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It's just noise...



Hey, all!  Hoping this finds everyone in good health...mental and otherwise!  As for me, I'm still...well...me. I dare not say for sure that I'm in good mental health because that, as always, remains a matter of opinion. :)  

So...spring has finally sprung where I live...where there were gnarled, menacing tree branches, there are now lovely cherry blossom trees in bloom, colorful leaves growing, grass and flowers sprouting.  Rising temperatures are also lifting my spirits - although we've had more than enough rain, it's still nice to be free of the arctic nightmare that was this past winter.  I'm more motivated to go outside - this week, we're having a little work done in our backyard.  Next week, I'll be attempting to decorate.  The Son's graduation barbecue has been set for five weeks from now and I'm motivated to make our back yard beautiful.  The cherry blossom tree I want of my own is likely going to be next year's project; making the yard presentable is going to keep me busy enough for the next few weeks.

Lost a little bit less than one pound,  bringing my total to 26.1.  Slowly but surely, I'll get there.  My water intake hasn't been what it should.  Will work on that this week.

But, anyway...enough of the small talk... 

Lately, I've been struggling with sleep, again. I thought I had it figured out, but I apparently do not.

Tylenol PM has been deemed ineffective - two nights this past week, I took two and waited, waited and WAITED.  Sleep remained elusive, even though I had managed to cover every single little annoying light in the room.  I tossed and turned for at least another two or three hours before I finally fell asleep - an hour before the alarm roused me to get the kids up and off to school.

I think I know what the problem is.  It's not until I'm trying to fall asleep at night that my brain (which has been inadequately programmed to accept SLEEP as an acceptable and normal way of life) decides that it's time to think about things that I don't necessarily have answers for.  At two or three in the morning, no less.  I'll be tossing and turning, intent on replenishing on my energy and strength and my brain goes something like this: "Pssst.  Hey, Capulet.  D'ya remember the kitchen drawer you meant to re-arrange and organize?  Well, it's getting fuller because you've been neglecting it for weeks.  How much longer do you think it'll be before you won't be able to open it?  And when you finally DO get to it, the knob you pull to open the drawer is loose.  You're going to need a Phillips screwdriver to tighten it.  The screwdriver is actually IN that drawer, too, so you don't have to look far.  You planned for that, actually.  And then when you're done with that knob, you're going to need to tighten at least a dozen other knobs throughout the kitchen and bathroom cabinets..."

So, there you have it...there's me...at three o'clock in the fucking morning, there I am with the screwdriver, because my brain won't shut the fuck up about the knobs.  You'd also think - okay, all thirteen knobs tightened, am I going to be able to sleep now?  No.  Because then it starts with the next thing.  It's like my brain queues thoughts - things I push away when I have all the time in the world during the damn day, and it saves them for when I'm supposed to be sleeping.  But I think I'm a sleep superhero - I've mentioned previously that this was something I've been used to since I was in my late teens.  Sure, the day after, I'm a zombie and the night after, I USUALLY crash accompanying a NyQuil swig.

So, a couple nights ago...I had a pounding headache.  Took a Tylenol PM - (and here's further proof that it simply doesn't work...I either need to take three or four or find something stronger) and headed to bed.  Few minutes in, there's the voice of my brain.  

"Hey.  Hey.  Never mind sleep.  Tell me, Capulet, why do you think you don't like music?"

I punch my pillow.  Oh, my God.  All I want is to SLEEP!  Shut up, brain.  SHUT UP!  I attempt to ignore the voice.  I think of other things.  I think of my beautiful nieces and my handsome nephew.  My cats.  My upcoming house projects.  The parties I'm trying to plan for birthdays, graduations, other marvelous life moments.  I try to "start" a dream...hopefully I'll drift off and finish it.  No such luck that night, though.

"You're not going to sleep until you explain to yourself why you hate music.  Come on.  It's time to think about this and nothing else, because you're NOT going to be able to sleep until you do..."  I want to say Will Ferrell is the voice of my disobedient brain - simply because I can't stand him and find him annoying.  Very convenient, isn't it, to have him narrate my impromptu middle-of-the-night thoughts?

