Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brewing the words............shhh.............

So, brewing words were the last words I wrote and, and I suppose like yesterday's hard perked coffee, you can drink over brewed words, but they might be too bitter to swallow, too hot - tongue scalding. Words are like that - hard to swallow at times. Words heard. Words spoken or words thought. I have taught an effective speaking class many times and caution students all too often to be cautious about what they share. Keep your boundaries where you want them. Are you sure you can comfortably share "that" information?

"Oh sure. No problem. I'm over that." That often refers to some trauma experienced, and certainly forgotten. Sorry, trauma tends to lock itself in memory whether we are aware or not. Speaking has a way of tapping into those memories, wherever they are stored, so that we re-member - put back on our screen, in view, and feel it all again. We put the member back. A trauma, an experience, is a part of us, a member of us.

There's something about speaking the words though. Writing words on paper is one thing, but to speak engages our being, and the spoken word has a power all its own. Inevitably, when some students begin to speak their thoughts, these type-written or hand crafted shared marks of code become a powerful catalyst, a catharsis and a student finds him or herself in tears, unable to speak, lips and chin trembling.

"I don't know why I'm crying! I was sure I could do this."

Such cathartic moments caution me to remember that what I speak can't be retrieved. What I say may expose me - the real me - the true me.

So much discourse is expressed with little thought, but by way of habit and defense and parroting, and if I keep speaking, then maybe "they" won't notice who I am. One of my favorite lyrics is from a song by David Sereda, "It's hard to hit a moving target." Always talking, filling space with sound, is like that, a moving target or a smoke screen. Let me keep you so occupied and stimulated or bored with a simmering verbal broth, one that reeks of such vapid, life sucking vanity that you are more focused on escape than engaging in worthwhile conversation or just being present with me.

We have our scripts, scripts learned as we grew up because these scripts provided needs and wants, however inappropriate or toxic such scripts may have been or still are - a constant cacophony of sound to the point that silence is often deemed of little merit and certainly not productive. Silence seems to be the territory of cloistered nuns or men in a hermitage or eccentric people or the socially unschooled. Quiet makes many of us so uncomfortable and we have unspoken (interesting turn of words) rules for how long quiet should last: a silent prayer, conversation in a group, wait time of any sort. There are places where quiet is acceptable: waiting rooms, elevators, lines in fast food restaurants, public bathrooms and we even have rules to maintain the quiet such as looking in the same direction or avoiding eye contact. Once the security of escape is at hand, we may speak. 

Lately, I have wondered about my own conversations - usually while I'm having them. Are they actually conversations or is this just a monologue? Does the other person have any interest in what I'm saying or is this person's attention feigned so as to avoid conflict and follow social protocol. What would happen if I didn't say this or that or tell a story or recall an event or complain about the price of farm raised, cage free, no use of hormones or antibiotics, free range, organic chicken?  
I'll let you know..............if I decide to say anything about it.


1 comment:

  1. I recall deliberately practicing and engaging such silence with those I made effort to build relationships for team building purposes. What was learned is that even in the silence, we speak with our eyes or subtle shifts of body position, etc. Humans are not meant for lengthy silence, albeit being able to initiate and sustain allows for harmony. Yet, being able to nestle beside someone and allow our mind to drift without concern for the one we sit, lie, or share space with in that moment, is really a beautiful closeness of sorts...unless of course it is actually truly a distancing. So much to consider on this one. Very nicely written though.