And Now I Just Sit in Silence

You all should know by now that I’m slightly REALLY into music. I don’t often discriminate as to genre, so long as the music does what music should do… what all art should do – elicit emotion. I especially appreciate those songs which speak to the addict inside of me. I love to hear my pain, my struggles, my fears, my hope, my determination, my faith, my passion. I love to hear my own experiences echoed back to me to let me know I am not alone.

Today was my daughter’s twelfth birthday, so we spent most of the day getting things set up and getting pumped for her party. I put on a mix of the band which currently holds the spot as her favorite: Twenty One Pilots. Truth be told, I’m not so sure they actually are still her favorite. However, I used her appreciation for the band to disguise my obsession with their song, “Car Radio” so that I could listen to it at least a dozen times today.

This song is rather uncharacteristic of the duo’s current sound. Wee is much more into “Stressed Out” and “Ride.” This one came before Blurryface, though, and all those big hits from after Tyler Joseph began writing through his insecurities. And it is obviously the story of what he had to walk through in order to get to that place. “Car Radio” speaks to the fear of confronting what lies beneath the ego. It is about no longer being able to hide from yourself. I wanted to include only the most salient lyrics here, but every time I listen something else jumps out at me. So, here they are in their entirety, courtesy of Google Play Music:

“Car Radio” – Twenty One Pilots

I ponder of something great
My lungs will fill and then deflate
They fill with fire, exhale desire
I know it’s dire my time today

I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence

Sometimes quiet is violent
I find it hard to hide it
My pride is no longer inside
It’s on my sleeve
My skin will scream reminding me of
Who I killed inside my dream
I hate this car that I’m driving
There’s no hiding for me
I’m forced to deal with what I feel
There is no distraction to mask what is real
I could pull the steering wheel

I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence

I ponder of something terrifying
‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind
I find over the course of our human existence
One thing consists of consistence
And it’s that we’re all battling fear
Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here
Oh my, too deep, please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound

There are things we can do
But from the things that work there are only two
And from the two that we choose to do
Peace will win and fear will lose
It is faith and there’s sleep
We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive
And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think

I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence

And now I just sit in silence
And now I just sit
And now I just sit in silence
And now I just sit in silence
And now I just sit in silence
And now I just sit

I ponder of something great
My lungs will fill and then deflate
They fill with fire, exhale desire
I know it’s dire my time today

I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence

So, here I sit at 0-dark-thirty, listening to a gaggle of giggling twelve-year-old girls who will continually refuse to sleep no matter how many times I go remind them how late it is. And I pick up my pad to write personally, and I pop over here to write publicly, and I check my Facebook 18 more times, and I listen to the song “one more time” six more times. And “I have these thoughts, so often I ought / To replace that slot with what I once bought,” but I keep coming back to what I need to face.

Isn’t it always the way that the moment we know we can’t hide anymore is the same moment where we are grasping at anything and everything to avoid revealing ourselves? We have been found naked and there is nothing large enough nearby with which to cover ourselves. But what are we so afraid to reveal? And to whom?

Regardless of how many steps I’ve taken with how many different sponsors and sponsees; regardless of how many times I have been in this exact same spot, afraid to open that door for fear that it will all come crashing down on me, I am immediately taken back to a back room at IHOP where I sat alone, chain smoked, and wrote out my first sixth step. I took little slips of paper and wrote out all those fears and character defects that I had discovered in my fourth step and disclosed to my sponsor in my fifth. One by one, I put the slips of paper in the ashtray and set my cigarette to them so that they each turned to dust.

fb_img_1484963866592One last thing came to mind, which in the bigger scheme of things was so stupid and so minor, but it brought me so much shame to see it written out. This final paper I gladly burned and considered myself finished. I took a drag off my cigarette to calm my nerves, then looked down to see those shameful words still clearly visible in the ash. The waitress began walking toward me and I hurriedly stirred the ashes so that she couldn’t see what I’d burned. And suddenly it clicked. She could. Everyone could. It was written all over me. The only one who didn’t see my shame and my fear glaring like a neon sign across my forehead was me. 

That moment is indelibly printed in my memory. So now that the girls are finally asleep and the only sound is the clicking of my keyboard as I type and the slow whir of the ceiling fan overhead, I can close my eyes and see the me that I once was. I sit holding my cigarette and nakedly cowering in that back room of IHOP, dreadfully realizing that I have been the last to see how blatantly these fears have been written all over me.

And I allow my false pride to shatter.

It was nothing more than the Emperor’s new clothes, after all.

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2 responses to “And Now I Just Sit in Silence”

  1. Paul S says :

    False pride – I love when that shatters. It’s hard as hell to do it, but whenever I do it (it’s not like I don’t still manifest it – but not as much I hope!) it still burns when I let it go. But the relief after – wow!

    Love this post…and that picture…lol.

    Blessings
    Paul

  2. Laurie G. says :

    That IS a great picture! Every time I see it I think to myself, in the vernacular of these little girls who are up way too early for as late as they stayed up last night, “LOL, Same.”

    As for false pride…

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