When I was in high school my friends and I would be cruising around in a car and they would play this game.
The game would go like this:
"Everybody be quiet until Colleen makes a noise."
I imagine this was fun for them because silence was something that made me uncomfortable.
When they would go silent I would cough, giggle, sigh...ANYTHING to fill the void.
I always wondered why I was so uncomfortable with silence. I mean I've seen the movies and I've heard the stories of how profound sharing some silence can be between people...but I didn't get it.
It wasn't until I moved to NYC that I really learned the value of sharing silence. There have been many times where I have got into a cab wrapped up in a kiss I just shared with someone. I've got into cabs when my heart was broken into a million pieces and just needed to be alone with my thoughts and not needing to worry about the social niceties of talking to someone else and to just simply sit silently there while a complete stranger drives me home.
In this city there are so many people that you are kinda forced into valuing being alone...being still...with a thousand different strangers a day.
Stillness in the chaos. Silence in the noise.
Stillness is a word I have been thinking on a lot lately.
Life goes tumbling by so quickly. I have found that my late twenties have been stressful because I feel like there are so many deadlines I have yet to meet.
I worry about money.
I worry about being a thoughtful artist.
I worry about being alone.
I worry about being proactive in life.
I worry that I am not doing enough.
These worries can be blinding. They are crippling even. And in my stillness and in my silence...I just simply had nothing to say.
Last year was so artistically full and personally rewarding and so fast paced that when it all came to a close...I felt lost. I felt uncomfortable. I felt still.
So I sat in my room. And I thought....why don't I create another piece of work. Why don't I spend 100 days rediscovering my place in the world. My place in the city that I chose to live in...and why don't I document it through social media. YES! It'll be great.
And halfway into my big cathartic, discovery project...I hated everything.
I stopped following the guidelines of my self imposed project and week by week, I let it slip away from me. I lost my vision. I wasn't saying anything somebody else wasn't saying...I was seeking validation from others on whether or not I was using my time well.
It became a pile of horses shit. And I didn't know what to do.
Do I restart the project?
Do I power through even though everything felt forced to maybe learn a lesson of endurance?
Neither of those options interested me so I told myself.
"Colleen be still."
So I became still.
Still for me was...
Watching a TON of Netflix.
Read some plays.
Took so many BuzzFeed tests....(my aura is gold if you were wondering.)
And I went stir crazy. I felt low. I felt sad and alone.
Friday night I was really feeling all of the feelings when I met a friend to see a show.
We sat down in the theatre and when the lights went up...I was instantly jealous of the actors. I wanted to be where they were. Even though the show wasn't all that good...they were creating a story. They spent hours of rehearsal discovering their characters. They endured what was likely a very long tech rehearsal together. They shared their work with an audience for a first time. They got to do all the things that I live to do. And I was jealous.
When the show was over my friend and I parted ways and I was walking through the city and I looked up while lost in my actory thoughts and I saw the Empire State Building and taxis flying by and hundreds of people filling the sidewalks and in that moment everything became...still.
Standing on the corner of 13th St. and Broadway....in stillness.
Standing in the city I've always dreamed of living in...stillness.
Knowing in that life goes from 100mph to 0mph and 0mph to 100mph in the blink of an eye and that to truly enjoy it you just have to be...still...sometimes.
I am proud of my accomplishments.
I am hopeful for my future.
I know what I want.
I am lucky.
And when I forget that...I will remember to tell myself
"Colleen, be still. You got this."