MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

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The quiet friend

©MCD_Bruno

He sat there quietly. Always on the same spot on the couch where she paused for a rest from her tiring and incessant schedule.

She lightened up every time she saw him. And when they hugged, she would inhale deeply letting out a faint sigh with that exhale.

He had a way of easing the tension she inexplicably carried on her shoulders. She burdened herself with too much stress for her own good. Even he could see it.

But it was enough for him that he made her smile. And that, even if just for a little while, she would let her troubles slip away from her mind. For those few seconds she could empty her head. She found comfort in him and was grateful for his presence.

Even if he didn’t say much. Or anything at all for that matter.

It would be a little strange if he did.

After all, he was just a fluffy teddy bear.

But the person who gifted it to her knew he was much more.

If you left…

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You told me that if you left, it would be because something made you; some higher force pushed you through the door. But I don’t believe that is possible. I am convinced that the actions we do are the result of our conscious decisions. We are the ones controlling what we do. Our behaviour stems from ourselves, our thoughts and our inner peace.

You told me you were suffocating. That you couldn’t continue like this. I held you in my arms and assured you I was here, I wasn’t going to go anywhere, we would get through things together and everything would be alright.

You seemed like you believed me. Then. When you fell asleep in my arms and you woke up the next day telling me that it was the calmest sleep you had had for days.

You smiled and the whole room lit up.

I missed your smile. I still do. That cheeky, childish smile that transferred the glow into your eyes. You were genuinely happy with me once. We were genuinely happy.

I always thought ‘together’ would be our happy ending. I never saw anything different. In the planning I made for future endeavours, everything in my life included you. I thought the same was true for you. How could I have been so wrong?

And then you just left. And you took the pieces you broke my heart into with you. I never understood how people could behave so coldly. Perhaps because I could never bring myself to act as such.

And then I sat there blaming myself. I couldn’t understand if the problem was not doing enough for you or rather caring too much.

A few days passed and you returned as if nothing happened. As if you hadn’t broken me. You never told me what happened inside you, if anything. What had occurred during that time. What you were thinking of now.

But I can’t return to how things were. Because it is not the same anymore. Now I’m the one who feels suffocated by my own thoughts, my own unanswered questions. And you still refuse to say anything.

I never understood how someone could just get up and leave. Until now. Sometimes to save yourself you need to let go of everything dragging you down. I gave you my heart and you shred it to pieces. I can no longer feign that did not happen.

I’d never thought I would be the one to leave. But there seems to be nothing else left for me to do.

He left the note on her nightstand and walked out the door.

Emotions in action

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Don’t believe those who tell you they love you. Believe those who show you they do.

Because as cliché as it is, actions do speak louder than words. And we are fallible creatures, who need proof.

We need to feel loved and cared for. That we have the attention we seek and the respect and acknowledgement we strive for.

But we need to see it too, to believe it.

Otherwise, we feed our insecurities. We begin to doubt everything and everyone, even ourselves. And that is where the trouble begins.

Because insecurities deprive us of joy, as they become tension, irritation and anger. And the latter is simply an externalisation of the fear that we are not loved enough.

Leading to the vicious circle binding care with the actions to prove it.

If you don’t state what you want, you may never receive it. It’s sort of the same thing. If you don’t show what you feel, you may not have it reciprocated. And in the end, you’re the one at loss.

Obscure emotional shadows

Emotions are like an invisible shadow that clings on to us ever since we come into this world. They serve to help us taste life to the maximum. They may enlighten us or confuse us according to the situation. But in essence, they are what makes us stand out from every other species. The fact that we can feel things, sometimes (too) deeply.

We talk of and experience emotional outbursts, because sometimes our feelings get too difficult to bear.

And we often get carried away by what we feel, that sense of excitement, the adrenaline rush, the fear even. We let our emotions dictate our actions and sometimes this results in complicated situations.

So, we are prompted to follow our heart – our feelings – but to take our brain with us. To be smart in the things we pursue and we feel we desire, but to make our decisions wisely, logically and rationally. It’s not always easy to think before you act. Because sometimes your heart pulls you faster and stronger than your mind can convince you to think. It takes you to places you shouldn’t be, places that are as exciting as perilous, ones that can cause both happiness and pain. Your heart can easily drag you into situations you cannot return from, no matter how much your brain may try to take over afterwards.

Emotions are our strongest asset but also our greatest curse.

The actions we do voluntarily

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Every time you bend down to pat a cat or a dog, to take care of a wounded bird or an animal that needs you, you grow taller as a person”.

Daisy’s uncle was a vet and he had witnessed many examples of human cruelty. Behaviour he could neither explain nor understand.

He used it to teach his niece about life in general.

People always say a lot. They announce promises they don’t intend on keeping. And make statements simply for pleasing others. They tend to speak what they believe others want to hear”.

As Daisy grew older, she understood more of what he was trying to say.

It is people’s actions you should look for. How they behave when they have nothing to gain in return, what they do to keep you happy. It’s their actions that define who they are. Not the words they say”.

With the onset of her first heartbreak, Daisy realised that it is the simplest of things that can touch a person’s heart. Just like the attention you give to a stray, people too want to feel loved and cared for.

