After finishing my first year at university, I am back in my home town with my parents and the sun is in the sky. For many of you that might sound like a peaceful place to be where I have no worries until I journey back off to uni again. For me, that feels like a cold, hard boot to the chest holding me down, keeping me on the ground.
Today I decided that I had to get out of the house and go for a walk. I walked past the two schools I grew up in and into the town that I’ve always known and always felt bittersweet in. On the one hand, it is and always will be the home to my childhood memories and on the other hand, I have always felt like an outsider. The town has always been growing and bustling with new faces, each one hiding their own stories and smiles that I’ll never get to know. I feel like one of those faces too and eventhough I have a job to go back to in the town and I am a part of the community, barely any of those faces know my story.
My walk in the sun was relaxed by the music in my ears; I was listening to The Lumineers and while I desire to be a part of this world with my own story to tell, right now my place is on my own and in my head. Wesley Schultz’ pained voice echoes in my mind all afternoon and each lyric paints its own picture. He sings of his loves and regrets and stories, both his own and other’s to tell. The vivid imagery and emotion keep me concealed in my own bubble while I walk amongst these faces in the streets, young and old. I cannot hear the vibrations from their throats, only the vibrations from the wires and plastic resting in my ears telling me these stories. Perhaps I hide in my music because I can’t help but seperate myself from everybody else and I can tell myself I am different, unique. After all, every single human on this blue marble believes they are unique so why would I think differently?
One thing I did notice while I was walking was that I was holding my breath again. I still cannot decide whether it was because of my anxiety or due to the music drowning out the outside world, knocking me off balance with my other senses. Notoriously, loud music can put some people off balance as your hearing, sight and torso work together to form the vestibular system which is responsible for keeping humans upright. As hearing is linked to that system, perhaps my earphones were distracting me. Maybe I could be better off leaving my earphones at home when I am out walking so that I can breath like a normal person. Or I can carry on disguising myself. I do love acting anyway and hiding myself is like taking on another role; I get to be tall, dark and mysterious and do my own thing… until inevitably you bump into someone that you used to know in a local store and they fumble around with a grin on their face, “hey, it’s Alex right?”
The next two minutes of our lives, we’re both awkwardly trying to impress eachother with how much we have grown up and wear a macho bravado of power and success to feel better about ourselves. Don’t lie, we all do it when we see someone we used to know, an ex, someone that used to bully you or a friend of a sibling. We are all out to impress and with a history like mine, all I have done is survived my first year of university; everything else is pretty depressing and pale in comparison.
So without a beloved voice in my ear from someone I feel that I can relate to like Wesley or a friend, life seems too still, too black and white. My mind is better off occupied with a voice. Vivid imagery and expression through sound brings perspective and colour to my life. That’s why I love movies, I love words and deep conversation. Language is a beautiful thing and we take it for granted; although now I sound like a hippocrite as I listen to music that only I can hear and I am blocking out all other sounds around me.
Oh well, one day I’ll be able to feel comfortable in stillness and silence… until that day you’ll find me surrounded by sound, bringing colour to my life. It sounds to me like nobody is listening to the sound that I make anyway so I will carry on undisturbed.
Much love from your friend,