Ashley Torrent

It's Not So Quiet In Here


My mind is a bad neighborhood I try not to go into alone.
— Anne Lamott

I felt like a hypocrite.  That it would take a while for me to settle into the pace of South Carolina after living in New York City for 14 years, was an understatement.  I imagined my nervous system would be in shock, but I was completely unprepared for how disconnected and spiritually starved I had become.  Most days, I was treading water.  I was unnerved and disappointed.  I speak to my clients weekly about mindfulness and self care and realized that I hadn't been practicing either.  My mind was running the show.  The demons that had been hiding underneath my frenetic lifestyle had found their perch in the peace and quiet of my new home.   Needless to say, stepping  into presence hasn't been easy or pretty.


Left the Noise of the City and All I Can Hear is the Noise in My Head

My head is like a swarm of bees.  Thoughts buzzing, self-criticisms buzzing, to-do lists buzzing, but at the end of the day there is no honey.  Where is the sweet nectar of my life?  Where is the joy, the peace, the reward for all the doing?  I am tense, confused and on the verge of a meltdown for no apparent reason.  Checking my phone is like taking a hit off a cigarette, it helps ease the symptoms but the quiet of this place can feel unsettling and I am yearning for busyness and distraction.   My soul aches to slow down, to take a nap or sit outside in the sun but I can't tolerate either; stillness and clarity feel impossible.

My mind is like a muddy pond and I have lost connection to the truth of who I am and what is important.   My iPhone has become a weapon of self destruction that I carry with me at all times.   It conveniently allows me online where I compare myself to everything I see, only reinforcing the feeling that I am just not good enough.  It also serves as a constant distraction from the present moment.  When not online, I am pacing, looking for something I “should” be doing that feels productive and in the process I have left several things unfinished.  It looks as if a crazy person might live here.  Laundry half folded, dishwasher half emptied, lunch half eaten, half a page of a journal filled before I walked away to “do” something else.  The chaos in my head is translated to the chaos in my house and I wonder where the time has gone and how I actually managed to take care of two children in the process.  Where the fuck did taking it easy go and when did life become one big grocery list? 

I moved 700 miles away from the loudest city I can imagine.  Now that the noise of the city has quieted down, the volume in my head is mind numbing.  I can't let my new environment in because I am wound so tight.   Enough with the phone, enough with the out of control mind, and enough with the never enough.  It's not so quiet in here.          


The boogeyman is everywhere and there is definitely a monster under my bed.    Fear is my constant companion and she whispers in my ear all the what if's....   What if loving my husband and kids so much means I will lose them?  What if I open my heart to my friend and she rejects me?   What if I write and it is shit?  What if I admit that I am good enough, and find out that I am not after all?  I want to fly close to the sun but I am afraid that my wings are made of wax.  The to do lists and the busyness are all the ways I avoid feeling vulnerable/intimacy/joy.  Fear diminishes the  colors of my life and sometimes I feel like Dorothy before she made it to Oz.  My life is like a cocktail that has sat in the sun for too long.  My life is diluted.


Copyright © 2015 by Ashley Torrent