It is the “good mornings” and “good nights” you exchange with someone you love regardless the distance that is between you.

The fact that you tell them how much you miss them and all of a sudden they appear shortly after unannounced at your door so you won’t feel that pain any more.

It’s that hug you so long for after a difficult day when you feel broken and insecure.

It’s the things you do without being asked that show how much you really care.

Her uncle used to say, “In every relationship, be it with humans or with animals, the magic only lasts as long as you maintain the effort and believe in it. Indeed, ‘forever’ only has the duration you assign to it.

Life is the moments we spend being happy. Everything else is just a waste of time”.

What you see is often what you actually get

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“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” – it’s Newton’s Third Law of Physics. Or put plainly: whatever you give out will come back to you.

Wouldn’t that be great if it were true? If all the attention, effort and emotion you put into your relationships, your work, your life in general, was reciprocated? If the people you were there for when they needed you, would also run to your side when difficulty hit your door?

We don’t always get what we deserve. No matter how much we try or appeal for it. Some things are beyond our control, and although it’s hard to swallow, we need to accept that we are not always responsible for the way people behave or even treat us. It’s a matter of character, of mentality, of experiences, of upbringing; of a series of factors we have no effect over.

What we can do is stop putting ourselves out there for people who won’t do the same for us. Because, usually, when people show you they don’t care, it’s because they probably really don’t. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and regain the strength you had before all the emotion got to your brain. Sometimes we need to behave more rationally than emotionally for our own mental health and wellbeing.

You reach a point at times when you realise there is no use in putting others before your own self. In the end, you’re most likely the only one who does.  And you simply end up losing yourself in the process.

Hidden thoughts

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We all have hidden interpretations of things others don’t see. And it is usually the ones that cause a conflict. Because people find it hard to see with others’ eyes. We can’t put ourselves in others’ shoes, nor interpret things their way.

There are symbolic meanings to everyday behaviours. Meanings that are affected by our own perceptions of the world, by our prejudices, by our mentality, by the way we were raised, by the things we read, by our own experiences and thoughts.

It is these very perceptions that give rise to our hidden thoughts. They may be misinterpretations of certain incidents. But they become so rooted in our minds that to us they are established as the reality we see.

We refuse to see a different perspective, an alternative view, because it seems illogical, irrational, in total conflict to our own. And in essence, we are too stubborn, head-strong and selfish to do something that requires empathy on our part. It requires setting aside our own beliefs to comprehend what makes others react or act in certain ways.

Such absolute perceptions and hidden thoughts make our relationships dysfunctional. They cause us to become defensive even hostile. But worse of all, they lead to disappointment when we realise that our expectations are not met.

The mind is like a parachute: it only works when it is open.

The mind is everything; everything is in the mind

Boat-Calm-waterIt’s a curious thing that happens. Just when you think that things begin to fall in place and you are on the verge of finally finding some peace and much-needed tranquillity, something appears that messes with your mind. It makes you start over-thinking everything. Questioning your actions, rethinking your decisions and worrying about every single thing you do.

The mind is a terrible thing. Deeply powerful too. For the thoughts in your head affect every part of your being, from your mood to your behaviour to the things you decide (not) to do.

We are so often called to fill our heads with positive thoughts, as this is what will inspire our lives to change. The thoughts in our head aren’t always correct. But they overwhelm us to the point where we start creating problems that didn’t exist. We’re not supposed to always believe those random and miscellaneous voices that haunt our heads. Especially the negative ones. But some things are easier said than done.

“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down”.

What to do in a blackout

http://www.greentechmedia.com/content/images/articles/blackout_1.jpgThere you are, enjoying a steaming hot shower after a freezing cold day. You take your time, reveling in the warm water running down your shoulders, allowing you to relax and feel rejuvenated after a tiring day. A flicker of light gets you worried for an instance, but you decided to think nothing of it. And just when you lift your foot to get out, the lights go out and you find yourself in a total blackout. You can see absolutely nothing, so it is good you already know your way around. But what do you do?

Firstly, you need to put something around you, if only to soak up the water dripping from you. Then you need to find light of some sort – be it candles, the computer screen (for as long as the battery lasts), or even a torch on your smartphone (see, it is smart after all).

Voices are heard in the corridor, because it is not just your flat that lies in darkness, but the entire building. You half-open the window shutter to witness that the entire block is out of power. This is interesting.

It might take a while to get back the technology you are so accustomed to, so what do you do? You mainly appreciate the silence, acknowledging how much noise electricity actually makes – well, you did have the fridge, computer, television, radio, heater, and tea kettle on.

Then you begin to wonder what would people do without electricity? Sure, you still have your computer and phone working, but for how long? And there is no internet, so basically you are cut-off from that form of communication.

Are you dressed yet? You need to keep warm.

There are noises outside, running up and down the stairs. At least, someone is trying to fix the problem.

You head to the kitchen for a snack. There is no use staying hungry all through this ordeal. Find something healthy, like wholemeal chips. That will keep you busy while waiting in the dark.

