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today was one of my long days on campus, working until five and then having class until almost nine. in my three hour class we have a fifteen minute break about halfway through and tonight it couldn’t seem to come quick enough. i spent my whole break just laying on the sidewalk outside the back side of the building because it felt like i was suffocating inside from the lack of life in the cinderblock classroom.
it’s interesting how quiet it was when i first stepped outside because the noise of the building was shut out behind me, but as soon as i realized that i was isolated from the rest of the building the sounds of the woods behind the building immediately turned up their volume. maybe that doesn’t seem like the most interesting realization in the world, but the fact that i went all day without noticing how loud the way we live is and then how loud nature really is when you get the chance to listen just sort of floored me. i stayed outside for as long as i possibly could during that break.
the quiet that i found in the noise of the woods reminded me of an aldous huxley quote:
“‘there are quiet places also in the mind’ he said meditatively. ‘but we build bandstands and factories on them. deliberately, to put a stop to the quietness…”
i have to admit, i am absolutely guilty of finding reasons to block out the silence in my life. i’m known for having music playing at all times in my car, when i’m just in my room, even when i’m at my desk at work. part of it is because music is a comfort for me. it is something that i used to turn to whenever things got difficult because there was always that one song that somehow made me feel like i wasn’t the only person to ever go through whatever it was. but that’s not the only reason i am constantly covering up the silence.
i do it because being alone with your thoughts can be extremely intimidating. there are not a lot of people who just like to be alone with their thoughts and just sit and think through things in their life. whenever i do that, i tend to go into hyper-examination mode and start overthinking everything. so instead of dealing with that, i “build bandstands and factories” over those thoughts and distract myself.
don’t take this as me bashing music lovers who have a constant need or desire to have music playing because it is something they love because that is not at all where i’m going with this. i, myself, am one of those passionate music lovers. i just wanted to talk about how much i’ve realized lately that i have learned to fill my life with distractions because as a part of my journey to be more authentic to myself, i’m trying to fix these things.
no lie though, being alone with the deepest parts of yourself can be pretty scary. i’m not a huge fan of thinking about things that are difficult.
so here’s to a resolution to not hide from my thoughts quite so much. here’s to learning to be honest with myself. here’s to that ever-challenging change that we all struggle with. here’s to tonight.
sometimes we’re full, sometimes we’re empty. guess which one it is tonight.