That is how I feel about words. Words take the meaning of things that have life and breath and depth, and they cut those things down to script size, narrow their definitions, and present them to you in a neat sentence, grammar included (usually). The word dinosaur, for instance. It does not convey every bit of research conducted, every fossil recovered and painstakingly reassembled, every game or movie that inspired fear in the hearts of it’s viewers. It is inadequate for all of it’s possibilities.
There are those three little words. You know the ones. Anyone who speaks English knows them. They are famous. But to hear them for yourself…. What should one expect? Perhaps one may feel trapped by them. They’re quite heavy, you know. They carry the weight of their importance on the tip of the tongue, as if to teach you the impact of your actions in a “learn from your own mistakes” sort of way.
You see, it’s not in the common vernacular of our lives to watch this interaction take place. We don’t get the privilege of following another person through that experience the first time around before we test it out ourselves. We simply have what we have, which is our own. It is private, and it is serious, and I’m sure it holds so much more than imagined, and yet somehow… so. much. less.
I believe that those words, oh gibber jabber that words are, hold no candle to that which there are no words for. I suppose I had never thought this completely through, but I do not now think that I want those words. They are empty and meaningless without history, which is the substance of which we are compiled.
There is no word for the feeling that comes when you realize you have made a lifelong friend. You didn’t plan on it, and it wasn’t a goal, but it happened. And one day while you were sitting in your favorite chair, or perhaps you were waiting on a bus, or maybe even on the phone with your mother, it doesn’tmatter where you were (except to you, of course), it hit you. Like a flood of fresh to the wind butterflies, unsure of their direction and unable to avoid brushing up against the looming figure that is your intellect, you’re swarmed by the realization that this person will be your comrade regardless of where that wild and headstrong wind of life takes you. No, there is no word for that feeling.
I had a professor in college that used to hate on words, brilliant as she was. She liked to talk about the idea of communication as if it were a plate of spaghetti. The spaghetti looks one way on your plate, but when given to another, when poured onto their plate… Well, it looks entirely different. And not only does it look different, but there are now sauce splatters all over the edges of the plate (if not your white tablecloth as well). Her point was that emotions are difficult to transfer; feelings are hard to convey; and that we never really know whether we’re on the same page when words are required, because we define them differently. All of us.
So those three words, they are only so much. They are an attempt, only. There is so much more to be heard and felt and conveyed, without the three little words comprised of English letters. There is a hurricane of fresh to the wind butterflies awaiting those that would be willing to abandon their shelters of constructed space and let the rain of a new season ruin their new suit. There are no adequate words for that feeling of utter abandonment. Are there ever adequate words? I doubt it.
There is so. much. more.