Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Radar Kid

This is a hard blog for me to write.  I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a vast wasteland, a desert.  An arid place.  Without water.  Where little grows.  Where I've learned you have to be tough to survive.

A place where I live, yet one which is not understood by others.  A place as intrinsic to me as breathing, as vital, as much a part of my life; yet one which others deny exists.

A lonely place to be.  A place often discounted as perceptions, assumptions and opinions by those who not only don't live there, but have no idea this place exists.  Or maybe they're afraid of what this place might reveal about them.  Truth buried.  Hidden.

Welcome to my world:  the world of the "radar kid".

When you read the phrase "the radar kid", what image comes to mind?  A child with the old rabbit ears antenna coming out of his head?  Or maybe, if you're a member of the younger generation, a satellite dish?  A cell phone tower?

Do you think of extraterrestrial beings?  Someone with paranormal or psychic abilities?

As a radar kid, I'm none of these things, but rather I am very attuned to my environment, to those around me, to the tensions and currents between individuals.  Not any and all individuals, but those who are close to me: involved in some way, shape or form in my life.  This part of me which is keenly attuned to and able to pick up "signals" from the environment around me has become sharper, more focused as I have matured and my world has broadened from including only parents to including teachers, peers, co-workers, etc.  Like the furniture in the living room, it's been a part of my life since early childhood.  I know no other way to be.

During a childhood fraught with verbal abuse, confrontation, and volcanic eruptions on a daily basis, I learned to tread carefully and quietly.  To navigate dangerous emotional territory on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Fear of those verbal onslaughts was part and parcel of my early life.  As common as the love seat in the living room or my father's secretary in his bedroom (in this case "secretary" is a piece of furniture not a person).  Part of my everyday scenery.  A common occurrence.  I thought every family existed in this state of war.

During these formative years, I learned not only to tread carefully, very carefully, but to test the waters.  I learned to read the tension levels emanating from those closest to me:  my parents.

A radar kid picks up on the unspoken.  On currents between individuals.  On things no one else can sense.  The currents emanated from people are palpable to a radar kid like myself.  I can actually feel them so acutely that at times I feel like every nerve ending in my body is standing at full alert.   Sensing a strike about to happen.  Not always exactly sure what the attack is about or where it's coming from, but certain that one is in the offing.

As I've grown older and my life experience has broadened, so has this ability to pick up on currents, tensions, nuances, etc. become stronger.  In some cases, I can not only sense the currents in the air but can also smell them.  This sixth sense is my private, personal, internal CIA:  my intelligence and information gathering system.

Gossip has a palpable feel and smell to me.  The stench of gossip lingers in the air long after the words have been said.  It emanates from those who participate in the gossip themselves like the smell of cigarette smoke on a smoker.  I can feel its presence when I am near these people.  The tension, the smell also fill the room or situation in which the gossip occurred.  Just going into a room immediately after gossip is, for me, like going into an enclosed place where electrical currents are running amok, zigging and zagging all over the place.  A place filled with noxious, nauseous fumes.

The road I travel
This sixth sense has been so strong, so much a part of my life, that if the currents are strong enough, the fumes emitted strong enough, I can sense them across distances.
Sometimes I feel like this bird
Adrift and alone in an endless sea
I've known before I was called into the office for a reprimand, that something was up.  That I was in trouble.  For what?  I didn't know.  I just knew that something was brewing.  Something so strong that, once again, I felt as if every nerve ending in my body was standing on end.  Prickly.  Unsettled.  Not able to settle down.  I could actually feel not only the tension emanated in the office but the nerve endings on edge in my body.

At times this intunement to my environment has been so strong that, I've been at home several miles distant from the scenario playing out, ill, suicidal, barely able to function, yet I felt something.  Something unpleasant happening.  I sloughed off this feeling.  Thinking it was part of the breakdown I was suffering.  The phone rang.  Again, every nerve in my body was shouting at me.  Warning me.  Don't answer it.  I knew before I looked at call display who it was.  I didn't know what it was all about but something warned me that the caller was not calling to ask how I was or when I planned to return.  My husband refused to let me answer the phone.  He refused to let me listen to any voicemails left by the caller.  He refused to let me return the call.  He took me away.  Out of reach of phone or email contact.  He saved my life.

I cannot go into specifics on who called or what the calls were about.  I can only say that while I was in a life and death struggle, tensions and gossip were escalating to such an extent that I could feel them.  Sometimes, I can feel them still - months later.  I feel like I am caught in a vicious current with violent waves battering me from any and all angles.

Recent experience has revealed that my sixth sense which was warning me, advising me to be careful, was still as ready, active and able as it's ever been.  That even though I was no longer part of the situation, it was continuing in my absence.  As strong today as the day I left.  To be careful.  To tread lightly.  Just as in the days when I was growing up sensing the currents between my parents, warning me of explosions to come.

And so in the midst of turmoil and high alerts, I look back at the peaceful, tranquil times; savour the memories which brought peace to my tortured soul.  Times when the water in the sea of my emotions was quiet, as smooth as glass.  When tranquility was present.  When my soul was bathed in the light from the setting sun - and left me knowing that all was well with my soul.

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