MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “independence”

Cat-like

https://www.felineliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/girl-cat.jpg

Women are like cats. They like attention but not too much and on their terms, are independent and self-sustainable, move around a room like they own it, like to sleep as much as possible, like to cuddle but only when they want to, and can disappear for hours doing their own thing with no-one really knowing what that is.

Women are like cats in that they can claw their way out of a fight, just as easily as they can start one.

But most of all, they are like cats in the sense that they can reciprocate the love you show them and be the source of your serenity.

Charity was the most cat-like girl Jessop had ever met. He could almost swear to hear her purr when she fell asleep in his arms. She fought for her autonomy and demonstrated that she could handle her affairs on her own. But every now and again she would crawl to his side and press into his chest for a tight hug, something that would make all the troubles she didn’t share just go away.

Jessop liked that she was dynamic and feisty. But he loved it more when she became the vulnerable, chirpy girl he fell in love with. After all, every man adores being the protector of his girl.

But over the past weeks, something happened. It was as if the cat inside her curled up and hid from the world. She wouldn’t talk much, her smile had faded and she barely ate. She wouldn’t respond to his questions, even getting agitated by them and would retreat to her bed, sleeping more than the usual hours.

One morning, Jessop woke up to find a note on his bedstand:

If I show you I need you, take it seriously. It means more than just the words you understand. I do whatever I can to never have to depend on anyone, to avoid showing weakness and fear. But if I tell you I need you by my side, it means I am trusting you to catch me when I fall”.

The note was stained with droplets of tears.

Jessop sprung out of bed, got dressed and left.

He knew where she was. Cats always have a safe place. Somewhere they think no-one knows about, but if you follow them closely they’ll let you find them.

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The opposite limits

opposite arrowsHer name was Patience, which was ironic because she had none. She was the type of person who wanted things done in a specific way, quite swiftly too. It was the consequence of being a perfectionist with a high dose of OCD. And the very fact that she was so meticulous and thorough with whatever she did, meant that she would be irritated by anything of lesser quality. But what was worse of all, was how she reacted to unjustified pressure.

Because often, people work harder when under pressure, as they feel the knife’s edge closing in. But Patience disliked being forced to do something she was going to see to either way. In her mind, it was a useless paradox that was simply unproductive.

So whenever her grandmother forced her to “eat all her peas”, Patience would not touch a single one. The same happened when her parents asked her to “clean up her room”. Or when her supervisor “demanded” a draft copy on his desk “by no later than midday”. She was the person who would eat her peas, clean up her room and get the report done on time, regardless. For this reason, she saw it as demeaning to be pressured so strongly to perform these actions.

As such, her family and colleagues soon realized that just like her name implied, Patience required that very trait, and in fact, the opposite treatment. So, they would tell her she didn’t have to eat all her peas if she didn’t want to. Or that her room seemed clean enough as it was. Or that the report could be handed in as soon as it was done. Left on her own terms, Patience was happy to prove that she could be better than what anyone expected. She gained a sense of satisfaction in that. In proving how disciplined and productive she could be, even without the added pressure. Because she believed that sometimes, that is all we really need. To be allowed to demonstrate your true capabilities without feeling that you are constantly being judged. Sure, it is good and necessary to have some kind of timeline and order in life, but just like everything, there needs to be a limit to it all.

Cat space

© Maria-Christina DoulamiAs soon as it felt the touch, it sprang up as if jolted by an electric current, back curved, hairs on edge and nails ready to slice you up. Cats don’t like to be disturbed when they’re sleeping, or grooming, or pretty much doing anything on their own… which is often.

The cat got up, very irritated and left the room. It would need to find some other hiding space.

But the human wanted to play, or was obviously bored with himself, too insensitive to go find something more productive to do.

He soon discovered the new hiding place.

The cat had rolled up into a fluffy ball and was sound asleep again.

