I don’t have an old-fashioned clock hanging on a wall in my house. But if I did I bet the space of silence in between the ‘tik’ and the ‘tok’ would be longer than any other second I’ve ever known. I bet the sound of time passing by would echo through the emptiness of the house. The movement of the well-mannered hands would be more movement than I can manage on some days. But the path those hands take- the cycle of always ending up in the same place, day after day; now that is something I could relate to.
I’ve been told before that I make too much eye contact. I know now that I do so when I am longing to make a deeper connection with people. Maybe its out of selfishness, maybe I want to be able to dish out some of my internal pain onto others. Or maybe it is because connection, as I understand it, may be the solution to majority of our problems. Either way, when talking to someone about something that they are not likely to understand; there are two different responses I may see through their eyes. One is curiosity. That youthful, eager desire to learn more. To try to understand. The other is judgement. Fear for what we do not understand. I am good. You are different than me. Therefore, you must be bad.
Majority of humans are visual learners. That means if we cannot see it, we struggle to understand it. But just like an invisible clock, my pain will tick along.
I separated my collar bone once. And although my mother had never felt that same pain before, she could see that something was wrong as my arm didn’t dangle quite the way it was supposed to. When we were at the hospital and I looked into the young doctors eyes, I could see the curiosity as he had never put a collar bone back into place before. Whether the feeling we experienced was curiosity, fear, or pain; all three of us were relieved when my arm popped back into place and we could see that the problem had been fixed.
Now, remember how I mentioned that my house was empty? Of all the furniture that is in the place, last week my favourite place to rest was on the floor. I don’t know yoga, but a do know a child’s pose. I felt ten years old as I lay curled up as small as I could be, my head held down. I took a few breaks from an all encompassing numbness to sob uncontrollably. I was feeling sorry for myself. Life hasn’t turned out quite the way I thought it would.
At some point, I picked myself up off the floor, dusted myself off, and cleaned myself up. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. But being down there sure paints an ugly picture:
Picture a man. This man. Laying on the floor in the fetal position. Wearing nothing but underwear. Unshaved and unshowered. A pale, snot covered face. Bags under eyes that have nothing but emptiness inside them. Silent, like the seconds in between ticks on an old wooden clock. Only until a single tear escapes as a warning signal for the eruption of sobs to follow. A mans power with a childs cry. I gasp on every inhale and squeal on every exhale. The pain is unbearable.
On first thought, that isn’t a picture I’d like to paint for anyone. Simply because of embarrassment. And shame. I do not want others to look at me with fear or judgement. But it is a picture I am willing to paint if it may help anyone understand a little more. You can hang it up on your wall. It can take up the space in between the seconds. In fact, it’s up there right now. Look around for it.
It’s the pain you can’t see.
…To anyone reading this that knows of a similar pain. Bigger or smaller, better or worse. I want you to know that whoever you are, wherever you are, and however you are; I see you.