As per request from wonderful friends, I will write my stories and little notes I’ve taken from my experiences.
In highschool, I –for some strange reason– became the Guru of anything pertaining to romance and sex for couples and friends. One of my closest friends, Minecrafter of Aphrodite (we will call him MoA for short) asked me to teach him to kiss since he had just started dating his first girlfriend. It was his sophomore year of highschool and my Junior year, so I took his request. I thought for a while about a way to verbally teach him and came to the conclusion that strawberries would be the best analogy.
See, giving someone step-by-step directions going through how to move their lips, tongue, and cheeks would be a disaster and I’d end up just making a bunch of weird faces at him. I didn’t find this an attractive way to teach or a useful way for him to learn how to handle another person.
I ended up telling him this:
“Imagine you are holding a succulent, juicy, strawberry. You don’t take the strawberry and rip into it with your mouth like an animal, nor do you lick it all over with your tongue and rub its juices all over your face. No, you gingerly press it to your lips and then take it slightly into your mouth between your lips and put pressure down on it. Don’t get complex or you won’t be savoring the taste. Start slow and then if you find out the strawberry isn’t reluctant, move forward. Silent communication.”
Now strawberries are not essentially sexual (like a banana) or romantic (like chocolate), but I think they are perfect for this situation since kissing can be either very emotional or apathic. Kissing is what you make it and what you put into it. It’s a way of communicating your intentions and feelings, or the lack thereof.
The lost art of really listening to people. The secret to it is we communicated with our bodies. Open stances or closed stances, fiddling and looking away, shifting glances, wild gestures or uncomfortable arm crossing. The saying “Actions speak louder than words” is a lot of the time true. That’s why reading body language helps tell us when we are being lied to or how people really feel versus what they are saying. A good listener can see these things. A true listener can start to understand someone better by these things. Seeing how a person responds physically can communicate their insecurities and their confidences, the things they like and dislike, and also whether they are extremely selfish or are relaxed and loving. Someone who really listens can see right through people.
Then sometimes silence (or the lack of action) speaks louder than words. Whether that inaction is someone saying one thing and doing another or being completely passive and not communicating at all.
That’s why I wrote a song called “Silence is death”
I wrote this because the lack of communication is a huge scream in itself. Crying silently, suffering in silence, sighing silently. It’s all a way of showing a burden, communicating pain or indifference. Especially indifference. “The silent treatment” is a way to communicate my pain that doesn’t need words to describe it. Everyone knows what it is. Everyone understands why. It’s because sometimes the amount of weight I’m carrying inside me is boiling under my skin and its turning my eyes red and soggy, its breaking me so much I can’t even speak. Sometimes the silence is necessary because I’m screaming so loud on the inside I can’t bear to speak anymore. Or maybe its the opposite, maybe it’s because the world and people around me are so loud I can’t handle the noise anymore so I stopped trying and shut down. Maybe I’m too tired of this sick mess to speak anymore. Words fall short of the things I want to say.
This is why people say things like this:
“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.”
― Andrew Harvey
Sometimes its really hard to be bursting at the seems like this always. I take a chill pill and reseed into a happy numbness, which sometimes solves the problems and I start to see that I don’t have to hate and hurt from all the noise around me and inside me. I can let it out and in and breathe and be one with it or separate my self from it. Nothing is permanent. But I do wear my anger on my heart and not on my skin. I wear it on the inside where it festers and starts to boil again and I start my silence.
There’s a difference between serenity and being numb.
Communicating like this isn’t all there is though. Sometimes small talk and social interaction in the trivial pursuits can be a fueling ground for socialites or a draining all-consuming pit of terror. Sometimes I love to gossip and joke with my friends, and other times it tears me apart inside to hear idiotic and pointless words. I get so upset I give a silent tantrum and stop speaking to people.
‘Cause I’ve seen more spine on jellyfish
I’ve seen more guts in eleven year old kids
Have another drink and drive yourself home
I hope there’s ice on all the roads
And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt
And again when your head goes through the windshield
Is that what you call tact?
You’re as subtle as a brick
In the small of my back
So let’s end this call and end this conversation
Saw this quote on the Human’s of New York facebook page and couldn’t help but want to share it.
Death is one of the most under spoken of natural event in everyone’s existence. It’s very difficult to confront.
“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”
A young man, about 16 living in the suburbs of Union, New Jersey in the spring of 1969. His father’s a veteran from the great war, his mom appearing to be nothing but a pious Catholic house wife, and his friends an entirely uncharted world of pirates and seafaring adventures. In reality, he’s just another sophomore in highschool who is crushing on his next door neighbor, Annette, and journaling about his foibles.
