My post title is another line of lyrics from my song “The Unknown.” It is no coincidence that currently my song plays through my life because I have been working on editing a vocal for a beautiful new arrangement. When I wrote my song in 2011, I was horrified by my lyrics. It was because they were so revealing and honest.
When I first composed my song “The Unknown,” I wasn’t sure if I would ever perform it. I already have, and recently I arranged my song for the second time. Eventually, I will share it on my blog when I feel ready.
Below I share an instrumental version of my song. Clicking the blue link plays audio:
THE UNKNOWN INSTRUMENTAL – Copyright 2013 by Judy Unger
The lyrics of my song that I used for my title go: “My tears I hide when you are near me, I cry inside where you can’t hear me.”
Not long ago, I had a post with the lyric title of “my tears I hide.” Crying inside accurately describes what happens when I hide my tears.
I operate on that level more than I’d like to admit. I hide my pain, while inside I am screaming and crying. It has been quite difficult for me to release my feelings and very unhealthy. In order to numb myself, it is far easier to indulge in overeating and the result has been awful for me. I am certain that the reason my music heals me is because it is the one place where I can freely express myself.
Writing for my blog is also wonderful, but unfortunately there are so many things I cannot share. For sure, I try to be careful not to say anything that might be upsetting to my teenage children or soon-to-be ex-husband.
Below, I share more about my life discussing music with my voice teacher, Kimberly Haynes. On the first clip, I share a portion of my song “The Unknown” and discuss with Kimberly a performance, which I shared on my blog two weeks ago. On the second clip, it is notable again that singing is a metaphor for my life. Singing breathy and unconnected is something I am trying to steer away from; I far prefer a connection with my vocal chords. In my life, I also want to be more connected with my true voice!
Clicking the blue links plays audio:
Lesson Clip with Kimberly Haynes 5/26/13
Lesson Clip with Kimberly Haynes 6/3/13
“Can you function?”
The retinologist’s words were crisp and firm. “Can you function? Can you do your work in order to sustain an income?”
I looked at him and hesitated. Softly, I said, “Yes, but it’s pretty tough. I get headaches and it’s frustrating.”
He spoke kindly and said, “It’s very important that you understand why I’m asking you this. If you tell me you cannot work or function, I will schedule you for a Vitrectomy tomorrow.”
I had read about this procedure. It was rather drastic. The gel in the eye is replaced with vegetable oil. Walla! I’d have crystal clear vision again. But of course, nothing is that simple. The procedure is quite risky.
He explained that it was a routine surgery for him; and he did it often. He said it would take less than an hour; then I would go home and live with the result. With seriousness he told me that there were rare instances of failure and he remembered each and every case.
Due to my nearsightedness and elongated eyeball, the procedure definitely carried more risk for me than the average person. His recommendation was that I wait at least a year to be sure. As I left, he told me that it was more than likely that I would adjust with time.
I walked to my car. The sunlight was painful and my vision was swirling with feathers and lines. I put on sunglasses and tried not to cry.
I decided I liked this doctor. Mostly, I appreciated his compassion.
I had made this appointment because I was so discouraged by my eyesight; I wanted reassurance that my retinas were still intact and felt it might not be a bad idea to see another eye specialist. I had already read a lot about PVD (posterior vitreous detachment) on the Internet and knew there wasn’t a simple cure for me.
I had actually been given a referral to this doctor a month earlier after I informed my HMO that I wanted reimbursement for a second opinion. My request for reimbursement was denied, even though I had given prior notice. I was given a referral to see this retina specialist from my HMO instead. I made an appointment, but it was several weeks away and I was miserable.
I did not have the energy to appeal the denial of my $250 expenditure.
The doctor that dispensed my second opinion recommended a laser treatment to help treat a common complication that resulted from my cataract surgeries.
Finally after complaining, I was given a sooner appointment where a doctor at my HMO performed the laser treatment. I was told I could cancel my appointment with this retinologist.
