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It’s not about running away with my hands clasped to the sides of my head yelling, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you, la la la la la!” It’s also not about being ever-vigilant for a discouraging word, because what a fun game that is! I can completely ignore myself and spend the afternoon listening for other people’s defects. Some of them are quite nuanced; you have to go digging. My alcoholism agrees that it’s a wonderful use of my time.

And once I believe I’ve heard something particularly damning, well, I just have to send it out through the mouthhole. I’m looking for agreement on others’ perceived shortcomings. Creating discord, not so much for the unaware person I’m gossiping about, but out of my thought process. Righteous anger needs the info. My ears are spring-set traps. It doesn’t even matter if they hear correctly. Misinterpreted half-hears can be just as affective; perhaps more so. Letting my disease play “Mad Libs” with floating dialogue never ends with harmless giggles.

So, what’s it about? I believe it’s about hearing what’s being said, not what I want to hear. Filters of agendas and secret motives feed my paranoia good and plenty. Stop listening into things. In actuality, almost nothing I hear is in any way an attack.

The secret? The less I hold onto, the more that floats by.

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