I jumped out of my window onto what I thought was the soft grass, my knees cracked as I bent them, landing with a thud. I shook it off and walked around the line of bushes between her house and mine. She didn’t attack me in school today.
I looked around the bushes to her yard.
“Shh you’ll wake my ma!” I said and I started walking around the bush crouched down so my head couldn’t be seen.
“Oh shush,” Roozbeh said while he and Luke popped their heads from out of the trash barrels.
“You stink,” I said.
Luke wore a bandana over his nose and mouth. “Affirmative,” he saluted lazily.
“Cap’m, I spy ye a fair maiden, yonder window, twelve o’clock!” Roozbeh whispered.
We stood at attention, I huddled near the bushes behind the barrels.
“It’s Annette!” I said without whispering.
“Get down dammit!” Roozbeh pushed on my head.
She looked both ways out her window, then she look down. A rope ladder swung out from the bottom of the window and her head disappeared.
“She coming down!” Luke said.
“Cap’m! Retreat!” Roozbeh gestured with official battle hand warning to get out of the barrels.
Her legs popped out the window and timidly took the rungs. Then her full body. She was wearing overalls.
Roozbeh and Luke gave up on me and ran to my yard but I stood very still. This was it.
“Annette!” I said.
She jolted, the rungs of the rope ladder thudding against the house loudly.
“Agh, no.” I pulled on my hair and scratched.
She set eyes on me and run off the ladder, slapping me across the face. “Damnit James Madison, do you have any idea what a light sleeper my Pa is? Do you? And what the hell are you doing in my yard?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I just – I just- I was out ya know – and then I saw you- so I waited. Why are you wearing-”
She put her warm hand over my mouth. “Shush, come this way.”
Annette lead me by the hand to her back yard which lay at the edge of the woods in the corner adjacent to my yard. A small gap where her fence of bushes thinned and the boards in my wooden fence were rotted off highlighted a little door between our yards I had never known about before.
“In here,” she said and slid into the shack.
She pulled me with her and we stood in the dark cramped space. I bumped my calf against her dad’s ride on tractor and it scraped the skin under my trousers.
She turned a camping light on and closed the shutters.
“Hi,” Annette said, she leaned up against the workbench and crossed her arms.
“Hi,” I said, and dug my hands into my pockets.
“Why were you looking at my window?” she said.
“Why were you climbing out of your window?”
“Because I like going out at night to—to be out,” she huffed.
“Because!” I got a scowl from her. “Now answer my question.”
“I was with Roozbeh and Luke, and they were hiding in your trash barrels waiting for me.” Oh sweet Jesus, that sounded horrible.
“Roozbeh Badie and Luke Winger were hiding in my trash barrels? What the hell were they doing?”
“Well we play this sort of game where Luke’s the captain and—“
“You were playing a game in my trash barrels? You have got to be….” She let out a sigh. “Whatever, keep going.” She pushed some loose hair away from her face. “Uh, you’re staring,” she said eyebrows raised.
“Oh, yeah, sorry, um spaced out. So Luke’s the captain, Roozbeh is Chief mate and I’m Third mate. And we were on a mission, I think, can’t remember why.”
“What’s Third mate?” Annette asked and looked at her dads tractor between us.
“It’s the guy that does the navigation stuff on a boat,” I said. “He’s the one that gets to drive the ship and command people where to pull the rigging when he has to do a maneuver in the water.”
“Oh right, cool.”
“Actually, I’m pretty sure we have to complete our mission, you wanna come?” Jesus Christ she is gonna think I’m like a fifth grader. I can’t believe-
“Sure,” she said and started around the tractor towards me.
“Oh. Okay,” I turned and we bumped into each other trying to get out of the shack.
“Sorry!” I said as I accidently pushed her into the other door, rattling it.
“Ouch, you jerk.” She pushed my shoulder and I hit the other door and tumbled outside. I got up and brushed myself off.
“I really am-”
“Shut up, now where’s your ship?”
I straightened and soluted without thinking. “Aye aye, this way.”
She looked at me sideways and shook her head, but followed me.
We walked across the street and through the neighbor’s yard over to the other street parallel to ours, entering into Luke’s back yard. His tree house had a small light coming out of it.
“Up there,” I said and pointed to the ladder.
She started climbing. After she went about 4 rungs up, I started to climb behind her.
“A hoy!” Luke said out one of the windows. He gasped. “You brought her!”
“It’s bad luck to have a woman on board!” Roozbeh popped out of the opposite window.
“Too bad,” she said “I’m already up.” She brushed off her overalls and went through the door into the small house. I went in behind her.