After the laser treatment, I was hopeful that my eyes would improve. But it was not the case. A few weeks later, I had a second PVD when my vitreous gel separated in my “good” eye.
On top of that, I had painful dryness in both eyes that was excruciating. All the while, I was busy working on an illustration assignment. Thankfully, my computer had a large screen that was helpful for my eyes.
It was my music that continued to keep me going and helped me the most.
“A compassionate pillow”
I was under hypnosis. I heard Connie’s voice and she said, “Allow an image to form that represents compassion for you.”
An image came to me quickly. I easily pictured the pillow on my bed. I waited because I wanted to be certain about it. After a moment, I couldn’t see another image and I could see it was going to be interesting to talk about.
I said to Connie, “Okay, I’m looking at my pillow. You know, not too long ago I wrote some song lyrics about my pillow. It has tearstains on it.”
Connie asked me to describe it further and I began to chuckle. There was an analogy already forming in my mind when I remembered the feathers. Occasionally, they slipped out and delicately floated within my vision; just like my floaters. But my pillow represented compassion because it was soft and I felt safe with it. I wasn’t sure where I had gotten it – it might have even been an old one from my parents. For sure, it was pretty old.
I talked more about pillows and how new ones weren’t soft enough. They were usually too firm and ended up being ones that I put under my legs. As I remembered my former life and bed – I felt sadness creeping in.
My eyes were closed and I heard Connie’s voice gently ask me, “Allow yourself to become that compassionate pillow. What words would you tell Judy?”
All the while, I kept wondering why I had picked my pillow. I often wrote about grief with deep compassion for others, but I decided I had picked this image because I needed more compassion for myself at this juncture.
I said to Connie, “This pillow thinks it might be a good idea if she rested more.”
That was no surprise. I came to my appointment very tired and told Connie I had gone to bed after editing a song until 1:30 a.m. Then at 6:00 a.m., I woke up to listen to music.
I searched to imagine what I would tell myself beyond that. The words from my subconscious began to slowly form.
Softly, I said, “The pillow wants Judy to know that it will always be there for her – she can take it wherever she goes. With all the uncertainty in her life, she knows that it will hold her head softly and support her.”
Tears lightly streamed down my cheeks as I added, “This pillow has traveled so far from where it started. It used to be on a larger bed that she once shared. This new destination is something she never imagined. She has come so far!”
“I simply did not want to look at what bothered me”
I came to my hypnotherapy session in a dark state. I had been that way ever since my good eye experienced a vitreous detachment a few weeks earlier.
I looked forward to my weekly sessions because I loved to share my music that I was currently working on with Connie. Other than my voice teacher, Kimberly or arranger, George, I had no one else to share my passion with. My children hated if I talked about my music, so I seldom mentioned it.
I told Connie that just before our session I had an idea about something I wanted to write about. I seldom had time to write and preferred to work on songs instead whenever possible.
My idea was for a metaphorical story about how I was a gardener that was cultivating a song garden. It was such a beautiful concept for me. There was irony, though.
I had written a poem during my deep grief and named it “My Garden.” In my poem, my children were plants that were watered with my tears after my first plant died. Because I’ve sometimes felt like my songs were “babies,” my metaphor also tied into my former poem.
I told Connie that I wondered when I would feel better. If it were not for my eyesight issues, things were going fairly well in my life. I tried to stay grateful for the many good things that had happened to me.
But the reality was that my mood was very down. I told her how living with cloudy eyesight was a constant source of sadness. But amazingly, I had acuity – I could accurately see an eye chart, despite the large black floaters and curtains on the edges of my eyes. Although the dryness wasn’t as acute; I still had sensations of feathers in my eyes many times during the day.
I was encouraged though by brief moments when the cloudiness seemed to dissipate – sometimes it happened while I was driving. I was sure that it was because I was focused on something else. I’d notice the clarity and get elated, but with one blink, the curtains and blurs returned. Then my heart would sink.
