Monday, August 24, 2009

I No Longer Need To Be Quiet

I have always lived in an alternate space, in a boundless expanse of the unspoken, the unbroken, and certainly the unannounced. It’s just that not everybody knew that. People have always mistaken my quiet for agreement, my tolerance for affirmation, my moderation for timidity, my compassion for weakness, my modesty for apprehension. And they have always been wrong about me.
They have, also, always been afraid of me.

I do not live there any longer. I no longer need to be quiet.
People are still afraid of me, but for a different reason now.

Actually, they don’t really need to be. I’m at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to relationships, new and old. That’s right. I give my power away. I do not hoard it as a miser would his gold coins, or a bookie would his inside information. Love must be given in order for it to even exist. We all know that. Giving is what actually enables love. But the same is true of power. One can only experience true personal power if one is unafraid of not having it. I am unafraid.

Because of my songs, my blogs, and poetry, people know more about me than I will ever even come close to knowing about them. That is true of friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. Most people like it that way, not just with me, but with others as well. They like the advantage, they like having the upper hand. It helps them stand. It helps them survive in relationships, whether they be ‘close personal’ ones, or casual. Most people divulge very little about themselves. In fact, I’ll bet many people know more about me, what I think, what I believe, how I feel, than they know about their own spouses, brothers and sisters, parents, or best friends. Sad, but probably true.

When I was young I expressed my feelings, mostly through songs and poetry, but usually kept my thoughts to myself. Youth is about feelings because young people don’t really know yet what they think, or believe. And when they think they do it changes. But they know how they feel. In fact, feelings are something one never has to take responsibility for. After all, ‘I can’t help the way I feel’. But what one thinks, or what one believes, requires the probability of having to back it up somehow, most likely with reason, logic, knowledge or experience. That’s a bit more difficult. It’s a little scary for people. Most people just keep quiet about things, about themselves especially. It’s how people get through life. Can’t really blame them. Expression carries with it the possibility, even the probability, of rejection.

I don’t write out of a need of expression, as was the case as an adolescent. I write out of a sense of obligation and responsibility. It has been said, “To whom much has been given, from him much will be required (expected).” I have been given sixty years, and a plethora of experience. I have had the pleasure, yes, the pleasure, of knowing pain (I will write about that in a forthcoming blog), and I have had the privilege of pleasure. I have been to the castles on the mountains, and walked among the desperate in the valleys of circumstance. I have known the commoner and the king, and have found the king to be really nothing more than a commoner with a more expensive hat. I have read the mendacious obituaries of the famous, and the honest obituaries of the invisible. I have trusted everyone in my lifetime, and I have trusted no one. I have ultimately settled into trusting those who are willing to be trustworthy, those (coincidentally) who would require the very same of me. The rest can continue to devour themselves slowly from the inside out. And, although I find it disconcerting, it is none of my concern. I have known the individuality, and the universality, of man. And more importantly, I have known you. I know this because I have known myself, and as I’ve said many times before, “We are each other.”

It does not matter to me why people read my writing. Whether it is out of habit, curiosity, personal identification, voyeuristic impulse, or to gather a grain of truth from someone unafraid of its expression. It only matters to me why I write. And I do so because I am compelled to. It is an internal commission. It does not matter to me that people keep quiet about themselves, even to my disadvantage. I don’t need the upper hand. I do not compete with people. I don’t need their acceptance, affirmation, or even their approval.

That does not mean I would not appreciate their love. It only means that I will not keep quiet in order to have it. As one who has been given much, I have an obligation to its greater intent. It is the responsible thing for me to do.

If there is something in it for some of you,
all the better.