She sat on the bench in the corner and I took my chair around the stool we used as a table.
“Now gentlemen… and lady, this is a trust test.” Luke had a paper napkin sticking out of his left nostril. “I’m going to light this, and the first one to blow it out before the fire catches my nose will be the new captain!”
Roozbeh and I sat on the edges of our seats but Annette burst into laughter on her bench. “You have got to be kidding me. You are gonna burn your face off!” she said.
“Not if Roozbeh and Jmad do their part!”
“What if they don’t?” she said.
“They will, one of them will,” he adjusted the paper napkin in his nose.
“What if I do it?”
“You’re a girl! You can’t be captain,” Luke said. “Only men can be captain.”
“We’ll see.” She sat back, and waited. “You gonna light it or am I gonna have to?”
“I got it, I got it.” Luke flicked the lighter, but his hand shook. He flicked the lighter on the napkin, it caught fast and started burning. “I’m not finking out, promise.”
I sat still, waiting to grab it. Did I want to be captain? Third mate isn’t exactly a powerful position on a boat, but a third mate who has mutinied is a dangerous person on a ship.
“Grab it! Someone!” Luke was sweating, and clenching his fists.
Roozbeh lunged, but I took my chance too and both of us butted heads and toppled over the stool between us.
Luke shrieked and Annette pulled out the flamey napkin and stomped on it. “There, I’m captain, now go get some ice and vaseline Luke. You’re all show and no go,” she said and went for the door.
“You can’t be captain!!” Luke wailed and cradled his burnt nose.
“Beat feet sucker!” Roozbeh yelled. He looked back at Luke and saw through his fingers at the burn. “Damn that napkin really laid a patch on you man.”
“Stop your lip flapping and go ape on that girl!” Luke yelled.
“Sorry man, but I ain’t wasting my time on that paper shaker,” Roozbeh said.
I looked at the ashes on the floor. “I’ll find her.”
I climbed down the ladder and saw her run through the woods. I ran after her and easily caught up.“Hey, stop!” I said. She didn’t.
“I’m not on the hook for this one, Jmad, now go home.”
“I am going, we both have to go this way.”
She slowed down then, breathing heavily. I steadied myself to her speed and we walked in silence till we were in front of our houses.
“I’ll see you at school,” I said.
She looked at me in a way my sister would when she thought I did something stupid. “Goodnight James Madison.”
“Goodnight Annette Parker.”
A Teenager’s Guide to Relieving Stress:
#1. Find the closest person to blab too
The more you talk the better it will be right? Get it out of your system? Well after talking to just about every single friend of yours, family members, random strangers, and maybe even the waitress that serves you lunch at your favorite restaurant everyday, you still dont feel any better.
#2. Try talking to a Professional
Hey, it works in most the movies, why not IRL (in real life) ?
#3. Decide you probably need to blow off some steam physically instead.
Run around like a child in park. Jump off a small bridge. Get a adrenaline high by taking a run around the block. Play weird games. Still feel dissatisfied.
#4. Grab a random make out buddy.
You thought this was the best idea yet.
You’re random make-out buddy happens to also have a significant other they forgot to mention. Feel like shit for 2 weeks.
#6. Video game + Monster + Cheetos Binge
You’re young, you’re body can handle it, just not the overwhelming pounds of homework, family drama, and friend catastrophes. When life gets tough, the teenagers get procrastinating.
#7. Decide to make changes about yourself.
Make quirky habits, like always folding your money in your wallet a certain way, or rearranging every salt and pepper shaker you come into contact with in the perfect way on that table.
#8. Pretend like everything’s alright
Everyone else is doing it.
#9. Try something new
Maybe drugs, maybe smoking, maybe a new video game, or maybe a scary combination of Greek yogurt and old crystallized honey bits with graham crackers.
#10. Try to forget you were stressed
Tell yourself many lies. Like : “I am the happiest person on the planet!” , “I love this song!” , “Best week ever!” , “School isn’t so bad.” , “I bet my mom isn’t the only women who will love me.”, “Someday I’ll find my prince.”
#11. Wonder why you started this
Writing stuff on crumpled lined paper titled “Dear diary” isn’t making life easier. Re-watching old ’80’s films is also probably going to give you some type of eye cancer or something bad. Definitely something bad.
#12. Do random Google searches.
This will most definitely make you think about other things. But don’t visit WebM.D., You’ll probably end up being a hypochondriac and then in turn develop extreme germophobia, which will inevitably lead to agoraphobia, says WebM.D. anyways.
#13. Fuck it.
Give up the search and buckle down. Or not.