I have lived with earphones in my ears, with my phone plugged into a speaker, gathering lyrics around me like a warm blanket, wrapping myself in their solace and their profundity since Sunday night.
Trying to drown out other words.
Words are ever my currency. My currency in my professional life and my personal life. I am a person of words. A teller of tales. A parser of paragraphs. I waive my hands and I talk, spinning yarn that is composed of thoughts and feelings, anecdotes and the odd flash of insight, raveling them into a garment that I throw around. I use the resulting garment to comfort, to document, to illustrate and to teach.
And for the last 72 hours I have used the lyrics of others to cover me, wrap me in love and care. I have no words of my own.
Everything changed for me at 10pm on Sunday night. I can’t seem to talk about it, not really, not yet. I’ve done some talking in fits and starts, but it seems to result in me breaking down into sobs. Mostly, I communicate for the purposes of work, hiding behind email and technical phrases. I let Mr. California talk on, allow my colleagues to carry the conversation. I stare into the distance, barely coming back to remember to nod at the right times. I stare out windows, at walls, requiring others to prompt me to return to the conversation.
My mind fills with thoughts that do not seem to resolve into words. Perhaps if I could turn those thoughts into words I could get past this. Perhaps if I could turn those thoughts into words, even if they are heavy and cold and unbending words, if I could stammer them out, I could reconcile them.
I tell myself that if I could just find the words and then say them to myself, I could take the pain and the sting out of them. I could get used to their weight and frigidity and their refusal to bend. If I could turn those feelings and fears into words, I could master them. I could ravel them into a garment like I have always done, and I could spin that garment around.
But there isn’t a new garment to be had. There is the same garment, the garment that was always me, the core of who I was and what I believed about the world. It has a hole in it and I can’t fix the hole. I cannot fill the hole. I hold up the garment that I thought was me, and there is this big, ugly hole in it.
And all the words in the world do not change this.