I always reminded myself of the statement, “The more you look for something, the more that you will find it.” Was I looking for clarity or my muddy eyesight? It was difficult to decipher and frustrating. I was desperately hoping that hypnosis might help me. I wanted to find insight about my choice of a pillow to represent compassion.
Although there were analogies to my life, I still felt frustrated that there seemed to be no answers that could help me deal with my eyesight.
I knew I needed more compassion for myself. I told Connie that I didn’t want to wallow in self-pity. I was grateful that I could still see and function. Clearly, I wasn’t a candidate for an immediate Vitrectomy.
There was so much pain erupting inside of me. It was raw and stabbing. I pushed it down. I wanted to say how unfair it was, but stopped myself. Life was not fair and I already knew that.
I told her how I was trying to deal with it.
I simply did not want to look at what bothered me – I just looked through the floaters. But it was like wearing dirty glasses that couldn’t be wiped.
Connie gently said, “Can you see any parallels to your own life with those words?”
It dawned on me that there were definitely parallels. For decades, I lived in Zombieland. I suppressed my feelings by ignoring the things that bothered me. It was important for me to please my children, my parents and my husband. That was my existence.
With my healing, I began to dream again and I looked forward to things. So now I had a new coping mechanism; I looked ahead to avoid the pain I felt in the present. It was far preferable than looking at the pain right in front of me.
All of this was very familiar indeed.
As I coped with this situation, I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself to feel. I was numb as I pushed down the emotions that were too painful to deal with.
By suppressing my emotions, my pain rose up directly in front of me to force me to acknowledge it!
“Her words were like music to me”
The next morning, I awoke and did not rush to get up. My pillow was soft and I grinned surveying my bedroom. My parents might have slept in that room for over forty years, but it was my room now.
I loved the peacefulness and freedom.
It was a Sunday. Earlier in the week, I had completed my illustration assignment. It was no easy feat. To celebrate, I had worked endless hours on my music. I really did want to feel better about life. With everything I had gone through, I didn’t want to suffer and become a Zombie again.
A few days earlier, a friend had asked me if I might consider dating and I burst into tears. I emphatically said I savored being on my own and couldn’t imagine spending my precious time with anyone. As I spoke those words, I realized how sad they were and that caused even more tears to flow.
I knew my eye situation wasn’t the only thing I was dealing with. My mother was withering away; she had lost seven pounds over the last two months. And although my children were adjusting to separation and divorce, I felt heartache at every turn. I was relieved that our home had finally sold, but as my husband and oldest son were moving I felt sadness for what they were going through.
There was a metaphor for me when my oldest son put the mounted puzzles that once adorned his bedroom into the trash. I felt many pangs when he told me that he had no desire or space to save them. Those puzzles required endless hours. Together we had worked on almost a dozen; most had over 1,000 pieces and held memories of the time we spent together.
My son had been so proud of them that one time he brought them to his elementary school to share for an assembly.
I had already taken as much memorabilia as I could and had little room to store anything else in my coop.
I countered my pangs knowing I could hold onto the memories, rather than the objects.
There were many pangs as I remembered what I went through while throwing out most of my children’s school records and reports. I decided I needed fewer reminders of all my years of advocacy to fight for services that would help them.
I thought about my hypnotherapy session and suppressing my feelings. So often I have said, “Thoughts equal feelings.” I desperately wanted to harness the power of my mind to help myself.
The truth came to me that as upsetting as my eyesight was, my weight bothered me even more. I usually tried to be gentle with myself about it. I felt I would diet when I was ready.
But that wasn’t happening, and I was feeling worse and worse. I kept gaining weight and it made life much more difficult. I realized that I couldn’t “fix” my eyes – but this was something I did have control over.
I remembered how when I began my journey, I had lost weight and as a result felt wonderful. Perhaps this alone could make a difference for me. Only I could do this, though.
It was Sunday, and I had to drive my son to visit a friend. I remembered it wasn’t far from a place that my teenage daughter had mentioned she wanted to take me.
