can’t even shout
can’t even cry
the Gentlemen are coming by
looking in windows
knocking on doors
they need to take seven
and they might take yours
can’t call to mom
can’t say a word
you’re gonna die screaming
but you won’t be heard
It was a feeling I learned in my slumber long before I came to live it, as if my subconscious was preparing me for the trials I would soon face.
In my youth I ran barefooted, swam bare bottomed, sure as can be, a wild soul free of all fear. And in my dreams I swam through the skies, and breathed in the deep blue seas.
But as I grew, I would call out– and no sound would come.
I shouted and screamed and hollered, but I floated like a ghost through my own dreams, unheard, and ceasing to be seen, as consciousness pulled me back to reality.
By day the sensations were overwhelming, head ringing wired to explode, blood in my nose, vertigo, the lights were deafening… and by night, REM sleep would taunt me, my elusive prey, just out of reach.
This is a feeling that would become all too familiar as autoantibodies block nicotinic acetylcholine transmissions in my neuro-muscular system, severing the link between my mind and body, but at the time, I knew it only as silence.
Silence is not a fleeting moment, a fad, a fashion statement you wear for a night on the town. “Fools, said I, you do not know, silence like a cancer grows.”
In third grade, my school recommended speech therapy sessions. I was fine with pronunciation, but they felt I lacked volume control, and feared I could develop the nasty habit of speaking my mind.
I took a vow of silence in protest, didn’t speak a word for 3 days. They put me in the speech sessions anyway, and I spent most of my adolescent years being constantly reprimanded for speaking too loudly, and just all around speaking too much.
Since I was diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis, nobody has told me I’m too loud, or I speak too much. Now they tell me I’m too quiet, or that it couldn’t hurt to smile… and every time, I remind myself that MG is invisible, they cannot know the pain they are not aware of.
June is Myastenia Gravis Awareness Month
More often than not now, when I do manage to stutter out a few of the words trapped in my racing mind, nobody stops to listen, so I save my smiles for something worth the effort.
In my first year, as my condition rapidly deteriorated, and my friends and even my family could no longer recognize me… I fell into another bout of silence, and barely spoke a word for months.
I fantasized my way through childhood, read through grade school, and wrote through puberty. All the thoughts left unspoken and all my words left unheard, I found them there. Now once again, I have found my words– write where I left them.
This I owe in large part to George R.R. Martin for “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the world of wonders he has spun for me, the likes of which I have not known since I first discovered Joss Whedon with Firefly, Dollhouse, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Before high school and college taught me that there are bad books in this world, I fell in love with Cornelia Funke’s “Inkheart” trilogy, sailed away with Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea” trilogy, pondered mind and body and essence of being with Patricia K. McKillip’s “Riddle Master” trilogy, and smuggled off to infinity and beyond with my towel and “The Increasingly Misnamed Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy” by Douglas Adams.
Now I find myself caught between fact and fiction, in a world where the lines between the two are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In my passion for both logic and fantasy, I have found my words, in a plentiful bounty.
But the thing about silence– only the silent can hear it.
To utter its name, is to shatter its effect.
A peace spoken, is a silence broken.
…and thus concludes this moment of silence.