You hope the power will return before the battery of your savior-machines bails on you.

And all of a sudden, there is light! You can hear the fridge sounds return, the TV turning back on, the modem signaling it’s on, the computer plugging in, the radio singing, the heater warming up again. You rejoice with the “return to civilization”. You exhale a sigh of relief, as your boredom ends.

But it is short-lived, as the blackout revisits. Apparently, the problem was not fixed.

So you sit and wait, until the power eventually returns for good this time. And as you watch the candle light casts its shadows in the dark, all you can do is acknowledge how addicted we have become to things we take for granted. Things that we can now not live without. Things that may help us, but at the same time have converted us into technology-junkies vulnerable to any situation that does not involve their use. Because, be honest, how many of you took a photo during a blackout to post once the power is back on?

 

N.B. Based on a true incident, Athens, Greece, 30 November 2015 (apart from the blackout selfie).

The impulse of an act

wooden bridge nightWhat happened last night?” Vivienne rubbed her eyes as she awakened in a jail cell. Her best friend was sitting right next to her. She had clearly been awake much longer; perhaps she had not even slept at all.

You don’t remember?” Charlotte stared at her wide-eyed. She seemed furious. A bit puzzled too. And quite stressed.

Don’t you remember anything about last night? Nothing? At all?” the panic in her voice was now evident.

Vivienne was still trying to wake up. The litres of alcohol she had consumed the night before were now catching up with her, causing an invisible hammer to pound on her head. She held her head up and calmly responded, “not a thing”. “What did we do?” her curiosity was pure and naïve. It was as if she was asking why the neighbor was piling boxes in his yard. As this did not affect her. As though she did not just spend the night in prison.

Charlotte was furious. And the more angry she got, the more Vivienne wanted to know what exactly happened the night before. She felt as if she was watching her favourite TV series and it had been cut-off at a cliffhanger scene.

The last thing I remember is drinking shots at that bar by the river. Everything is a blank after that. What happened? Did we do something bad?

No honey, we were brought to prison for our own safety”. Charlotte was a master in sarcasm. And she performed best at moments when her rage overwhelmed her.

Sweetie, you got hammered last night. You literally drank a bottle of wine on your own at Spencer’s house, then when we went for Mexican you had half a pitcher of Margaritas, and it was you who insisted we go for more drinks after that. We conceded mainly because you were so upset after seeing Weston again after so long. So we went to that bar by the river that you remember. And we said we’d have one drink. But the waiter took a liking on us – probably you, that is – you were so… friendly and cheerful with everyone; it was bound to get misunderstood.

It’s not my fault I get overly excited when I drink!

Charlotte raised her eyebrows at her. “So, what happened?” Vivienne felt she was listening to a story, not a recount of what she had done the previous night.

We had three rounds of shots and you had another couple of glasses of vodka. You started to get dizzy so the guys suggested we leave and get you out to the fresh air. That is when we went to the bridge and you saw the wooden boat right under it…

Oh no…” Vivienne knew where this was going. She knew herself too well. And her drunk self was even worse. Or rather, more unpredictable and impulsive than her normal self could ever be.

What did I make you guys do?” she questioned in full embarrassment.

You ran down and literally stole the boat for a moonlight stroll. We had to get in too, to control you. But you started feeling woozy and rocked the boat, overturning us all in the freezing river. It was your screaming that brought the police.

And they arrested us for that?” Apparently, it was not a good enough reason.

Oh no, sweetie. They arrested us because you threw up on one of the police officers and then slapped the face off the other one because you hallucinated into thinking it was Weston. That’s what we got arrested for.

But why are you here then?

Because I’m so stupid to care so much for you, I didn’t want to leave you alone in this state of yours. Who knows who else you would molest.

So, I wasn’t left alone at all after that?

Well, just for a couple of minutes when I went to call Justin. He’s bound to come bail us out any minute now. We’ve already been here for six hours.”

OK. So in those few minutes, I didn’t…you know… do anything else, did I?” Vivienne was genuinely frightened. It is scary not remembering part of your life and the actions you may have taken during that time. Especially if they will affect your present or future.

I sure hope not.” Charlotte knew her friend too well, but loved her the same nonetheless.

Their discussion was interrupted by a prison guard coming to let them out.

Is Justin here?” asked Charlotte.

No,” the guard replied. “I made some calls.

Why?” asked Vivienne surprised.

You said you’d only go out with me if you weren’t in here, didn’t you? And I do think we would match. Don’t let my job fool you, I told you I am a trained lawyer. I just can’t get a decent job just yet”.

Vivienne gulped. Her face was heating up and her stomach was churning the previous night’s alcohol.

Charlotte laughed. At least the lawyer-turned-prison-guard was cute. He was young, tall, handsome and athletic. He couldn’t be that bad.

A few days later Vivienne did go on that date with the prison guard, whose name was Leo, by the way. She was blown away at how different he was outside the prison. And so was he. She was careful not to drink too much this time. But she was equally cheerful. It was the excitement of realising that sometimes it is on an impulse that your true desires are revealed and you are pushed into taking the actions that otherwise you would talk yourself out of.

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