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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Just Listen

"Her Faerie Tales" by Mailyn, writing from Miami, USA

In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby
I lie inside myself for hours
And watch my purple sky fly over me

All my life I've listened to people, it's something that I do. From the moment I meet someone I just can't help it and I always thrust myself into the listening role. Every time they have a complaint, every time they are worried or they need advice I listen. I've always guessed something in me makes people want to just talk and tell me all they feel. I guess it's no ones fault but my own. If I see someone that looks troubled, despite my better judgement, I can't help but ask what's wrong, or if for some reason someone decides they need someone to listen to them and they come talk to me, I end up listening, really listening. I never just hear people talk, I actually pay attention. Apparently from what I've been told most people don't really listen so once they find me, well they are just too happy to have someone listen to them.

A friend once told me that it's true, that most people just aren't capable of paying attention to other people's problems because they can barely handle their own. According to that same friend, that's why people usually talk about silly things like the weather or the latest gossip, be it of someone famous or just someone they both know. He said most people don't feel the need to connect with others in a much deeper intellectual as well as emotional (and maybe even spiritual) level. So all day long most everywhere you hear meaningless drabble even from people who mean well, they just aren't capable of listening or talking about anything more "sophisticated" (his exact words). Thus it's only natural that if they do find someone that will listen well they are only too happy to oblige by talking about anything that worries them. Of course I ask, but what about the other person? The one who's listening? Don't they deserve the same? My friend's advice is for these people to find someone like themselves, someone that can both talk and listen. Sadly enough, at least in my case, this is easier said than done.

For some odd reason in the last 15 years I've been living in this city I've yet to find anyone I can truly connect with in a deeper level, or at least some level that doesn't involve just talking about guys and the latest fashion or what's on TV. I blame it on this city that just seems to lure in the fun loving party people of the world. Not that there's anything wrong with this. As a certified party girl I love a good party or a great club as much as the next person but I also crave for something more meaningful. Now I'm not pretentious enough to dare for one minute think I'm the only one out there, after all I've met some rather nice people online living all over the world (far, far away from me) that I've been able to talk to in a more meaningful way. Certainly I don't think I'm an anomaly and I would never suggest I'm perfect so I ask, where the hell is everyone hiding?!

My friend tells me I'm in the wrong city and so does a very dear aunt who says I remind her of herself when she was young. Naturally enough she never liked this city either, she found it quite "empty" in many levels. She is absolutely convinced that I would much better fit in somewhere like New York or another more diverse big city where you find all sorts of people. Being a NYC girl herself she tells me that there I would find the connections I've been craving for. People who aren't one track minded, that actually like to experiment and explore with different cultures and different ideas than those they grew up with. People that won't look at you as if you were speaking a foreign language or grown a second head when you talk about something that doesn't encompass the latest fashion or last night's TV show. They aren't scared and they want to experience all this and more. Open minded people who, naturally, can not only talk about all this and more but can also listen. Exposing themselves to diversity, wanting to know more, caring about people beyond those that encompass their everyday lives, craving to connect with people on more emotional levels, those are apparently the people that listen. Unfortunately for me they've all decided to live somewhere else, far far away from this decadent town and so I'm left listening.

I'm forever dreading people and their problems. As if I don't have enough of my own I have to sit and listen to countless others as well. I can't help it, I can't tune them out. Part of me feels guilty if I do, feels that I should try and help since they feel so comfortable telling me their problems. Another part of me also uses this mechanism as a way to avoid my own problems. Let me listen to them, help them out, give advice as I know I can't do to myself and in the end there's some gratification knowing that I helped someone even if I'm no better. For some odd reason (I guess it's from all the listening and analyzing) I seem to give good advice, at least that's what people always tell me and so it goes on, they talk, I listen. After a while people are so used to me just listening that they aren't capable of doing the same for me. They can be close and very dear yet they are unable to actually listen. Surely they hear you, but they don't listen, so I stop talking. I stop telling people how I feel, I stop trying to get someone to understand what's going on in my mind. What's the point if I know they aren't listening? If I know they aren't paying attention? I do get tired and it feels so very lonely at times. Sometimes I don't even want to pick up the phone because I know it's someone else with some other problem they need me to listen to and I myself am at the brink of going insane trying to hold all mine in. Why is it so hard to get people to listen, to really listen? If you care about your friends or your loved ones wouldn't you want to listen to what they have to say? Wouldn't you care to know how they truly feel? Or do you just want someone to listen to you?

I'm getting so very tired of listening and I wish for once someone would listen to me, just to know someone is paying attention, that someone cares, that someone will remember long after I'm done talking most of what I've said just as I remember what people tell me which they think it's important to them. For once I would like to be listened to instead with the same attention I listen to others, without the blank stares and the occasional "it'll be better" or "what can I say?". I wonder if I start saying "it will be better" or "what can I say?" maybe then people will start listening to me. Either that or at least they'll stop coming to me with their problems since they can probably tell then that I've just stopped listening.

The city is alive,
The people are restless
The birds that fly into the night are already asleep.
I fear my dreams waking up
My heart breaks, I'm afraid to go.
As long as I've not gained anything without giving
I'll always be searching for a reason.
It's not that the canaries whose voices were crushed to death couldn't cry.
They just didn't.
Maybe they just chose not to.
Please notice soon.
If you're there...


1. Excerpt from Imaginary (Origin) by Evanescence
2. Excerpt from the English translation of Ayumi Hamasaki's "Kanariya" / lyrics: Ayumi Hamasaki

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