This is another one of these where I am simply writing whatever comes to mind, how it comes to me…
One of the idiosyncrasies I have picked up from my experiences is hyperawareness of time. I view almost everything through a lens of everything is finite. I could be having the greatest experience in the world and in the back of my mind, at one point, I will say to myself “this is going to end.”
I do it with everything and it manifests itself in varied ways. It is November 12, 2020 and my daughter is nine years old. The Holidays are around the corner; while I am excited to do all of what is associated with the time of year, I have also said to myself “This is the last year Cydney will believe in Santa Claus.” More often than not, when I call someone on the phone, after a greeting, I ask “Are you busy?” or before I call, will inquire “Do you have time to talk?”
In a conversation with a dad friend of mine, he told me when he was 25, his fiancée passed away. I paused for a moment and told him “mine too.” We had been cool for some time; but in that moment, we bonded. The two of us briefly spoke out our experiences with a candor which would make most uncomfortable and laughed about it because we both knew how difficult it is to talk about to and with someone, so you wind up holding in all of these feelings of an experience you think about at least once a day, and have absolutely no one to do so with. Sometimes it makes you feel a little crazy because it requires a balance of hyperawareness and hypersensitivity towards others because you don’t want to cause discomfort and you have absolutely no choice but to hold it all inside.
“I have this thing in which I view everything as finite and has an ending” I told my friend. His eyes widened and he said “me too.” There was a sigh of relief for both of us because what was said felt like something we’d both held onto, without anywhere to go, and say this thing. If you were a passerby or one of the many other people in the gym where we watched our kids, you would not have been able to tell by our body language we were having this kind of conversation at all.
I don’t view my awareness of time as a bad thing; I find it to be freeing. I told my daughter’s mother, everyday how I felt about her, so I felt as if I made the best of the limited time I had with her. This is in fact a gift and I try to use it all of the time. If my daughter will be a little girl for a limited time, I make the best of it and look forward to where and how she will evolve. When I am with my friends, I will laugh loudly and tell all of the jokes and relish in the moment. If I like a young lady, I have no problem saying “I like you” because for all I know, you could have had a very bad day, and some words of affirmation, letting them feel admired could possibly turn it around.
Another positive of this lens is I have the kind of patience of Job; this is not a hyperbolic exaggeration, at all. I am aware everyone has their unique combination of experiences which makes them who they are. While everyone values time, how they do so will vary. Just because I may be comfortable with articulating myself does not mean others are. I try my best to not take most things people say to heart because more than likely, what they say—or don’t, has very little to do with me, and they too are doing their best.
Something I tell clients and friends all the time is “You are doing something well when others take it for granted.” My time and experiences have made me a resource. In my line of work, most of what I do comes with a request of “Can you do x, y, and z for me?” within a certain period. My time is often taken for granted because I make very good use of it and maybe because of my nonchalance, make some things seem effortless. Be it in my professional or personal life, most don’t see or are aware of the amount of time I have put into whatever, they just see the result. People just see a polished video or receive a song, unaware the 60 second video took four hours or the amount of care put into chord structure, or the years of loneliness it took to get so good at it. I won’t even front, there are times in which this makes me feel a little used. I know people don’t mean to do so; they are simply living their lives and I try my best to not take it personally.
I once told my therapist, “It’s kind of like I can bench press 350lbs. Everyone can’t do that. In fact, most people can’t. Everyone can’t handle the amount of weight I can throw around and don’t know the amount of time it took to get there. But because I can, I have to be careful of it with others because 350lbs is a lot, it’s overwhelming, and intense.” To be honest, even on this very site, I have begun to hate writing about what I’ve been through because what I share can be quite intense; and the “wow, this made me cry” responses at times because often, I become a story and not human with a story.
The balance of all I have explained in this essay at times leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. There are times in which I feel empty and in need of replenishment and I need more than self-reliance. From my perspective, all of this tends to make my moments of vulnerability fall by the wayside. I once shared a song with my daughter I wrote for her mother and to do so, took a lot for me to do, and she talked through it and didn’t pay attention at all. I was opening up, showing my human side, and her response hurt my feelings; she had no idea because she was just being a kid. Not necessarily from my child, but this happens a lot.
Sometimes that person reaching out to say hello or ask “are you busy” is an act of vulnerability. Many times, those songs we listen to and love are birthed out of the really tough times and that beautiful track came out after hours of being in the studio, writing through tears and powering through anxiety, mixed by an engineer who has a shit ton of work to do to make it sound great, and lots of fighting with a record label to release it as a single. All we hear is a beautiful song which is pleasing to us and makes us feel something. In itself, the time spent to do so was a labor of love and an expression of working through one’s own shit; something which all came about at the right time.