Listening Skills

Do you ever feel like you're not being heard? Like no matter what you're feeling, it just doesn't matter because no one's listening? Not being heard is one of humanity's greatest problems. It always has been. That's why everyone is so crazy. Loud car stereos, loud ring tones, yelling, shouting, bad behavior—even Twitter and Facebook. HEAR ME! I MATTER! I HURT! I'M AFRAID!

Sometimes when I sound peeved or critical, I'm really just in pain. I suppose, like most people, I subconsciously think that if I fall back onto anger or argumentativeness I'll be heard. The problem is, these never bring me the response I want, or really need.

Since Deni's death I've felt all alone in my grief. Lynette was in France when I received the call. What I needed was a friend to ask me, "How are you doing? Do you need me to come over? Do you need to talk?" Instead, I went through it all alone and, while my writing demands I have a lot of alone time, I really don't do very well alone in emotional situations. Although I act like I'm okay, I'm not handling this very well at all. Losing Deni is right up there with losing my dad and Frank. I didn't feel heard by my doctor yesterday, either, and that added to the weight that I feel crushing me from the inside. Finally, I just quit trying to be heard. I smile, I nod, I listen, I clam up. I buck up, chide myself, shake it off. It all passes and I forget.

In time, the dust will settle.

In the waiting room yesterday, a sick little boy shrieked and cried in a vain attempt to get his mother's attention. But no matter what he did, no matter how much he tried to physically move her hands and arms to touch him, to move her face to his to make eye contact with her, she remained glued to her cell phone. This went on for a good 10 minutes until the nurse called them in to see the doctor. Then she was cranky and dispassionate, angry that her sick toddler would need her attention and that taking him to see the doctor interfered with her texting and online time. I'm ashamed to say, I understood just how he felt.

This post is not an attempt to get attention. I'm already dealing with things in my own way, and anything anyone might do now, after the fact, would just come off as contrived anyway. I just needed to get my feelings out. To be heard.

And then, of course, the other voice in me speaks up: "Oh, grow up. Nobody feels heard. Get over it. People are going to take offense to your pathetic cry, so f***in' shut up. Whiny baby."

The real problem is that I'm a strong person and have weathered storms that would drown most people. A lot of people think that I simply don't have my weak moments. I might appear completely capable and maybe they think I'd be insulted, or embarrassed if they offered emotional support. I never ask for help, you know, so...

Anyway, I just needed to say these things. During Deni's illness (hell, for the past 20 years of her life) I couldn't say what I really felt, and now it's all crashing down around me.