Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sound of Silence - part 2

I wrote my response to today's prompt after midnight last night. So it was essentially written in a liminal space between yesterday and today...
But reading the prompt's title, The Sound of Silence, so late at night has meant that the song inside my head today has been Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence. This reminded me of another Simon and Garfunkel song that has always resonated with me because it partly manages to articulate something about the way that my anorexia has functioned for me. The anorexia creates the 'walls, a fortress deep and mighty'. Walls that protect. Walls that isolate. Walls that provide me with safety from the pain of emotions and of experiencing the real world.

I've built walls, 
A fortress deep and mighty, 
That none may penetrate. 
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain. 
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain. 
I am a rock, 
I am an island. 
[ Lyrics from: ] 
Don't talk of love, 
But I've heard the words before; 
It's sleeping in my memory. 
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. 
If I never loved I never would have cried. 
I am a rock, 
I am an island. 

At the worst times, the thought of someone penetrating the walls, of trespassing on my island, is terrifying.  But so is the thought of being trapped in the loneliness of illness forever.
One particular line that speaks to my situation is that 'I have my books/ And my poetry to protect me'. There have been many times when I've used my love of books to authenticate some of my need to restrict myself from other enjoyment. I went for about 6 years without watching television and a similar amount of time unable to allow myself to sit with my family in the sitting room. I suppose it was about isolation. And about the control of not permitting myself certain simple pleasures.

I have my books 
And my poetry to protect me; 
I am shielded in my armor, 
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. 
I touch no one and no one touches me. 
I am a rock, 
I am an island. 

The song's final couplet is paradoxically truth and a lie... Anorexia does numb the pain for a while but as long as pain exists, we know we have to face it sometime. And maybe we do need to cry.

And a rock feels no pain; 
And an island never cries.

I've felt myself retreating a bit this week. I've been choosing alone. As I write this, I guess I know that I have to fight the urge to build walls, to become an island. Anorexia's armour may feel safe but it endangers us: our health, our relationships, our lives.

(all lyrics cited are copyright Paul Simon. And if you don't own a Simon and Garfunkel album, you should really buy one. They are amazing)


Rosie said...

I think that this is the first time a blog post has brought me close to crying. I, too, know the siren lure of isolation but from a depressive's perspective. I'd never paused to think about the song in this way, though.

sending you lots of love.

v said...

Elegant and poignant, Linda.