Wednesday, 29 August 2007

No wonder I have a paunch

I have been thinking lately, of some of the not so delicious experiences life sends me. Not that I've never thought of them before. But lately I've begun to see just how much more they were, beyond their face value of bad times or difficult challenges or cruel accidents.Recently I lost my voice and was told that I would have to be careful with it for the rest of my life. For someone who works as a clown, with funny voices, song, music, laughter and noise all being essential accessories for my clown character (you can read about her at My Nose Is Blogged, by the way), this was not very happy-making news.So I subsided, silently, into misery for a while. Or perhaps subsided, miserably, into silence for a while - doctor's orders: total voice rest. The enforced silence gave me the opportunity to see what it's like for someone who can't speak. On the bright side, I spent a lot more time than usual, writing and practising the piano, and got loads of laundry and other housework done.The most frustrating part was the way people treated me. Most talked to me as if my I.Q. had suddenly dropped, or shouted their words out as if my ears had given out along with my voice. Some would over-enunciate, imagining that I needed to lip-read. It would have been nice if THEY could lip-read. In the end, it was easier to stay home and be alone.Without a voice, anger suddenly began to feel very very loud. Whenever I got angry, I could physically feel its heat inside me. I had no voice to express it: scribbling down one's indignation on a memo pad just doesn't have the same effect. And so I learned something about something I knew nothing of before; I have often sensed a type of anger in people with disabilities and I think I understand that a bit better now. It's one thing to know something intellectually - "Oh yes, I understand why .. ", but it's so different when you know it with your emotions.That started me thinking of other experiences in my life - I've often been aware that they are "lessons" or "learning experiences", but I never quite thought about this word: EMPATHY.

Each hurt nurtures me.
Little bites of empathy.
Everything tastes good.

So having been in an abusive relationship makes me look at survivors of domestic violence with greater respect and less judgment. And even being sexually abused as a child: would people be turning to Askios the way they do if they were not reassured that I too know their pain?Years ago, I had a little mantra I would repeat to myself when things went wrong, "everything works out for the best". Now I have a haiku that says the same thing.

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