I distinctly remember a time when I was proud of the fact that I could multitask in the noisiest of situations. I would pride myself for being able to read a book while the TV was blaring, my children were playing rambunctiously down the hall, and the dog was barking while chasing the hissing cats.
How was this so? How could I filter all that was going on around me – to read and digest what I was reading?
I think the better question, is why. Why was I doing this? You see, I had become a master at creating and managing noise; in fact the more the better. For years, I would never be alone in silence with my thoughts.
I used noise, as a coping mechanism. If my mind was being bombarded with noise – I wasn’t afraid. Afraid of being found or discovered and therefore, I felt safer. I feared silence – noise was my best friend, my go to, my comfort food – if you will.
Much as someone might use chocolate, ice cream, cake or potato chips to distract one’s self. I used noise.
I’m not sure when or how noise became my coping mechanism. I’m not really sure, if I even knew back then that I used noise as a way to hide.
For decades, the last thing in the world that I wanted was to be alone in silence with my thoughts.
And I was befuddled when I overheard others speak about meditation and silence and how much they loved it, I just couldn’t understand why. I liked Yoga and Pilates up until the instructors would spoil it – with the need for us to be silent. What was this need to be silent about?
Why did we need to go inside and reflect? After all, I was doing my darnedest to keep myself from being alone with my thoughts.
That all changed when I began writing my memoir Frock Off: Living Undisguised, silence became less a threat and more a comforting friend. The more I wrote the more I craved the peace and release silence offered. I found myself seeking ways to get quiet – to just BE.
Initially, it was awkward and uncomfortable, but over time I relished the moments of silence. Just as when we use food to cope, it takes time to shed the pounds we accumulate in protection. It took time to shed my irrational belief that silence was deadly; and to replace it with the understanding that being silent is a gift that heals – allowing time to reconnect with our heart, our purpose and our soul.
Today, I am free of my need to fill the void and live in the understanding that when we stand for what we dream and believe, anything is possible. Thank goodness I did not stay locked in my own jail of fear, of death, shame and guilt? What a loss that would have been. We are not defined by our pasts.