On The Moments That The Words Don’t Reach

(Note: I went to see Hamilton this weekend, and YES, the show was incredible, and what has really shaken me to my core is the song about the Hamiltons moving uptown).

Learning to live with the unimaginable.

What do you do when there is nothing to do?

When the shadow has taken root deep in your heart, made it it’s home.

You welcome it, you make its bed – but you leave the door open. You let it come and go as it pleases, acknowledging when it’s there but letting it live somewhere else from time to time.

Oh, you again.Learning to live with the unimaginable.

And that’s just it, the unintelligible difficulty in it all — you cannot imagine, you can’t conjure up an image to go along with the description —

Psychologists reveal that language is a fundamental element of emotion — words make meaning, dialogue can conceptualize. Images cut straight to the chase – no need to process a word, just an image flash brain registers andbody feels.

There’s an article in the Atlantic* — “Do you feel something less strongly if you don’t have a word for it?”

I don’t think so. Maybe you feel it even more strongly, because it lingers, you can put a finger to it but not a name — oh, you again.

Just as chemical compounds (e.g., NaCl) emerge from more basic elements and possess attributes that their constitutive elements do not—NaCl (sodium chloride, or commonly, table salt) has properties that are not reducible to either sodium, which is a member of the alkali metal family, or chlorine, which is a type of halogenic gas—psychological compounds such as emotions are more than the sum of representations of the body.**

You can’t empathize, you can’t summarize, you can’t describe in enough detail to invoke in the other person that kind of heartbreak that rips through your veins and creates a canyon in the middle of your spine. A canyon that sometimes quakes with so much might that you are forced down to your knees, forced to simply grit your teeth and endure, as the shivers tear your very foundation further apart.

Gentle, how to be gentle.

This is the lesson I am learning. This is the task I am giving myself in order to prop the door ajar, to let the shadow come and go, dancing across the walls.

Soften, don’t let it lock you up inside.

Oh, it’s you.

But alas, here, too, is me.

xx mm