I knocked on her door and said, “Are you in the mood to hike today? I have to drop your brother off and it’s not far from that hiking area you once told me about.”
I fully expected her to say no, especially because I had to leave in five minutes. I was shocked when she said yes. My daughter always needed at least half an hour notice to get ready. But she said she was willing if I’d give her ten minutes.
We left the house and as I drove, both my teenagers bantered in the car. My daughter said, “This is great about your being willing to exercise, Mom! I have a saying about exercise.”
My daughter said, “If you’re too comfortable, then you’re not improving.”
I knew she was relating that to her workouts, but I thought about how that also applied to sitting still in life!
We walked on a trail overlooking the city for an hour. I noticed we weren’t arguing like we usually did. But we did argue about how long the hike was. She said it was only 40 minutes. She said that the walk from our car to the trailhead didn’t count.
For me, every minute counted!
I did pant in a few spots. My clothes were completely soaked. I had an opportunity to listen to music briefly, when she chose to jog ahead of me and run back.
As she zipped by me, her words were like music.
“Mom, I’m so proud of you!”
I watched her continue to jog ahead of me – she was gorgeous and fit. I remembered when my daughter ate only fried food and her favorite vegetable was a French fry. Now she was so health conscious; I wish I hadn’t worried about her as much as I had.
We came home and I felt much better.
The afternoon was ahead of me. I was excited to write and to sing. I rested and showered.
For three months now, I had not written any new music. I did have a melody and chords for a new song. Slowly, I was writing the lyrics.
I picked up my guitar. The verses were done, but my song needed a chorus. I began to work on the lyrics to complete my song.
THE PRINCESS AND HER WORDS
Sometimes, the Princess remembered the dragon. It made her sad when she imagined he was once her Prince. Perhaps it was only in her imagination and he had always been a dragon. But what caused her great pain was the knowledge that forever the dragon knew her intimately in ways that no one else could. It was a bond that was difficult to simply sever and ignore.
But she realized she knew the dragon intimately, too. Those thoughts were also painful and she chose to push them away.
It was interesting how a few simple words changed their lives. She struggled to release those words for a long time. They tore at her tongue and were acid in her soul. When her father died she could not continue to hold those words anymore. She accidently released them to her oldest son.
Immediately, she was horrified. She had spoken those words to the wrong person. Her son’s anguish was more than she could bear. But her son was so wise. Despite his own shock and pain, he insisted that this was a secret she was not allowed to keep any longer. The Princess shook and shook with terror – she wondered how she would ever find the courage.
Her son told her, “Just do it. Kick the bucket!”
She surveyed the castle and all that she knew would disappear like magic with those words. She climbed the stairs. Over and over she heard his words, “Kick the bucket, kick the bucket.”
The dragon wondered what the Princess was going to say. He looked surprised. Rarely did she ever tell him she had something to say to him directly. He stopped what he was doing and waited.
Time was frozen for the Princess. She wanted to vomit, but instead she threw out the words. “Our marriage is over.”
The dragon was calm and cool. They spoke for a few moments about letting their children know and discussed how to tell them. Suddenly, time began to move quickly.
The Princess waited for the relief to come, but it eluded her.
It was only the beginning . . .
© 2013 by Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
You never cease to amaze me with your blog and art. Your revealing your feelings must be gut wrenching, but at the same time such a relief. You have such a beautiful expression, in your music, your lyrics, and your prose. I am so glad you share your gifts with us. I just wish you did not have the physical pain along with all this, but you are so strong, and you are blessed and loved so much.
Today I was inspired by a wonderful blog to come up with an award….Someone has to create these awards…. and I created the Rose of Kindness Award. I used a photo of Vic and my favorite rose as the award picture. I have nominated you for this award. I know awards get out of hand, but this one is special to me. I hope you accept. Lots of love and gratitude for the kindness you have shown me http://tersiaburger.com/2013/06/13/rose-of-kindness-award/