So, I get to thinking about my dislike of music.  It's not because I want to or choose to, it's because Will Ferrell won't let me sleep.

I always thought that it mostly has to do with the fact that I can't hear it.  I can feel the beat, I can hear, through the help of my hearing aid, the sounds.  But I cannot string together the words to a song.  I can't tell if it's a pleasant sound or dissonant.  I can't enjoy it, even in the smallest way.  I don't understand when someone tells me that music is more than hearing; it's an experience.  I don't get it when my fiancee rushes over to me after watching 'The Voice' with goosebumps on her arms and she says, "Oh, my god...their singing...it sent chills through my body...look!  See the goosebumps?"  And sure enough, yes, there they are.  I don't get it when I see people in the gym or jogging in the park with headphones in.  I mean, I guess I CAN understand - for these people, it serves as a distraction...when you can focus on your favorite songs while you work out, the exercise doesn't seem so tedious.  Maybe that's why I fail miserably whenever I DO bring my ass over to the gym. 

I see people with song lyrics tattooed on them.  Lyrics I normally cannot identify the song they came from or who the artist is.   

My mother loves music and enjoys Broadway...she goes to shows often with her (retired) friends.  My father, when he's not swearing at the Mets and their recent lack of baseball talent, loves music and occasionally 'jams' with his (also retired) friends - he plays the organ and the saxophone, for fun.  He's also known to enjoy American Idol when it's on.  My sister (the one who's a bit of a snoot) has been performing since she was a small child and much to all of our relief, she's now just had her second child and is just now focusing on motherhood, something she should have started doing five years ago when my nephew was born.  

My fiancee loves playing her favorite music in the car or in the bedroom...she will attempt to tell me about certain songs, certain performers, and as much as I try, I can't bring myself to care.  In fact, J and I have an inside joke.  Whenever I see people sing, I have to admit to being amused by it and often referring to it as 'people screaming.'   Because, to me, it looks like they're screaming in pain.  Especially the ones who belt out in song and distort their faces so excessively, it reminds me of someone attempting to pass a kidney stone or preparing for childbirth.  And so, on J's days off, I sleep late (most likely because the night before was a restless one) and while she's waiting for me to awaken, she 'watches people scream' with her cat.  It works for me.

And finally, my KIDS love music.  The daughter is constantly playing music through her iPad while she does homework, cleans, takes showers.  A lot of the time, I have to tell her to turn her stuff down, because it's giving me a headache.  The Son, a few weeks ago when I picked him up from school, expressed his sadness that I couldn't hear music.  He said he 'felt so bad' for me, that he found it devastating that I didn't know what I was missing.  I told him that I wasn't bothered by it.  I think I found it more touching that he was of the impression that we'd even have the same taste in tunes...

I've even seen and met other deaf people (and it's safe to say they are just as deaf as I) who enjoy feeling the beat and claim to love music, even watching people sing/perform on television, even if they're not getting the full audio experience they still SOMEHOW manage to gain from music and reading the subtitles as a person performs.  I'll never understand though, how that's possible, either.  But I never questioned it. I don't think I ever really cared enough to do so.  I guess it would be a different story if I'd ever heard music.  If I'd been born with the ability to hear and lost my hearing later in life, I think I'd have been crushed, having something I enjoyed so intensely taken away from me.  I think that's what my son THINKS happened in my case, even though I've explained time and time again - you can't possibly miss something you've never had the pleasure of understanding or experiencing.  

But...I have to confess...I hate music.  When I hear music playing through the radio or through someone's phone or from the TV, it sounds staticky.  It's just loud, annoying noise.  Oftentimes, it gives me a headache because that's what noise DOES.  When you can't make heads nor tails of it, you're left with unnecessary background noise that plays in your head long after it's been turned off.  I can't help but roll my eyes - is it really as hyped up as everyone says?  I mean - I've always said people were entitled to their own opinions, not everyone likes and dislikes the same things.  But almost every single person I know likes music...and I can't help but feel left out because this isn't something I can take joy in alongside them.  Ebenezer Scrooge's 'bah humbug' comes to mind whenever I see someone enjoying music or singing...and I just find myself disconnecting from any and all forms of music.  I allow myself to get lost in thoughts and if the 'noise' gets to be too much, I take my ear out.  I retreat into silence, because, for me - this is more comfortable.