He only meant to pet it, but to a cat, that is more than a simple caress. It is an intrusion of its personal space. It is a violation of its independence, of the fact that it too needs some time alone, away from people. We all share that feeling. The need to submerge yourself into something independent from anything and everyone. To be left alone for a while. Or to be able to deal with something else, something that you chose without needing to explain yourself for it. It is disturbing when others keep wanting to bug you no matter what you do, especially when you don’t feel like including them in on it at the time. Cats know how to respect that. They can tell when you need some company and they’ll come and purr on your lap, providing the warm comfort to soothe you. But they can also recognize when you need to be left alone, to experience your own sentiments in the way you so desire. Humans, however, are not like that.

Cats know how to draw a line. Humans are too selfish to see it.

Cats are always adorable no matter what; no matter if they scratch you or get annoyed with you, a simple meow will always win you back. Humans are far from that.

Aggressively inarticulate

http://associationnow.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/0309_language-800x480.jpgIt’s hard to find the right words. Especially when you’re in a hurry or rushing to get it all off your chest, you end up mumbling something stupidly incoherent that sounds like gibberish making no sense whatsoever. Then you sit and think of all the comebacks you could have said and beat yourself down for not demonstrating more verbal authority when you had the chance.

But is this a millennial problem? That we don’t really know what we’re saying? That we have lost any access to an extensive vocabulary, preferring instead to repeat nonsense words such as “like” and “you know”, filling up our phrases with…well, nothing really. We make it all sound “cool” and “hip”, but in essence, it means absolutely nothing. Rather, it all reflects the uncertainty that has dwindled upon us. And the dilemma of having nothing to say, or simply not knowing how to express it.

A fantastic kind of stand-up comedy presentation makes fun of exactly this, and eloquently argues that “we are the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since, you know, a long time ago”.

We no longer speak with authority, because we have none. We are instead overwhelmed with too many choices and selections; so many that we have ourselves become indecisive and unsure of even the slightest of things.

We have lost touch with the joy of learning independently. Of being able to handle things without computerized assistance. To the extent that some jobs won’t even hire you if you declare that you don’t need the aid of technology to do something, but can handle it very well on your own. Is it so absurd that you yourself possess the knowledge someone else fed into a machine to do it for you? Sure, it helps, but what about the satisfaction of accomplishing things on your own?

Being articulate isn’t just about finding the right words, and knowing how to spell them correctly. It’s about the clout that comes from demonstrating a higher level of intellect and the ability to expand your own horizons.

How to disappear

Boat+and+Aegean SeaWhen she walked past, heads turned and whispers began to be heard louder than buzzing bees. Rebecca was the kind of woman who could not pass by unnoticed. It wasn’t just her beauty and decisive step that caused people to stop and stare. It was the fact that she was famous. And celebrities had that effect, no matter how much they sometimes wished they didn’t.

Rebecca had risen to fame quite suddenly. A quite afternoon reading session at a small town bistrot led to her being noticed by a hotshot producer who was out searching for his new (unknown) muse. She was offered a hefty remuneration and was promised “an experience of a lifetime”. Rebecca was the type of person who grabbed life by the horns and enjoyed every moment of it. So she decided to try it out. What did she have to lose anyway? Little could she expect then, that what she was giving up was life as she knew it.

The film was a huge success and Rebecca became a star overnight. She could no longer go anywhere alone as she could not fight back the stream of paparazzi following her every step. She was given a strict set of guidelines of what she could and could not do, what she should say, even what to wear and where to go. Soon, Rebecca grew tired of this new lifestyle. She wanted her independent existence back and was determined to get her way this time.

During her few days of forcefully obtained summer vacations, Rebecca managed to secure an hour for scuba diving off the coast of the little island where she was staying. She had everything prepared days before. Her oxygen was enough to last a couple of hours. She had stuffed some money inside her diving suit and had already planned the route she would follow so as to “drift away”. And thankfully it all went smoothly. Rebecca went scuba diving on a windy day when the underlying currents were too strong for an inexperienced diver to deal with. She was carried away and her body was never found. Her mysterious disappearance dominated the press for a couple of weeks, but, like so many other cases, was soon forgotten.

