By Tannis Kelm

Noise can be oh so loud or as quiet as no one else, but you being able to hear it often drowns out the sound of an encouraging word when you need it most. Noise is often considered negative, but it can be joyful, it can be intricate, it can be one singular expression or so many things at once you can’t even count.

Make some noise. Show you’re a part of it, be a member, let it go. It’s important to get it out at times, whatever is inside can root around a bit, hold you back. Noise is capable of soothing or scaring away, it can coax out what is deep down to surface or push something inside to remain silent.

Noise is the gathering of all or one singular thing over and over. It’s good and bad, love and hate, sound and silence. We’re told to turn it up or off as it is so influential it can determine a mood or launch an action.

I’ve listened to a tesla coil snap up and back, feedback that turned into drops from the ceiling, wondrous examples of noise that not everyone appreciates. I’ve been a part of White Noise, noise in extra bits and pieces unplanned then used to an advantage, layer upon layer.

But what if all you can hear is a voice over and over in your head? What if that noise blocks out all the rest, everything that is meant to be appreciated, so easily picked up by others and enjoyed, them not hearing what you hear?

There was a time when I heard voices frequently; I started to hear things that weren’t there or they contorted. I would still hear the good, but sometimes those voices would say things that would make me question if it was good, if it all wasn’t an elaborate set up to get rid of me.

I convinced myself of it so inherently, I still go there and worry about it. I decided to try blocking out the noise infiltrating the peace we should all enjoy, gather all the noises that continuously fall off what’s important, the proper mentor, a better way and use them to say things in such a manner as would help someone suffering the same. I’ve learned ways to identify that imaginary path and keep pebbles in my pockets to find my way back instead of breadcrumbs.

But what if you had no context and didn’t know you were mentally unfit? You, undiagnosed, but an extreme case. The one part of your brain that competes with impulsiveness taking over and you no longer question it, just believe it.

If we never talk about these things, if we try to deny them and they are repressed, we go so far away; we aren’t ourselves. It’s hard to excuse murder. It’s easier to lay blame, eye for an eye. The accused hears that noise, it never silences, constantly running through their mind.

The noises so convincing before questioned and examined, the conscience determined, the regret or remorse surfacing or non-existent. “I don’t want that murderer to live near me,” people so quick to give opinion on social media. But what if the “murderer” has been writing this article?

I was more concerned with the noise I’d hear if I didn’t have the abortion. I made my choice in an instant to have it and held true to that for three months before the procedure took place.

Premeditated murder to some I’m sure, but to me a reminder of my failure to attract someone who would actually love and respect me and wanting that to subside, not be a victim anymore.

Those months were difficult, the procedure painful and I remember thinking they must have hired all these white, middle-class actors to sit in the waiting room and read text books with gowns on. That this was my first step into being ostracized.

Though these years have been taxing on my mind, I can’t even imagine the pain in raising two children and possibly seeing them die by your own hand. Lisa Gibson suffering postpartum depression then perhaps snapping out of that to realize what she had done.

Noise blocking any compassion for herself, not wanting to hear everyone with their opinions, drowning herself as well as her children, being diagnosed, but not given the proper treatment.

Schizophrenia comes about in the same way, especially if you have no idea that you are suffering from it. They are able to treat it in Vince Li because it was such a violent public act first responders were called so he survived himself. He had no direct attachment to Tim McLean and the act would make the noise inside subside, believing what it said wouldn’t lie, finding out later what he’d done and wanting to die because of it.

There was an undiscovered noise inside me when I got pregnant, but I wanted it out and I’d been told there’s that option. All the pro-life protests fill my head with noise and I can’t create something new only run the same thing over in my head continuously at times.

I worry they will enslave me and force me to have a child then discard me, discard me like so many who haven’t been taught properly. Like Vince Li, never being properly diagnosed and listening to the noise disguised as truth inside his head.

There are so many children in this world who don’t have the proper means to succeed or even get the proper care that my choice to have an abortion shouldn’t be an issue. I did it not to punish an unborn child, but to silence the worry that would have came if I had carried it to term.

I wish I could go back. I hope I’m not a bad person. I don’t know what I did, but I wish I could make up for it. These are the noises I hear now but keeping my days full and  living each day as my last silences the voices, or at least I don’t have that time to think of them.

My mind is pretty sound when it doesn’t listen to the noise of people who like to shame without having been in the position themselves. I can look at postpartum depression, schizophrenia or anyone else who decides to have an abortion from an outside perspective and know I would never judge anyone who suffers from it as harshly as I treat myself.

I have to forgive myself among all of this noise I hold inside me if in that same situation that would still be the choice I would have made.

So, noises, if I don’t make it to tomorrow thank you for the music, it really is just so beautiful.


Tannis Kelm is a singer/songwriter who performs under the name Hors. Find her on Facebook, Twitter , Sound Cloud, Tumblr, or her Gold Chair Sessions videos on YouTube. Tune in to CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. for her show, Listening Pleasures.

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