In a dark, quiet part of the world, I sit alone. A cold chill sits heavy in the air. The light of day shifts towards night. In the dusk the light diffuses through the trees and settles, never quite reaching the ground. An ambience of colour, orange, yellow and green, hangs in the air. I sit on the edge of the park bench. Head cast low. Shoulders forward. My eyes stare blankly at my small feet. My hands press together, and then twist on themselves. In the silence I ask the world to look away. I whisper, and then yell, for the world to leave me alone. I have nothing right now. I do not exist in this body. I barely exist in this mind. I bear the brunt of my own disappointment. I wear the shame of my own failure. I sulk in the defeat of my own ego.
The days filter into one another. I exist amongst beings that feel and breathe and ache. Yet, I am capable of nothing. I stay silent. I feel empty. Inside I am hollow, dark and sullen. The echo of my life vibrates. I walk in the emptiness of the life I have created. I follow the motions of the day. I trail the shadows of others. I dread tomorrow. Hope has made way for guilt, fear and a vile taste I can’t shake. In that dark, quiet part of the world I don’t want anyone to wish me a happy birthday. I don’t want messages. I don’t want cards.
As I stand up from the park bench, the dampness in the air catches me by surprise. I wrap my arms a little tighter around my jacket; hold on a little tighter to my scarf. In that dark, quiet part of the world I think. Think about the choices and decisions that have led me to this place. In that dark, quiet part of the world I ask myself: are you listening? And I shake my head, overwhelmed by the answer. The truth is I haven’t been. I haven’t listened to me in a long time. So long, that I don’t remember what I sound like anymore. As I walk away from that park bench, I realise that I must stop coming here so often. I must learn to find another place. A place where it’s not always winter. In a whisper, I ask the world: please take away your words. In a whisper, I need to find mine.
I wrote these words a year ago. A whole year has passed and so much has changed. I am learning to listen to me. The words are coming. The stories are being told. For the first time, even with winter approaching, it does not feel damp or cold. For the first time, I look forward to the change of seasons – knowing that I am going to be ok.
Do you listen to your voice?