The ear is such an interesting organ. You have the outer portion which is referred to as the pinna, followed by the external auditory canal (yes, the canal you’re not supposed to stick q-tips down…), my favorite part – the tympanic membrane (also referred to as the ear drum), 3 ossicles, the round window, cochlea, and several nerves that run to the brain.
While we’re on the topic of fascinating organs, the brain is by far the most intricate and exciting of them all. Especially pertaining to the hearing and translating messages, it amazes me how hair cells, hair cells, inside the ear change vibrations into electrical signals which then travels through the nerves.
The brain even likes to play “tricks” on us. For example, when people say “I can still hear that, or I remember hearing that…” It’s really the brain replaying those sounds. It stores sounds just like it stores memories. Maybe it shouldn’t be considered a trick, but sometimes the things you hear leave a lasting effect, regardless of it being good or bad, that ultimately changes the way you think about, relate with, or feel about yourself, someone else, and even the world around you.
I’ve realized a few things within the past couple of days:
1) Everyone is brought into your life for a reason – you cross paths with certain people to teach you a lesson; one of the most important lessons being is that people aren’t always who you expect them to be. Mostly because
2) Everyone has a secret
and even though I, like most people, have my own secrets too, I have realized that
3) I am a [better] listener, but also a storyteller. I learn more about others before I let them learn about me. Even my best friend back home, with whom I Skyped yesterday, doesn’t know every little detail about my life…although I did fill her in for the most part. But I digress.
Listening. It is one of the most fundamental skills taught at a very early age, among other things like reading, writing, and arithmetic. But listening, has its own special agenda. You must listen to follow instructions, comprehend a passage, understand how another person feels, hear the silence and appreciate its peace, and of course, learn how to become a storyteller.
Listen. Feel the sounds roll off your tongue or around in your mind. What do you hear? What do you see? I hear the pitter-patter of rain drops on the concrete outside, a fire truck wailing as it races by, lights flashing sporadically… I hear two eccentric voices, nervous breathing, and anxious hearts finally meeting and composing the most powerful yet gentle harmonic beating. Now think about what you feel? At this late an hour, I feel exhaustion, but not just my own. The late night Gatsby parties have taken a toll on a young man who lays unconscious on a couch, his chest slowly rising and falling. Nearby, his counterparts discuss the wild theme, the ostentatious attire, and the mystery of the host himself as he never did once make an appearance, or at least not that they saw, much less can remember…did they even know him?
I feel peace and concordance. The world wants to rest, although while some are falling into the deep trance or weariness, others are rising to greet the sun, to express their gratitude for their existence, or simply because being up before everyone else allows them to experience this great feeling of the magnificence and softness of silence.
I am a storyteller. If you have not noticed yet, I enjoy writing short entries about things, more specifically moments I witness. Moments that time determines with a blindfold. In other words, these moments may seem fleeting, but last longer than expected. Or on the other hand, they are forever unending, when in reality they lasted no longer than the time it takes to blink.
It is often through these stories that, if you find the deeper meaning, come to realize that these are my feelings, desires, aspirations…I am not one to come out and directly say: “I’m feeling [insert emotion] today…” Unless I am extremely happy, then that would be the only exception.
I hide my feelings beneath the shield of words, words that when they fall together come across as a riddle or confusing statement, when in fact, is just my mind and/or heart’s way of poetically expressing my current emotional status.
Storytellers are also the best secret keepers. As I explained before, we learn about others before they learn about us. It is from their secrets that we build stories, discover feelings of love and compassion, sadness and mourning, fear and anxiousness, and tranquility and blank spaces. These secrets, almost stories if you rather, become a life of their own; it is all in the matter of how you carry them. Do you hold its hand like a child? Never letting go for fear it will run out onto life’s busy crossroads and end up hurting you or potentially someone else? Or risking its release on the battlefield only to unveil your weakness, forcing you to succumb to the newly founded pressures, hardships, and judgmental, maybe even lawful persecutions? Do you carry it on your back? Bearing its burden because by itself it cannot stand, or will not let you advance unless you accept the price you must pay if you were to leave it behind? Or do you let it run wild, blowing in the wind like dandelion fuzz across a grand field? Bits and pieces flying everywhere somehow still under your control, but more accessible to others as now it is fair game in this open space. Do you wear it on your sleeve? Maybe you’ve discreetly exposed your secret, but it takes a special eye to catch it, much less make sense of it.
You would be amazed by how much you would hear if only you removed the headphones from your ears, stopped listening to the condescending voices in and/or outside your head, and just observed the world around you. Embrace the silence, the noise, the emotion, the experience.
So I ask, what do you hear? What’s your story?