of it in my life.  Obviously has nothing at all to do with Philip.
  • I want to cry which always makes me want to hurt myself because I hate crying more than most things.  I probably don’t hate crying as much as I hate Hitler, who would most certainly have made me cry, but I’d rather not, all the same.  Ever again.
  • There was no Daily Show this week.  This has made a huge impact on my peace of mind and my sanity, as well as my ability to look any Republicans in the eye.
  • There was no episode of Castle this week.  I live for such small crumbs of enjoyment.
  • It is a mild irritation that Beckett has long dowdy hair.  I am remembering this all the way from last week.  Long hair is great if it’s great on you.  She looks much better with shorter hair.
  • Max and Philip have lost my mp3 player.  I will never let them borrow it again.  If I ever find it.  They both deny being the last to have it but Max has been taking it with him for the car ride to school (there’s now a twenty minute commute to Max’s school) and I, being the benevolent mother I am, let him take it.  Now they both deny ever seeing it ever at all and meantime I haven’t had any nice energizing walks with the dog and my music.
  • I’m irritated that I’m peevish.
  • Philip keeps encroaching on my pillow.  I don’t share my pillow.  Because I’m crazy and other people’s heads have other people smells and if I smell other people on my pillow I can’t sleep.  There’s a lot of pillow encroaching around here.  Philip has a different perspective on this, naturally.
  • Forget cryogenics, save me a padded cell for chrissakes!

That’s a whole lotta irritation.

Incidentally, you may have noticed that things keep changing on this template.  That’s because I like to play with templates and headers.  I just learned to play with vectors in Photoshop so I want to see what I can do.  I can’t stand the spacing issues in my last template and the opposite spacing issue in this one- it’s a style-sheet thing and I don’t mess with style sheets.  However, I like the layout of this template.  I’ll probably try all kinds of stupid things.  I really want to make the colors of the template monochromatic.  They’re too cheerful and bright for my daily journal of grouchy outpourings.

Before I sign off for the night I’d like to counter the irritation with a couple of things I’m very pleased with.  There are only a couple, but I think it’s worth doing this exercise.

Where the satisfaction lies:

  • I realized today that at this moment in time I have a truly solid and tight relationship with my son.  This could dissipate at any time as we both evolve, I don’t take this moment for granted, but right now my son trusts me absolutely, he believes that I can always come up with solutions (however small) to what ails him.  He loves me, he feels safe with me, and he brings his heart to me every day for proper care and feeding.  That’s no small accomplishment and no matter how much of a mess I am, I am (at this moment) succeeding in giving him everything he needs.
  • Today I addressed the big bag of nettles Philip foraged for me this last weekend (while I was busy writing my head into a tiny crevice til 4am) and we had a non-verbal communication that was satisfying and pretty, me and the stinging nettles.  As always, when I prepare food, or plants, I find myself in complete harmony with, well, with whatever it is we must attune ourselves to in order to feel grounded and satisfied.  Obviously it didn’t last, what with this great peevish tirade I’ve treated us all to this evening, but while I snipped the large stems off and placed the prickly leaves into the dehydrator and set aside a few cups of them for dinner, I felt really honest.  Truly in my own skin.  I am happy in such busy meditative states.
  • I was remembering the psychologist who diagnosed me, Jay Judine, who is now dead.  I was remembering how solid and pragmatic his advice and thoughts on managing mental health were.  He had a profound influence on how I look at my own mental illness and how I manage it.  This week I was able to share some of his advice and my own experiences with another mother who has a kid a lot like Max.  She found my advice helpful and I have to attribute it to Jay.  How I am raising my kid to view his own mental health is very much influenced by my one and only experience of getting therapy.  I am so sad he died so young, but I’m truly happy that I got to benefit from his life’s calling before he bid adieu to us all.  In having placed my mental health in his hands I did myself a great favor as he did me a great service and I never felt like a broken creepy person in his presence.  I felt like I was merely different and that those differences have their own value.

What if I just kept writing down this page, and never stopped?  how long could it become?  No one could follow that long, but what if this single page could grow long enough to reach the center of the earth?  How many words would that be?  Could all this technology holding up my words support such a journey of endless type?  As is so often the case, the act of writing, putting words down, spilling the old idea-box of all its tricks is soothing.  Like smoothing clay across poison oak.  It quenches the existential itch.  It fills all the leaks and relieves pressure.  There have been many times in my life when the simple act of writing characters on paper with specific pens for hours non-stop was the difference between life and death.

It isn’t always what needs saying.  Sometimes it isn’t about saying anything at all.  It’s about the shape of letters, the feel of paper underneath fingers, the feel of letters scratching onto paper with pleasing pen-tips.  I remember one afternoon when I had escaped all my roommates and noise to lose myself in my favorite place in the world, Chinatown in San Francisco, I found myself in this small park behind a bunch of buildings.  Not the kind of place tourists go.  The kind of place working people go to eat a quick lunch.  There was an ignominious statue, possibly of Mao, that I was fascinated with for the great quantities of pigeon droppings caked on his shoulders.  I sat myself down for hours in this anonymous little park and I wrote.  Not to say anything.  I wrote for the pure pleasure of making letters across paper.  I sat designing new ways to write my alphabet, what I know now as “fonts”.  I also practiced writing with a strong slant to the left.  It was the formation of the letters of the alphabet with my pen, whichever was my trusty favorite at that moment, it was a sensual art; it was a sacred and meditative activity to form letters, groups of letters, saying inane thoughtless things but looking so gorgeous on the page.

This was, and remains, my element.  To sit in anonymous places with pen and paper and no known voices speaking into my ear; breathing the colorful scent of otherness and transcribing the minutes as they come without regard for time, for propriety, for grand purpose, or for posterity.  There is a sound that even the smoothest pen on the silkiest paper makes: it’s like a rush of wings, sweating feathers, rushing air; it’s like a piteousness of doves startled from rest to sweep with wild whispering into an overcast sky that absorbs the cries and hushes inquiry.

I’ll bet if I strung all the words I’ve ever written together on a string they’d reach earth’s core where they’d burn and disperse as ash.

Thinking about the passion of soundlessness.

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