Nothing and Everything

I would like to write a post in sounds or actions because it has felt, over the past few weeks, like I am unable to speak. Words, which I have always believed to be fundamental to connection, have felt elusive and inadequate; and the sense of what I am trying to say, just out of reach. The sentences form – and then when I open my mouth or touch finger to keypad, I find that the order of words has suddenly gone. At other times, I know exactly what I want to say, but there are a hundred reasons why I can’t.

And so I have sat, staring at a blank screen, desperate to write my thoughts into sense. Have been on the edge of speaking– and then yanked myself back before casting the lifeline. Have strung words into order, and then edited out the meaning until they don’t say what I really want. It has felt, horribly, as though I have been gagged.

Earlier today I sent a very special friend a message. It said nothing and everything. I sent it knowing that I was lost for words, but also that I was desperate to reach out.

This is what I learnt –

  • That sometimes you have to start at the outside of the conversation  – hello, I’m here, I want to start speaking – and talk inwards until you reach what you are trying to say.
  • That it is the dialogue, sometimes, that helps extract the meaning; and that words are different in interaction than they are on their own.
  • That you can borrow words when you are struggling; and that sometimes, other people can say it better than you can.
  • That it helps to say that you do not have the words, rather then to sit back and let the silence grow.
  • That sometimes it does not matter what you say because the connection can be founded in words that have already been said.
  • That wanting to speak is normal because telling our stories is one of the most important things that we do.
  • That it is probably the connection I am seeking and the words, whilst important, are a vehicle rather than an end goal.
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13 responses to “Nothing and Everything

  1. So true. Absolutely with everything and I completely empathise and understand.

    Nothing more needs to be said. 🙂

  2. Words are a cool trick, but they’re just symbols for ideas and concepts and feelings. It’s the ideas and concepts and feelings that matter. It’s pretty neat that I can type “help” and “love” and “support” and “believe” and “hug”, and that when I do, you understand mostly what I’m alluding too. But it’s still the emotion behind the words that matters. Know what I mean? 😉

    • Yes and no. I am finding it very confusing. I kinda realised that when I was talking about language with my Godmother last week (the inspiration for this post ) but I think I am getting confused with writing and speaking and how they work. Like sometimes the words are the meaning and sometimes they help you get there? Or that writer’s block feels very like the inability to speak – as well as the words being meaningful, the act of articulating an experience has a power of its own. Is this making any sense?!! Maybe these are different to the times when you just want to reach out and the medium, then, is irrelevant? Or maybe I’m being too complicated… 🙂

      Just been thinking recently about how powerful words are and this thing about stories and the notion of story-telling keeps cropping up everywhere I look. Is very frustrating. And now I’m rambling… But yes, I totally get what you’re saying and sometimes the word “hug” is a wonderful stand in. And sometimes it falls flat – but I guess those times are when the word is not bulked out by the genuine emotion. Maybe.

      Will stop now . 😉

  3. I love this post. I sometimes get lost in the words. I write them all day, and I attach them to everything, and when I can’t come up with them, it’s very unnerving. A friend was talking about photography today. She said that in the same way words are the primary language of my soul, pictures are the primary language of hers. (Of course, she’s able to express stuff like that, so I think her soul speaks fluently in both.) 😉

    I especially LOVE this: “… sometimes you have to start at the outside of the conversation – hello, I’m here, I want to start speaking – and talk inwards until you reach what you are trying to say.”

    Wow. I wish I wrote that. But I’m so glad you did. Thank you for that.

  4. Yes – totally yes to the unnerving thing. I think that’s what’s going on. I think in words. Not in pictures. I feel through sounds and sometimes speak through them – but more often than not, words are my medium. And, so, when I don’t have the words I lose connection with what I’m feeling and it is unnerving. Like I am lost.

    And then the connection bit comes in because the words are also the way to the other thing that is grounding (connections), so it can sometimes get all muddled up.

    And then (just to confuse myself further) I realise that there is another level beyond the words that I can’t quite articulate and yet is more powerful still – that lies in the unsaid and the intuitively known….

    And then my mind goes bang!

    I guess I’m still trying to figure this all out. Or explore it rather than resolve it. Thanks for helping me along 😉 xx

  5. Sometimes I worry words do not thoroughly get across what I mean. Like the thing itself is so much greater than words. And that can be hard as a love of words myself. I have had to learn to just be in the moment, but some ideas or thoughts I want to share are just too big to get down into words. This is why I love dialogues, and in person discussions, because you make gestures, facial expressions and so much more of what being said IS what is unsaid. Thats very different than written thoughts are ideas stand alone.

    • So sorry for the belated reply….totally agree with this and the dialogue thing has been increasingly important to me. The exchange of words and how we make sense of things together when sometimes we can’t alone. It’s fasinating how the two elements interact.

  6. Sometimes, in person, all you need to do is just show up and look a person (loved one) in the eyes.

  7. I struggle to comment on your posts because I have no words. I suppose I shoul just say that even though I struggle to express it, I appreciate your writing.

    • Thank you. I find that too: that sometimes I don’t have the words to comment but I just want to say that I have been there! Really appreciate you stopping by too. xx

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