My ears are one of my best features. Really. Okay, so I don’t mean that in a physical way.
(Side note: Although, I do have a kind of cute little bump on the top of my right ear. I’ve always liked it because I inherited it from my Papa. I used to tell other kids that I had the bump because I was really part elf. Every Christmas Eve some of Santa’s elves would come to get me, and I would go to the North Pole to help out. Of course, I couldn’t give them any details because I couldn’t really remember myself. The only reason I knew the truth was because I would wake up Christmas morning with snow behind my ears. Clever kid, huh?)
The reason my ears are one of the best things about me is the way they hear. Music, sounds, voices, accents, everyday conversations… My ears hear and then they don’t forget. I guess it’s my super power.
I have always had a natural knack for music. Mostly singing. I say natural because I never really learned to read music. For those of you who know me you either A) already knew that or B) are totally shocked. I have spent my whole life singing. I have been in every choir imaginable since Elementary School. I was in all the musicals. I sang the National Anthem for school functions. I belted out to the best of my ability in every talent show. But no, I cannot read music. I just listen to the song, and I know it. The music is in me. Cheesy, right? But it’s true.
I do wish I could read music. It would make me a better musician by far. I tried to learn. I took piano lessons when I was ten, and only ended up frustrating myself and my teacher. See, I would never practice because I would memorize the songs so easily. I never looked at the sheet music while I played – the written notes meant nothing to me. I just sounded it out. It’s the same way I learn to sing a new song… I need to hear it first. This is a handy ability to have, but also a bit of curse. I never forced myself to learn because I felt like I didn’t need to. I was prideful about my gift. Now, I can’t just pick up a piece of music I don’t know and sing it for you. So, there’s that.
This strange super power I have also translates into every day speech. I have always loved to imitate people. The way their voices sound. The lilts, the musicality, the patterns. I grew up mimicking any interesting thing that I heard. When I was pretty young I decided I really didn’t like my own laugh… I started listening to other people’s laughs trying to find a new one. (Weird, I know) To this day anyone I laugh with can tell you I have about 500 different ways of laughing. I think they are all just things I have heard that are now ingrained in my own patterns. I am pretty good at accents and dialects which is very helpful in my chosen profession. It is not without practice, but it’s fairly simple for me to learn a new way of speaking.
My ears and the things they hear have some sort of strange connection with my brain, with my memory. I hear and remember the music, the notes, the laughs, the voices. I also remember conversations, words spoken to me. I could have been quoted in high school telling people, “Never tell me anything you don’t want me to remember because I never forget.” It was true. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The things I hear stick with me.
Or… they did. This is why I am writing this blog. Not because I wanted to brag about my Super Ears, but because lately I feel like my super power is fading. Over the last few years it has become harder for me to remember all of the things I hear. Maybe I am getting old? Maybe there is just too much stored in my head? Or maybe I am not a good listener anymore? I am just not sure, but I am sure that I don’t want to lose my hearing capabilities!
So, this is what I am thinking… I have noticed that the more media I immerse myself in the less I truly listen. I try too hard to multitask. I am talking to my husband while I am surfing around Facebook, watching a movie, and texting someone else. It’s just too much. My hearing, my attention, my focus is divided and stretched too thin. I am “listening,” but things are slipping through the cracks. My super power is not infallible. I can blame the media and social networking for my lapse in super abilities, but really it comes down to me.
I have a choice. I can decide how I spend my time, what I want to focus on. I truly don’t believe humans are built to do so many things at the same time. So, I don’t want to anymore. I am going to make conscious choices about my time, priorities, and relationships. I am going to choose to only do one thing at a time. What’s the rush, right? When I am talking to my long distance friends on the phone I will not also be on the computer. When I am having a conversation with my husband I will not also be perusing IMDb. I am certainly not saying Facebook, texting, and the television are bad things. They are wonderful and helpful when used in a healthy way, but I think I could spend less time focusing on those things. I could put my phone down when a real live person asks me a question. I can and will spend more time having real conversations with those I love. I think this will make me a better listener. That’s really what my “super power” is all about. I want to use the ability I have to give my friends and family the attention, focus, and love they deserve.
Let’s do this Super Ears!