An Exercise in Language.

I am, at this moment, inspired to write, but that inspiration is met with a complete lack of content. It’s as if I’m desperate to draw a masterpiece and have the charcoal and the paper but nothing to draw. I can’t promise this will make it anywhere, but I’m going to start it anyway, just in case something actually becomes of it. But trying to capture the feeling–it’s almost an ineffable frustration.

Have you ever tried to describe an indescribable feeling? You search for words to measure the intensity, to calibrate the importance, endlessly seeking the metaphor that will appropriately wrap up your experience in a way that can be commercialized and distributed to those you know, those you love, and sometimes complete strangers.

I’m not the kind of person that’s often at a loss for words. Words come freely and naturally, each balancing itself against the others to form complex ideas and paint elaborate pictures for those who receive them. But sometimes, there are none.

There are no words for the disappointment you feel in the exact second you discover that crying in a public place is inevitable. It’s a complete helplessness that can make even the most touching and heartwarming video an unwelcome nuisance. It’s the loss of control from which myriad excuses are born–I’m about to sneeze. There’s a lash in my eye. My contact is torn.

Similarly, there is no word for that instant where inspiration fades. When you move from elation–a fire burning in your soul to change the world, to create, to leave your mark–to recognition that now isn’t a good time, the weight is too heavy, the lighting all wrong.

How does one describe feeling like sadness is a most beautiful aspect of the human soul or that happiness can only ever be as bright by contrast? How does one explain the combination of excitement and dread that the life you are living is moving forward constantly, revealing it’s vast, expansive self to you with each day, showing you things you never expected to see, while continuously moving by you, disappearing almost instantly into the past until your youth becomes your prime becomes your mid-life crisis becomes your retirement becomes your old age and, inevitably, your resolution.

I have trouble reconciling my desire to be open, honest, and engaged with my desire to retreat. My need to seek and be sought with my need to disappear. My feelings of happiness peppered with peace that leave behind crows feet and a perfect, bittersweet taste with the magic that comes from feeling your heart swell with that same bittersweetness.

I’ve said it before that I feel compelled to somehow be more. I’ll say it now that the indescribable weight of more pushes me forward as much as it pins me down. What more can I do? I do love to write, but I struggle to find anything worth writing about when it feels like all the words I need are just out of reach.

So how does one describe a feeling so indescribable? With things near to it, but not quite. With synonyms that feel just slightly off. With hopes that someone out there will just understand, smile, and nod because sometimes there are no words.

Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe language fails us so that we must experience life for ourselves, unable to read a story, see a photo, or watch a video about it.

Maybe that’s the point of the inexpressible–that it must be felt instead.


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