I realize that this is a strange title for a post, but then I’m reading a pretty strange book at the moment called ‘What is the What?’ It’s the story of a boy, growing up in Sudan, who experiences untold hardships during their civil war and the atrocities that followed.
It is a very engaging read and a delightful dialogue to follow, but the reality of what he relates is almost too much to handle. We would all conveniently like to believe that stuff like this does not really happen, but, in fact, it does. He talks about mothers, shot through the gut, who press on for miles running from danger, only to die on the roadside, with an infant at their side. The author rescues one such child, and hopefully it thrives, but one never knows.
Or, his tales of walking through the tall grass, and having his friend, walking steps behind him, taken by a lion. Our protagonist is never at a loss for words… he’s talking, always talking, always telling his story. He talks silently in his mind, telling those who he perceives have wronged him in some way, about his story. He talks as if to say, ‘I’ve endured so many horrible things in my life. Why do you have to add to my misery?’
I think he talks about these horrible things he’s experienced so that he may get them out of his system. Like vomiting out a bad piece of meat. Once he has told his story, he can move on to other things. This is what attracted me to the story!
When I was about the same age, I was stuck by a car as I was running across a busy street. I broke both bones in my lower leg. Not the most serious injury but enough to get your attention as a young boy.
During my rehabilitation, they told me to walk on the leg as much as possible. And so I did! I walked a couple of miles a day in my ‘knee cast’ (after a couple of months in a thigh cast), and I was happy to be able to do so.
All the while that I walked, I talked to myself, I told my story. I poured out all the anger, frustration, injustice that I had experienced in life, to no one in particular… or to the cars speeding by. It didn’t really matter. It was ‘talking – as not talking’; talking to vent the frustration, but not to communicate anything to anyone, or to vent on anyone in particular. The idea was that once I let these thoughts out of my head, they might leave me alone. And they did! I suspect this is why Valentino talks so much.
Meditation, I’ve found, is a far more effective way to assuage your thoughts. You have more control over whether you think or not, and what you focus on when you do think.
But I suppose there are times when the pressure is just too great. When you have to vent or explode. In that case, I suggest that you take a long walk around the block and talk like a crazy person to no one in particular (I suppose you could pretend you are talking on your cell phone), or perhaps write your thoughts down into a notebook, or tell your story in your own mind as Valentino does.
But then leave your thoughts by the side of the road and move on.