I feel a great need to be understood, as though my own cognition is not enough to propel me into the next moment of my life. I experience such dissonance when I feel my experience is unanchored, floating free in the world with no shared recognition of who I am or the fires that burn in my heart. This dissonance can compel me in one of two directions: toward voice or toward silence.


One of the reasons I write is to test the waters of understanding in the world. My writing is like a flare gun into the night sky signaling for others who might say, “Yes, me too. I understand.” When I feel that I have written something true—either about myself or about others—a great sense of faith wells up in my soul that someone else will, indeed, be touched with a spark of connection, the igniting that catches fire in the hearts of those who feel they have been heard.


When I feel I cannot bring forth from the shadowy nighttime of my own experience something that will explain the inner me, or others, I feel claustrophobic. Trapped inside my own head with no release. It is like being sent to sit in the corner of my own life to watch those around me breathe and enjoy while I remain stifled. This isolation—this fear of remaining in the dark—used to cause me anxiety. Now, however, it brings depression.


Why is it thus? Why do I feel the need to be understood? Why can I not simply feel and think and know and experience without attaching anchors to all my thoughts and throwing them overboard. Why can I not walk away from misunderstanding and trust that, with time and reflection, all will eventually be made clear? Or . . . not. Shouldn’t “not” be okay, too?


When I was a child, I did not feel I had a voice. I accepted that my role was to support, entertain and find a way to blend in. To this end, I became an apt observer. I watched those around me with the eyes of one who needed to see others with clarity because, many times, when I was caught off-guard by the true intentions of a person I was quickly drawn into their currents and drowned by their hidden agendas. Perhaps, this has something to do with wanting to see and be seen. Maybe I learned early in my life that when I do not work to understand others I will somehow be hurt and cast aside. When I do not work to be understood, I will disappear into the fabric of the couch cushions or the crowds rushing up and down city streets. Lost.


Currently, I feel tossed about. My compass dipped below the waves and somewhere there is a shark swimming around the ocean with a newly acquired sense of direction sloshing around in his stomach.


I have written here before of anxiety and depression, mostly in a very safe “past tense.” That writing seemed to help many. Today I write in a present tense, which makes me more vulnerable than I would usually allow but my hope is that someone out there will help me this time.