Today is very rough. Anxiety has come to visit with a vengeance, and I’m having trouble being in my own skin. I’m shaky and sad and feel the uncomfortable combination of a hollow ache and a pressure that makes me feel on the verge of falling apart. I feel lost today. I drove in a haze, not really hearing the music playing, watching the city pass me in a blur, and trying not to cry. Its been awhile since I’ve felt like this. A long, long while. And, I’m fighting hard not to shut down and go numb. In some ways, today, I think numb would be a blessing, but I know that it’s one of the worst coping skills that I have. I know that how many years it took to learn to feel again. But, sometimes feeling hurts too much.
I hate the power that the past can have on me. I’ve fought for so long to diffuse it. To take it’s strength away. To not let the things that have happened to me matter at all. Surviving has been about letting go, staying strong, being everything I can to everyone, and to not let the past manifest into insecurity, fear, and overreaction. But, right now I’m failing, and I don’t quite know what to do about it. I feel raw and exposed, vulnerable, and heart hurt.
So, I am revisiting an album that came out when I was lost in ways that I didn’t think I’d find my way out of. I’m looking to the songs to help me remember how I picked myself up then, how I gathered up strength that I didn’t think I had, and faced the abandonment issues and the pain of being neglected and left, and feeling never good enough, and survived. I’m pushing through the aftermath of sleeplessness and swollen eyes from crying and trying to find all that strength and resilience I know that I have, without building up that wall again. It’s scary to have it gone, the wall that was around me for so long, and it’s so hard to not want it back again. But, I’m trying not to reconstruct it. Like going numb, I know that it is not a coping skill I want anymore.
So, I’m listening to Little Earthquakes. “Silent All These Years” in particular. And I’m writing in my paper journal, in a place I can put it all down without the worry of upsetting anyone, or the fear of not being understood, and I’m hoping, if nothing else, I can understand why I feel so hurt and sad. I need to find me in this and sort me out again.
“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos
from the album, Little Earthquakes (1992)
Song of the Day
“Cause what if I’m a mermaid,
in these jeans of his,
with her name still on it?
Hey, but I don’t care,
I said sometimes I hear my voice,
and it’s been here silent all these years.”
Tori said this once about writing “Silent All These Years”:
“So I was with my niece Cody, who was a little girl at the time, and she’s very much a part of ‘Silent All These Years,’ because she loved fairytales and stories, and we would share the Little Mermaid story – Hans Christian Andersen and the idea that she’d lost her voice – and watching Cody respond to this young woman giving up her essence and power, all for something else, and in that moment, I realized that when she had no voice, that just completely took me to the place where I needed to go to reclaim it.”
For me, the song has always been about finding myself, finding my voice and words to attach to my feelings. To allow myself to have feelings, and a voice, and to not let the fear of being abandoned, and misunderstood, take over, and to not be afraid of feeling hurt, scared, and broken, because the only way to face me, and any of those feelings – even if based in overreaction and the past – is to feel them, meet them head on, not be silent, and try to heal again. Maybe that’s simplistic. And, maybe I’m naive to think it will help. But, I have to believe that going silent, numb, and locking up my feelings again, is a choice I don’t want to make. I don’t want to go back to being “Silent All These Years”.
Though, maybe for today, I need to be silent. I think I need to think today, and not speak too much. My emotions feel so raw and painful. I think today I need to figure out why I’m hurting so much before I can expect to be understood by anyone. I don’t want to fail people I love any more than I already have.
“Silent All These Years” (live) by Tori Amos