Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I am a Word Nerd. I love words. They are significant in both sound and meaning. I need them. They have power in my mind: power to hurt, power to heal. MTL has learned and is still learning that the specific words he uses mean a great deal, and there are times when he has to think carefully about not just the intent behind the words, but the words themselves.

I imagine this makes life with me more difficult than not.

You would think, then, that I would be silver-tongued and fluid, always with the right words to say, ready to be said at the right moment. In some situations, this is the case. Put me in a classroom and I do quite well. Place me at a keyboard and I also do well. Usually.

Add stress and conflict and difficult emotions, however, and the story changes. Ask me to express my deeper feelings, my innermost thoughts, and my tongue trips and falters and stills.

Last night I lay with my head on MTL's lap, watching TV, and I turned to look at him. I reached out a hand, touched his cheek, and said, Do you have any idea how much I love you?

How much? he asked.

I should know better. It's not the first time I've said something like that. Not the first time he's returned the volley and called me out. How much do I love him? How do I express it?

I don't know how to bridge the gap between thought and tongue at times like these. Do I list all the things I love about him? It's an insufficient list. I feel like I'm only skimming the surface. Do I try to explain, as I cannot even here with the space and time to write it out, the way he has become an integral, essential part of me? How do I do that without making it sound like I've lost myself, become less instead of more? How do I say anything without sounding like a mawkish teen caught in the throes of twitterpation? How do I explain this without mimicking the trite phrases of Hallmark cards?

None of my words are enough. The only ones that make any sense are those written by others straining to put into concrete letters the intangible substance of emotion. I look mainly to e. e. cummings, who at least grasped that conventional language was not enough, and his love poems resonate like no others do for me.

Such as today, when I am overwhelmed with the evils and frustrations of the world, and leaden January weighs my mind, and so
in spite of everything
which breathes and moves,since Doom
(with white longest hands
neatening each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds

-before leaving my room
i turn,and(stooping
through the morning)kiss
this pillow,dear
where our heads lived and were.
            --e. e. cummings
I am struggling to feel sufficient: in my work, in my parenting, in my love, in myself. I am struggling to hold onto hope when my mind so much more naturally turns to despair. And how do I bridge the gap when my words refuse to take shape?

This much, I said, and I stretched my arms out and away from my breast, shoulders straining at their edge.

Is that all? he asked, laughing.

Hey! I spread my arms as wide as I could! It was an obtuse angle!

You're an obtuse angle! he replied, and he laughed again and hugged me close.

I don't know if he truly understood what I was trying to say, what I'm trying to express when I make those oh so limited sounds and gestures.

I wish he could see into my mind, feel what I feel, know what I know. I just don't have the words.

1 comment:

  1. see, I would've said "huh. sucks to be you then" and went back to watching tv.

    But I get it.