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What Came Before

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From the ghost land of the easy life.

29 May 2005

Avoidance theory. :
For seventeen years I had no voice. Even when I did speak no one seemed to hear me. I got old enough and made a break for it and spent ten years learning how to get by in the real world. It wasn’t easy but following the things I already knew like keep your mouth shut and your ears open, keep your head down and blend in – I figured out how to communicate with, relate to and be friends with real people. I still find it a useful exercise to make and maintain friendships. It helps me stay focused outside of myself and it sharpens my empathy and relational skills. I need them to do my job.

I work in a call center. I really do love to talk and since I began to realize how easy it is to get people to listen I haven’t really stopped. I like to make up stories and I can practice them on any one of the hundreds of people I talk to in a day. Talking doesn’t keep me grounded but it doesn’t hurt my time in the world either. Over all the years I have never learned how not to talk in the voice I use in my own head. I talk to others exactly how I talk to myself. I know that people who hear voices are considered to be mentally unstable or even mentally ill but I’ve always heard voices. Mostly I hear my own voice talking away. My thoughts make sounds, they all sound like me, which I consider a good thing.

I also hear music. Ally McBeal stole from me with that. Everyday has a soundtrack and so does every dream I have. I don’t wake up everyday with a new song in my head because I tend to like to listen to the same music over and over again but I often wake up hearing music. Sometimes a piece of a song gets stuck in my head and I can’t let go of it until I hear all of it and then I have to play the song to get it unstuck. Other times I like a song so much that I listen to it again and again but can’t for the life of me remember the words. So I take the time to write them down. I guess I can get a bit obsessive about what I like when it comes to music, but given that I’m so very untalented and can’t learn an instrument to save my life all I have is singing along and even if I can’t do that in tune I still do it. Karaoke anyone?

I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter. To write a song with someone who can read and write music of course. I have my talents and I begrudge no one else theirs, I’d just like to find someone who knows how to share. I think it’s something I’ve never given up because it’s something I can’t wrap my head around. I like a good enigma like everyone else and when things don’t come easy to me I either get frustrated and leave it – like advanced mathematics, or I get kind of mystical about it and set is a goal to try to attain – like the search for the Ark or the Holy Grail. Yeah that’s it, my Holy Grail is to write a song. 34 years in the making…

When people ask me about myself my first reaction is to say I’m a talented underachiever. I learned early how to get by, fly under the radar and not make waves. Funny thing is the older I get the less point I see in any of these, my life long tenets and the more I seek to find out why I gave up what really makes me happy. I get really delirious sitting alone in a room, with or without TV/stereo background noise, with a keyboard and desktop word processing program or just paper and pen. When I am actively writing I hear nothing but the words as I put them to paper and it’s more like talking out loud than hearing my own thoughts. For a while my mind and body are so in tune it’s silent in my head and I feel at peace.

It’s not the easiest thing to explain to people, that you have a busy head. I have so much going on in there that I have trouble speaking complete words and sentences much of the time. It’s as if all the words get stuck trying to come out of my mouth and then what gets out is more like gibberish than language. I like to say English wasn’t my first language, even though it was, because it makes it easier for the person I’m talking to, to understand why I can’t recall the word or expression I need to complete my thought, to feel better about my stuttering, or laugh at the fact that my last statement came out sounding more like someone dyslexic reading Shakespeare. I’ve heard that this phenomenon could be considered ADD. Well I’m not too sure about that but whatever it is it’s kept me in daydreams and on the social sidelines for quite a bit. But I’ a trooper, I keep trying to make it into the game of life no matter how afraid I am.

And there in lies the rub. I am afraid. I have fear from way back. It was my bread and butter growing up and though it didn’t turn me into an adrenaline freak, it didn’t make me the strongest presence either. It seems odd to me that I could enjoy horror movies and books so much but be afraid of simply living my life. It’s deep and ingrained and I’m working it out but the suspicion remains. The suspicion that I’ve missed something and the big bad is coming to get me may never really fade but lately I’ve been thinking and I know something that I didn’t want to know before. I make my own life up like I make up my stories. Choice A leads to thing D that causes option O and so on and so on. My reality is full of missed opportunities bad choices and questionable characters but with practice I’ve become ready willing and able to step up and be responsible for what ever I created. I got over the whining and crying and why me-ing a long time ago but the residue of being irresponsible and out of control took much longer to wear off.

I was 33 when I woke up one day and knew that if I didn’t stop being a bit player in my own movie then I was going to get killed off in the second act. That I would have actually written it that way for myself was the hardest part to accept. Thing is I woke up. Once I was awake there was no denying the facts or what was happening and I could see it all playing out like it had already happened and I was remembering a dream. I could see my husband, in a booze and drug filled rage, killing me. I knew that if I really believed in myself and believed that I could do anything I had to get out of there and live with whatever happened because of it.

A few addresses, a couple of jobs, a bankruptcy and minor depression later I am single/separated going on divorced finally getting back to feeling alive and ok in my own skin. I’m still the detached observer I always was, able to shut down my whole psyche in the twitch of an iris but I’m not hiding in there anymore waiting for someone to see me. If anything I’m desperately trying to figure out how to deactivate this built in protection system designed and activated from years in a severely dysfunctional family. I escape into words as I always have. I tell me stories; truth and fiction mixed together and hope no one feels sorry for me. In many ways I have had a hard life but there are others out there who have gone through worse and live with less. I know I am a shell that has a purpose and even though I’ve been good at interior design it’s time to for a full renovation. I am making plans – something I really never do. Plans with timelines. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, reinventing the ghost and all that. I hope to live with the fear and get people to read what I write here. This is step one. Putting myself out there and seeing how people react. Step two may be attracting more attention to step one but we’ll see. Keep reading and have a nice day.
ghost writer Ambrrrr at 10:58 AM

MenTal fUrbAll