Having walls, windows, and a roof doesn’t solve everything, but it sure makes the shitty stuff easier to handle. I have a little tiny mini real christmas tree, with a few led lights sitting on my window seat. It is dropping needles just like its full sized cousins do, and sitting there prettily. The California light shines through the glass and past my voile curtains, and hits the dust on my guitar’s headstock in a way that makes me want to pick her up and play something, but there is no one to play for. What is the point in plucking the strings without someone to listen? It reminds me of that old clichéd saying, about whether a tree makes any sound falling if no one is there to hear it. Of course sound is made, it just doesn’t mean anything. It goes to waste. It is superfluous and self indulgent, it might as well not have happened if no one hears it. Which is a bit like life, really, isn’t it. If no one hears you, no one sees you, if you live a life without the noise to accompany the impact, what is the point? Life simply passes without meaning, or fanfare, and fades out of view and memory.
If I don’t ever SAY anything, I will simply cease to exist. If I don’t speak my mind, I will fail to exist as ‘me’. I will be a pale facsimile of what I actually am. I might as well be a ghost. At what price being permitted to exist in peace?
I suppose I am not much one for silence, at least not on the face of it. I am more a ‘ say fuck it and and shout it out’ kinda fool. Except that is not how it is. I wrote an entire blog entry saying what I want to say, what I’m bursting to say, what I NEED to say, and then, considering cancel culture and the totalitarian state of affairs, remembering warnings not to have unpopular opinions, decided to not press publish, and instead write some bullshit about the delightfully flame haired Tori Amos and her song Silent All These Years. After all these years, looking back to the ’90s, seeing Tori play the piano and sing lines like “Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon…how’s that thought for you?”, and singing along in my cynical self indulgent way that I personified at the point of my life, feeling sorry for myself and not really understanding the gravity of being ‘one more casualty’ as she puts it. Years do indeed go by, and to be frank, a woman in the prime of her life, not even Tori as she was then writing the song, can actually understand what it means to be ‘silent all these years’. Simply not enough years have passed by for that depth of emotion, yet she sells the anguish so gracefully and believably.
What does it mean to be silent? To have no opinion. I had no opinion for years while I was with my ex husband. Opinions are dangerous to say the least. Fatal, even. I had no opinions on anything, at least not ones I could safely voice. I owed the children my silence. So Big Mouth here, remained mostly quietly biddable. Now, I have found my voice over the last year of writing, and despite disappointments and let downs, despite absolute crazy bitches promising the world and then throwing pathetic little temper tantrums leaving me hanging and trying to build a future from scratch again (and hey, if you are reading, I don’t care. I wish you wouldn’t. Fuck you.), despite the fact I am currently nursing a back and leg that is half killing me with nerve pain, despite the stress of being undocumented, illegal and holding onto what is left of my family for dear life, despite all of this, I can still squeeze out some words.
It isn’t easy. I struggle to talk. I feel permanently awkward. I try and join in, try and jump into the social milieu and immediately drown. I struggle to find motivation. I am struggling to find equilibrium. Four walls, windows, a door and a bed don’t fix it all. They don’t fix it, but they make it bearable. Electric sockets which pour electric into phones and laptops are luxuries. I went entire months without electric. Water. Showers. Toilets. All of it. Luxury. Food every day. Luxury. If I wasn’t in here, after everything, I would have collapsed or died. Or one then the other.
But still, I feel stifled. I feel stifled by modern society, by cancel culture, by the tsunami of popular opinion and what I see as a psyop to influence people to divide into tribal factions against one another. We little people are not each others enemy. It is the powerful elites which are the enemy of the common man and woman. I watch Austria slide into vaccine mandates and shudder. The world is like quick sand shifting under my feet. I once felt like I couldn’t have an opinion domestically or I would be in danger. Now I feel that same gut wrenching imperative towards silence on a much vaster level.
I walk my own path. I toe my own line. I just can’t tell anyone about it. And that, people is how democracy dies – not in darkness, but in silence; not just going out without a bang, but without the breath to even whimper.