I have another theory, though, on why this is such a torrid topic.  And this isn't an easy theory to recognize but in hindsight, it makes a whole lot of sense.  I am going to issue a trigger warning at this point...okay?

When I was assaulted at seventeen years old, it happened at a party.  I was in someone's bedroom (it was not my attacker's house nor a fraternity house - it was simply someone else's 'folks-are-away-on-European-vacation-so-let's-have-a-rager' house) and my assailant had locked us inside that upstairs bedroom under the pretense of making a phone call to someone who could pick me up since my 'ride' was downstairs and drunk.

Anyway, at one point after things had gone terribly wrong, I was pinned down on the floor, with him on top of me, methodically ripping away my soul.  It was after I had stopped fighting him - any previous attempts to cry for help were not heard nor recognized and the door remained locked for the duration of the assault.  And although I may not have understood it in the moment due to shock and eventual 'check-out', I'd later begin to realize why no one came.  It's because, through the floor, I could literally feel the blasting of the music playing downstairs.  This kid must have had top-of-the-line speakers and stereo equipment because it was the type of loud that one could barely hear themselves in, never mind someone in a bedroom upstairs.  My body (back mostly) vibrated along with the floors.  Surely, no one heard my feet and fists stomping on the floor.  No one heard me scream.  No one came to my rescue because NO ONE HEARD ME.  During that life-changing moment that I will never be able to associate without the presence of loud "noise," I lost not only a huge part of myself, but also the ability to see music as anything but bothersome as well as loathsome.

And there you have it, friends - I want to think that although the hearing impairment is likely the primary culprit, that there is also that secondary reason why I won't open up my mind to music.  I just can't.  Yet, I've been known to jot down some poetry and I was constantly writing things down following the sexual assault.  These were my most common outlets.  Both of these are closely associated with songwriting and with creation.  But for me - there was no musical vision accompanying these words.  While another artist might be able to put 'noise' and lovely melodies to these words, all I can manage, is silence.  I am sure that music in general is a beautiful thing - yet, I can't help but associate it with something so ugly and heartless, cruel, cold.  And this is something I don't like about myself nor to admit about myself, especially since I know that for so many people, whether they are close to me or not, this is a STAPLE.  People have said they don't know what they'd do without their favorite music...for to them, it's comforting.  

As I near the end of this post, I do want to put a little disclaimer here - that if you are one of those who gain comfort from music, I certainly do respect that - I just would never be able to understand it the way you do!  And in no way do I feel differently about any of my friends who love something I dislike so much - for I truly feel we all have our valid reasons for loving/hating something.  I just feel that unless you can effectively explain and comprehend what your own personal reasons are, then you're not justified.  (I don't know if this is even the right word or even fair to say - it's just a feeling I have when it comes to my own likes and dislikes, and it's, as expected, nearly 3am right now so I've surpassed the point of translucent thinking.)  

I truly wish that this was different for me and that I were more open to reading song lyrics, 'feeling' the meaning behind them, etc, but this is not something I can do right now.  If this will ever be possible, I don't know, but I'm not in a hurry.

But, to me, aside from not being able to hear it properly, music is simply just noise...and likely a triggering one.  

I'm not sure if writing this blog entry will enable me to completely understand or even to answer this particular pressing question that from time to time plagues me at odd hours of the morning.  I'm not sure if it's even validation I seek.  Either way...I'll hope that this interpretation appeases Will Ferrell as I hobble over to the bed.  I've taken the swig a few minutes ago and am hoping that shortly, sleep, along with silence, will overcome my otherwise busy, insomniac brain.  I'm sure that in the next couple nights, Will shall be back and he'll be asking me (at 2am) if I've remembered to feed the Daughter's hermit crabs or if I've remembered to transfer the clothes from the washer into the dryer or I've paid a bill or emailed an aunt for her birthday.

My best to everyone.  And, until next time, adios!

- Capulet


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