“A Winter’s Day, in a deep and dark December.” Thus starts “I am a Rock,” the Simon and Garfunkel anthem of the 1960s lost generation, and my personal theme song of that time. I memorized and deeply felt every word, which became imbedded in my psyche as justification for my solitary, unhappy life.
“I touch no one and no one touches me” is the price I paid to never be touched or hurt again. Singing the song out loud in my own isolated, impenetrable fortress, the words were powerful and I tearfully sang through feelings of sadness and anger. Is this the only way I can ever be safe? Do I really have to shut out the entire world to ensure I would never be hurt again? Are friendships totally out of my life forever?
The song ends with “And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” However, I did feel pain clear down to my soul, and I cried – a lot. So, I was neither a rock nor an island – but what was I?
Gradually, through help, I came to realize that I am a person – a human being capable of loving and worthy of being loved. I slowly released the anger over my stolen childhood and emerged into a life filled with contrasts and choices, ups and downs, and struggles and successes. A life of colors, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. A life meeting people of every size and shape, learning from their stories and sharing some of my own experiences. A life of friendships and happiness, with occasional disappointments and restarts.
In my mind, I rewrote the end of the song: And a rock feels no joy, and an island never loves.
Wishing hope to all of the “Rocks” and “Islands” who have entered into a life that initially may contain some pain and uncertainty, but reveals joy and happiness as you walk along the path away from your fortress of isolation. Never give up HOPE.
All quotes are from “I am a Rock” written by Paul Simon • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, and performed by Simon and Garfunkel.