Sunday, May 17, 2009

The year of silence

Have you ever had a day where you didn't speak - not even once? During my school years - going WAY back - I was a good student. There were rarely any complaints from my teachers. However, I would frequently receive a "report card comment": Too talkative. Ha, too talkative! I would later joke with my former elementary and middle school teachers about how I was destined to major in communications at college because of my loquacious demeanor.

If they could see me now...

Yesterday, I decided to take a walk around the city (not that unusual, actually. It's kind of been my Saturday routine for a while now - since the weather is nice again). I spent 6 hours of the day, just walking. Wow. Now that I think about it, that's a lot of damn walking -

I went to Bergdorf Goodman to look at exquisite clothes and shoes that I will never be able to afford, I walked down 5th Avenue and watched the foreigners marvel at their newly purchased "American-style clothes" (note: Abercrombie and Fitch). I walked through a street fair on 6th Avenue, watching people barter over paying 5 dollars vs. 7 dollars on cheap, silver jewelry. I stopped and sat at the NY Public Library and watched tourists take pictures with the giant lions and heard girls giggling about being on the same steps that Carrie Bradshaw had emotionally trod after being jilted by the notorious "Mr. Big".

I did some shopping, continued walking and ended up in Madison Square Park. I sat on a bench around the "wishing pond" and watched people pass by. I smiled at strangers, said "Hello" to a few, but that was the extent of my human to human communication for the day. As I sat, a bird in a tree behind me chirped incessantly - I think I was close to her nest, she was warning me to stay away, I guess.

It's humorous, in a way - I so long for conversation that I pick up the sounds of a bird - thinking that she was trying to communicate with me.

I saw two women walk over to the "pond"... they were speaking softly to the water - and as they cried, they threw their pennies into the water. While they embraced each other, I saw emotion so real, it didn't matter that I didn't know their struggle - I felt their pain. I guess we all have similar pains in us. For a moment, their pain was my pain - and after our eyes met, I wondered if they felt my pain too.

As it began to get dark, I decided to head back home. I walked through Gramercy park, marveling over the beautiful architecture of the buildings. I watched the doorman light the lanterns outside of the apartments - jealous of the tenants who have someone that cares about their safety on the sidewalks. Each of them nodded a silent greeting as I passed.

I often complain about my life here in New York City - and I know that I should be appreciative of everything I have. Yet, New York is a city that constantly reminds you of what you could have, if you work hard enough. New York is a city of ambition. Something to work for to strive for. I know that those that live around Gramercy Park got their because of their ambition. Could that be me one day? And I wonder, do I even have what it takes to make it in this city?

On the north side of Gramercy, I stopped to cross the street. As I waited for cars to pass, I looked down at the sidewalk and saw a message written in the cement..
I know the picture is very low resolution, so you might not be able to see the words - but I remember it vividly.

"Narisa, I will love you for a million eternities."

I am sad to report that my first reaction to this message was "ha, what a load of shit." When the realization of my first thought really sunk in, I became very upset. Have I become so cynical that I no longer believe in everlasting love? And I, the eternal optimist, the one who always believed true love exists - could I have been changed? It's not like I have never been exposed to people who truly love each other - I mean, my grandparents have been married 57 years. Can it be possible for anyone to hurt so badly that their faith in love and people is compromised? Because if so, I don't want it to happen to me. But, I am afraid that it has.

I walked the remainder of the way home trying to think positively; to remember that I am here for a reason. And to try to look for kindness and compassion in other people instead of hate and disdain. And, to look for the same in myself.

Back in the fall, I had a lot of people trying to help me cope with the difficulties I was facing. At that time, I wanted nothing more than to be alone and quiet - to think and to reflect on my life and the position I was in. Now, I'm wishing that I had taken the opportunity to talk to people. I guess, in reality, I got exactly what I wanted - to be left alone. Be careful what you wish for.

I believe that, in the future, I will look back on this year ("year" currently meaning September - September) as my "year of silence". Because, yes, I do go entire days without saying a single word. I have even spoken, audibly, to inanimate things in my apartment, seemingly just to make sure my voice was still there. The photo above says "enjoy the silence". It's almost laughable to me. I understand that some people relish in having a period during the day where they can be in silence - to be only with their own thoughts. I would rather share my "period of silence" and take wonderful conversation any time.

I guess everyone has their own way of healing - and if you told me that my mechanism for regaining strength was through silence, I would have disagreed wholeheartedly. But, I think that having these moments of introspect will ultimately help me to discover who I am and what I am capable of. Maybe.. I don't know.

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