Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day 54: Reading Sounds

When I was young there was quite a bit of conflict in our house.

I’d be sitting in my room which was all the way in the attic and be busy doing stuff. Then I’d hear the front door open and hear the ‘loud bang’ of the door being closed. I’d start cringing inside myself because I ‘d know my dad was home. For the rest of the evening I would sit in my room and be on edge and listen carefully to the sounds in the house so I could be ‘prepared’ if any conflict were to arise. If nothing happened for that evening, I’d be edgy but after a while kind of forget about it. Some nights however, there would be loud noises coming from downstairs, where I could discern my parents arguing, but mostly my dad being very loud. My heart would start beating very fast and loud and I’d become all anxious because usually this meant that I / we (the kids) were in trouble. I’d either go and lock myself up in the toilet (because I reasoned that no-one can come and confront you / lash out on you if you’re on the toilet lol) or I would go and lie in bed with the sheets covering me completely, hoping I would fall asleep and just ‘block it out’. Other days I’d quietly open the door of the room and go sit on the stairs to see if I could hear what they were being loud about and ‘assess the damage’ so to speak. What I’d be looking out for most of the time was the movement of the sound through the house. I felt pretty bad when my dad was pissed off at us and taking it out to my mom while they were downstairs in the living room/kitchen/lounge – it was bad, but I could handle it, because at least then my dad was not ‘in my face’. The worst was when I would hear him go into the corridor. Then, things could go into two different directions: A) He was coming for us or B) he was going to the computer room which was one level below our room (me and my sister shared rooms at that point).

My dad is quite heavy and his steps on the stairs are very noticeable. The moment the door would open downstairs I’d get the hell away from the stairs and cower in my room. I would keep my breath in and carefully listen to the sounds on the stairs – doof, doof, doof – and then there was that one deciding moment where he would reach the level below us by the computer room, which was always the moment of suspense: was he gonna go into the pc room and play pc games – or was the sound going to continue indicating he was coming for us? He used also be a very heavy breather so you could also just hear his breath coming closer and closer.

When he’d go into the pc room I’d be soooo relieved – and if I heard the sounds continue/get closer/louder I’d practically pee my pants, wait for him to get to our room – he’d lash out and I’d just be petrified (and peeing my pants) and just wait out his episode. I never said anything and would just sit there and try hold my tears because I did not want to trigger anything which could escalate the situation.

So what’s interesting within this specific memory point is the dominant role ‘sound’ plays – where my entire beingness was tuned in and focussed towards sound only, and would assess the situation according to what sounds were in the house , the direction/movement of the sound and how loud/close it was. There was the door opening and closing, there was the screaming downstairs, there was the sound of the steps on the stairs, there was the breathing, there was the creaking of the pc-room door, there was the crescendo in sound as he’d be moving closer, …

Within that, my reactions and how I would experience myself were completely linked to all the various sounds, and as the sounds changed/progressed my experience would change/progress. So this is quite cool for me to see how I create this relationship with sound as ‘screaming’ – where I now become edgy/anxious whenever I hear the parrots scream – based on memories from probably over 10 years ago and the connections/relationships I formed then and there to particular sounds – which are now, all these years later still controlling and directing me.

Self-Forgiveness and Self-Corrective Statements to Follow

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