The Need to Get Quiet

Last night, we sat around reading our numerology profiles. Aviva is a 6. I’m a 9. Mani’s an 8. I love this stuff. In fact, in some other life, I think maybe I’m a numerologist and handwriting analyst.

Except there is no other life.

I tried to have another life for a long time. Well, it’s not that I tried to have another life. I just couldn’t figure out how to fit into the one I had.

I think this feeling of not fitting may be universal, but then I wonder how much of it’s a cultural thing and suspect it’s more likely the latter.

There are such mixed messages about this. For all the take of being yourself and inspirational messages like “follow your bliss,” the pressure to conform is so subliminal and coercive you might not even realize it’s being applied. I attribute this largely to consumer culture which is inseparable from whiteness and misogyny.

This is what you are. This is what you can become. This is what you should aspire to. This is what is ugly. This is what is desirable. This is success. This is cheap. This is trash. This is holy. This is what money can do. This is what your body is worth. This is what your you can accomplish. This is what we expect of you. This is the gold standard. This is the glass ceiling. This is the way to eat pray love. This is the way. This way, this way, this way.

It’s noisy up in there, people.

Makes it kind of difficult to see yourself clearly. Where are the mirrors that say: You are beauty. You are powerful. You are capable. You matter. You matter. You matter.

What do you contribute? What makes your heart sing? What do you deserve?

Then these, too, become part of the capitalist machine. Buy something that will help you feel beautiful, powerful, capable, worthy.

Fit in.

Keep up.

Fit in.

Keep up.

Doubt, doubt, doubt. Question yourself at every turn. More more more.

And so we hide. We hide our insecurities. We hide our longing. We hide our rage. We hide our grief. We numb out, lash out, tune out. We forget how to sing, cry, giggle, ask, receive, and offer.

We wonder what we have to offer. We compare and measure and rinse and repeat and go into debt and shame spirals and then nobody sees how hard things are and we feel isolated and everyone is looking down at their phones while they walk.

America is built on this. On making sure we will keep spending, on making sure we know our place among the haves and the have nots, on prizing wealth, and on demonizing poverty.

It’s 6:04am. I need to pour a second cup of coffee. Chalupa woke up before 5:00am to pee and I didn’t even bother trying to get back to sleep. When my kids were little, I would get up early some days. That hour or two before the light came up, before the house become busy with morning, I would be able to rest my hands lightly over the keys, listening for something I could only hope would make itself audible to me.

This voice, the one that is truly mine, the one that is truly yours — what does it sound like? How can I be of service? How can you?

The need to get quiet quickly becomes apparent.

Find a way. We need you.


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