The Noticing of the Unnoticed

“That’s how you know you’ve really got a home: When you leave it, there’s that feeling that you can’t shake. You just miss it.”

I never truly felt this of New York. Sure I miss my family and friends, but I never missed New York. I’ve never longed for it. But when I think on Eire, I feel this twisting ache settle in my chest. It was the first time in my life where the haze that always seemed to settle over my head was clear. I allowed myself to truly feel, to truly take in all that was around me and learn from my own mistakes.

Apparently, I’ve been off lately. Simple errors and a world of concern following them, and in the aftermath I’m stuck between anger, apathy, and depression. Dirty mistresses the whole lot of them are, distracting and disjointed; today I was spoken to regarding my performance as a living being. The usual, “Are you okay?” “People have noticed” and the such. Ironic really since the concern could have been used a few weeks ago when I was curled into a ball crying, but no one noticed then. I guess I made myself too small. Getting back to my feet people are now noticing me.

The recent mishaps (last week and a half) have very simple explanations. Final weeks of a class, juggling school, life and work, and sudden shifts in my health. The health part is really what threw me off my course. A knee surgery last month, sudden bouts of insomnia coupled with severe nausea, a heart that doesn’t beat fast enough one minute and too fast the next, and a hazy feeling that has settled over my head thanks to medications that we are unsure will really do the trick. I’m not 100%. I haven’t been 100% since I entered college the first time around. Being sick for 2 1/2 years kind of does that to a person. Sure all tests and such come back in the normal ranges, but my body doesn’t cope well anymore. I know this well and have learned to live in that 85-90% range with relative ease. I know my capabilities, and in the face of those who question me, I’ve also learned silence. Silence is a good friend of me since she keeps me out of trouble, but also allows me to truly test where I am in my current existence and what more I can handle. I don’t know many people who are willing to say when something is too much, but I am not one of those people. Ironically, no one believes me or cares to listen.

Call this a rambling reminiscence of a time where I stood on ground that was new to the bottom of my shoes, but not to my soul. In the month I lived in Ireland I learned more about who I was, what I was, and where I needed to be then I ever will in the states. Moving to Iowa was a great move for me; New York was tearing me apart from the inside out, but even Iowa is proving to just be a branch on my tree. But I met a new love in Iowa, and I hold my temporary home close to my heart. However, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Today two people with hearts of gold sat me down to talk to me about my performance, about what they see, and where I can begin to improve. I am grateful that they cared enough to talk to me, even if I believe they aren’t necessarily in the right. But I remained silent. I had to. I had to because the part of me that I learned so much about in Ireland needs to be caged in. The irrationally thinking, immature, spiteful part of me that I do not show this world because that person isn’t a good person, even if she is in the right. So she stayed quiet, and so did I. I apologized for what needed to be apologized for, and did not counteract with facts that would shift the purpose of the talk. Iowa is a state of really nice, truly heart-warming people. They care about neighbors, enjoy some juicy gossip, and generally help anyone (stranger or not) if he/she needs help. There is even a term for it,”Iowa nice,” and these good people want to see me succeed and are concerned because they believe they see a change that may hurt me. I truly appreciate it because they are what I can never be; Iowa nice. I don’t have the stomach for it. So to survive I learned to be quiet. I learned to listen, nod, smile, be grateful and hold my tongue. Why?

Because it also pissed me the fuck off. And that’s all I even need to say about it. I could have used this talk a long time ago, when I truly felt like I was drowning. However, in the last few weeks I’ve just been flighty. I have to pay more attention. I let myself get distracted by shiny things in the sense of it all and it happens from time to time. Easy fix and a few requests on further help will help correct some minor mistakes. But the underlying message was lost on the person being spoken to, because the person they were talking to was a different person from the one that truly needed talking to. Also, Iowa nice really just pisses me off. Hits a raw nerve in a way that I’m just labeled rude and mean because I am not nice for the sake of being nice. It’s just not me.

I’ve always been unnoticed to most, noticed to some, and overall a pigment in the large picture. I mean, I am physically hard not to notice, but who I am, what I am, is largely unnoticed. In my perspective, it always seems I’m noticed when being unnoticed is the most beneficial for my life. I guess that is how the world functions. It is a paradox in itself, to want to be unnoticed because we all do what we can to be noticed, even in the smallest fashion. I’m just not in the need for noticing, not anymore. What I’m in the need for is some room to grow, and some room to live and make my mistakes. Suddenly my world is overcrowded with good intentions, and it is making a mess of things. Paved roads to hell and the like.

And it’s moments like these that make me miss home. Miss Ireland in such a way that I start crying, not because of my current situation, but because I always feel out-of-place. I don’t feel settled on my feet and it’s quite unnerving to always feel like this. To feel the outsider. To feel like the other in a looking-glass that is wrong and must be fixed; must be helped. I know in Ireland I was an other, a visitor, but I was still made to feel like I belonged there. I know I belong with my wife. Loving her is an honor I never thought would come during my lifetime. Loving Amanda is the greatest chaos I know and I’ll always protect it, and revel in it. She makes the ache in my chest dull, manageable and okay. But I’m angry all the time. I miss saying how I was feeling, what I needed, and how it would impact my future, and having it taken at face value. To not be told I was wrong for feeling a certain way because the fact is we exist in that feeling, in that time, and if we disregard it then we are not honoring ourselves. This concept is something I never thought I would appreciate until I came back to the US and was told what I was feeling, why I was feeling it, and if I wanted to get better I would have to do what I was told. Hell, I even find myself doing it to others because it is done so much over here. Follow the leader; don’t be depressed; mainstream keeps up upstream. This is for your own good. We want you to succeed.

I’m stretched thin. School, work, friends, marriage, family; everything pulling in multiple directions at the same time. I’m tired. I want to sleep when I close my eyes and not be woken up because someone wants something from me. I guess everyone wants that. Mostly, I just want to feel peace back in my soul. I’m being told right now that maybe I need to pedal back and take sometime, but peddling back this time around would do more harm to me in the long run. I’m at a point where there is no peddling back. Either those in my world help me peddle forward, or they need to exit my stage because I know what I need to do, and I know I need help doing it. The world just picked a funny time to say they notice something off; unfortunately the world never looks in a mirror to see what’s off is its own existence. So instead of peddling forward with gusto I’m left with some bruises, some cuts, a few broken ribs and a limp, and told I must improve.

So when the world is quiet, and my only company is a moon through half-opened blinds and an annoyingly loud furnace, I close my eyes and I see the deep colors of a setting sun over land and sea. I remember the small dog that followed me happily to a sea-weed covered boulder and kept me company as I spoke to the only temple I’ve ever known. I remember the girl who forgave the hurt, and found comfort in the scars on young skin. She gave birth to me and I remember her quietly, with a small smile and gentle eyes. It’s late now. The anger has drained away and now I just feel dull. I’ll fix the past’s mistakes tomorrow. Tonight, I just want to remember birds swooping down over calm waters, the beating of the dog’s tail, and the clarity of the realization that I am more than what the world notices.

I miss home. It seems fairy-tale like, with the above quote coming from a show about fairy-tales, the humor is not lost in the moment. But tonight I miss home. Let the world notice that.

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