That was exactly what Rebecca wanted. To escape from the media spotlight.

She changed her name and thus identity and continued to live a “normal” life somewhere else. Somewhere where people recognized her need for privacy and respected it.

Because sometimes all it takes to truly disappear is the will to actually do so.

Between a couch and a wild place

The leather couch used to squeak whenever he would slide down onto it. It didn’t anymore. You could even feel the small dent in the middle caused by all those people it had accommodated over the years. He could proudly or shamefully (it depends how you saw it) proclaim that he had grown up right there on that brown leather couch. In that down town office that was as modern as could be, with white walls that were repainted every five years and modern, funky furniture that invited the waiting patients and offered the illusion that they would take their troubles away.

Relax”.

That was the first word he heard every time he sat on that couch. It was Mr. Waterman’s job, though, to say so. He needed his patients calm so that they could pour out their soul to him during the next hour and he could attempt to provide some solution, consolation or advice to their problems. And these were many and varied. But over the years he had heard a lot. Just not from one particular patient. This one had proven to be an especially difficult case.

Brandon would simply refuse to speak out, to tell the professional sitting across him what troubled his mind, what made his heart ache, where his eyes wandered when he stared at the horizon out of the window. Whatever the exhortations or appeals Mr Waterman would use, discreetly or not, Brandon did not want to speak. He simply sufficed to say that he had nothing to say. Mr Waterman even tried to entice him with milkshakes and chocolate, but that didn’t work even when he was a young child, let alone now.

After around twenty years of therapy, Brandon still had nothing to say. Yet, he was as confused and tormented inside as he had always been. A storm was still brewing inside of him. It was just silent to the outer world.

Brandon was a child that kept to himself. He became quite the introvert as a young man, although he loved to socialize and go out with friends. But when he returned home, he liked to stay in his room doing his own thing, whatever that was – reading a book, listening to music, surfing the web. And just like he disturbed no one, he himself did not like to be disturbed. His upper class parents believed he was a troubled child. They described him as “emotionally unavailable” and “awkward” and pleaded Mr Waterman to “fix him”. So Brandon grew up in the office of a shrink. Only none of them knew about it.

Mr Waterman watched Brandon grow from a quiet boy into an unsuccessful rebel, into an elegant and well-educated young man. From the few things Brandon had uttered in his office, the professional understood that the boy felt misunderstood, that no one could comprehend what he felt or thought and that is why he preferred to stay silent. So the hours were spent talking about culture, the news, and well, anything other than himself. The latest thing that made Brandon’s eyes gleam with excitement was a photo book of the most amazing places in the world that should be visited. The first-page inscription –a quote by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – was what mostly inspired his heart to sing. But Mr Waterman knew that the storm would finally break out; he could see it the young man’s eyes, his gaze was looking further than meets the eye. It was obvious that he was in search of something out there that was not immediately visible.

And the storm arrived.

It came in the form of a hand-written letter and a tidied-up room.

I run because I no longer want to hide.
Because there is so much more out there to explore.
Because I want to move on with my life and do something substantial.
Because I feel I cannot reach my true potential if I
am locked down here, without facing any real challenges or the endless possibilities that seem to be out there.
Because I want to be somewhere where people know me for me and not because of who I know.
Because I want to be heard without needing to yell and fight.
Because I want to rediscover the joy of Fridays and looking forward to the weekend.
Because I want to live and see places and not just hear about them from other people’s past experiences.
Because I want to find a house that is mine from the start, that I decorate and organise to fit my needs.
Because it is part of growing up and independence is a powerful thing to have.
Because I don’t want to waste time anymore, waiting.
Because I want to finally find and taste at least one happy ending.
I run because I am not running. I simply want to live.

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