Sometimes, we have so much to say that there’s nothing to say.
Actually, strike that.
Sometimes, we have so much to say that finding the tip of the tangled ball of thoughts that sits on our shoulders and whispers into our ears while trying to tame and untangle a stretch of it to resemble anything that makes sense is so exhausting and frustrating that saying nothing at all is what ends up happening.
Having so much to say, and not being able to speak through tears or friendships or people we’re related to makes us quiet.
While wanting to gather ourselves and gather together while creating peace and light, we know that sometimes, doing so is utterly impossible and would be like humming Mozart into a black hole.
Knowing causes fingers to hesitate over keyboards. Knowing gives voices an out-of-place question mark when we speak even as we question why there’s a question mark at the end of a statement.
And so, instead, we gather our thoughts and resolutions and the tangled yarn perched on our shoulders in silence and await the day when we are able to roar.
In the meantime, reaching out and asking “But why?” while listening is helpful to avoid not storming out while wailing departure as others shake their heads at our shrinking backs. To do so would mean walking away from conversations even as our tears and anger blur ridiculous bumper stickers in the driveway.
Sometimes, retreating inward and gathering our yarn and our stardust and getting away with a stolen nap in the middle of the day makes more sense.
Sometimes, that’s how we grow our conviction and our roars.
I, for one, am not giving up. I will stand and dream and speak until my voice croaks into a puff about wanting a land of empathy and wonder where children with disabilities are accepted with the same eagerness as those without. Where women are able to open their doors to repairmen with the same abandonment as men are. Where skin color is simply a feature. Where marriage means a legal and God-blessed union of two people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
I’ve been quiet recently, here in my little space on the interwebs, but I will not always be quiet.
I have not been quiet in real life. I’ve called and supported and signed, and continue to wonder what else I can do while knowing that most of all, doing anything starts here at home.
With my not-so-little little boy.
Sometimes, not being quiet means being quiet while walking to a river to skip stones. Finding the perfect flatness and rounded edges of a rock at the shore feels like doing something important.
Because when is skipping stones with a seven-year-old not mostly more important than anything?
When I was small, I dreamt of ants crawling on me while I slept. Nothing but my mother made them disappear. She came to my room, turned on the bedside light, and pulled my sheets all the way down to show me that only the yellow and pink threads of sheets were beneath and above me.
She brushed the sheets off anyway and tickled my back until I fell asleep.
As I got older, I knew I was too old for ants and instead, made my bed, put the pillow into the sham even though that was the hard part, and carried a blanket into my younger brother’s room. I slept on his floor until the soft light of morning reminded me that there were no ants, and that even when it’s dark, the sun is somewhere.
I got away with that, for a while.
It was 3:00 am when my son came to get me. “I need you,” he said. “I had a bad dream, and I need you.”
“Okay,” I said, and I grabbed my water and followed him to his room. His were not dreams of ants on the sheets and so I did not need to turn on the light to sweep them away. I did tuck his sheets back into the fold, and lied down next to him.
“Tickle my back?” he said.
“Of course,” I replied, and remembered my own mother doing the same with me.
Instead of leaving, I stayed, and thought about the thoughts storming inside, the tangled yarn on my shoulder, the fear, and the resolution.
His little chest grew calm, as did mine.
And I knew and I know that although I’ve been silent here in the interwebs, that I have not been silent outside of them and that I never will be, until my voice one day croaks away.
We walked to the bus stop, and my little boy told me about his dream. It wasn’t a bad dream, but he was looking for me in it after falling “in a pit that was 53 feet deep with a stranger.” “I called ‘Mommy, Daddy!’ but you didn’t come,” he said.
I kissed his head, “that must have been so scary!”
“It was,” he said. “But it wasn’t real.”
“How did you know?” I asked.
“Because you always come when I need you for bad dreams,” he said.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, as most these days seem to be. This week’s sentence is “I totally got away with…”
And yes, I used it, if you scroll back up. I got away with a nap, and a loose interpretation of the sentence I suppose.