Some years back, a certain acquaintance of mine had undergone the sort of pressure that invites tears. When I had noticed it and asked them what was wrong, they said things that mean they couldn’t take it anymore and that it was too much for them. I hadn’t seen the tears yet by that time; the eyes were indeed red, and swollen. The face was shifting, like it wasn’t able to breathe. The waterworks only started after I had compassionately brought up the subject of tears in an endearing request to not cry. It was like I reminded that face with those eyes about their struggle, and at that point they gave in. It was actually beautiful in its own way.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. I would like to share something I have discovered about myself, and something I believe happens to all of you too. It is about expressing sadness and frustration.
I believe sadness is a much later phase than what actually leads to it. If there’s a chain of events that take place in one’s heart, sadness is from the very last. The striking happenings that introduce this powerful emotion merit some observation. These things are actually never justly expressed in words, simply because no words can give them justice. I would even say that the subject of those feelings, while they are feeling them, does not really realize their true potency.
And this happens to me. When I look at my writings I find two kinds: a sad post about an event that had actually taken place long enough in the past for it to be capable of bearing words in my heart, and a sad post about a recent event that wasn’t really sad anyway, but that had evoked enough muse in me to summon prose.
The first kind is usually much more powerful in both style and depth, while the second tends to be frail and out of sorts. I also noticed that some horrible experiences never reached the phase of being written, either because healing is still due, or because they got channeled out some way else. Although I would have liked to write many of my stories down, I actually am grateful that many of them had escaped me through those mysterious channels. I still think writing is amazing, but let me tell you about something that is greater.
For writing to catch an emotion of yours, it has to be a burden first. It has to have to be written for it to be written, and it would always risk writing blocks and other distractions, and even if those were surmounted, words might not give it the justice you had striven for, and you’d end up painfully undone.
However, if that raw emotion of yours was communicated to other significant people in your life in a way that has more understanding from their side in it than words from you, then you might not even reach sadness, not severely so anyway. Now, writers make the mistake of substituting people with words and it never makes them happy. I for one am guilty of loneliness because of this; because the companionship of words has actually divested me of life companions.
Life companions might look mundane to a writer, but I acutely remember each time I had let my heart out to a friend, a family member, a parent or a relative, and it usually is much more genuine and relieving.
I remember an aunt’s hug I once dived into along with my tears. I remember complete lifetimes with my sister. Many pearls of wisdom I had learned from my parents, and everything of those had included emotions that would have led to sadness had the members related to them not been in the picture.
Right now I feel lonely, not because the people do not exist, but because I had mistakenly taught myself to give them up for words.
I regret it.
Be careful of that, my fellow writers.