As my insomnia- and sinus-sickness-addled brain labored over word choices in what was begun as an exercise in writing about something serious in a humorous tone, the thought occurred to me (not for the first time) how easy it is for us to try so hard to get “the right words,” as if we have any control over how anyone else responds to what we say, that we get farther and farther away from our original intention.
If it is easy to do that in a writing exercise that no one else is looking at, how much easier is it for the truth to get lost when we are addressing our words to someone else, and the words are personal and vulnerable? When the fear of being misunderstood or doing harm or being rejected can so easily lead us never to really say what we mean, whether we use too many words or too few or words that are lies or no words at all? How easy is it to convince ourselves it is better, hell, it is the right thing to do, to say nothing at all? As if it has nothing to do with us being scared, or selfish, or both.
Too fucking easy.
If we just come out with short sentences made up of small, specific, easily understandable, true words, someone might actually get what we mean, and if they don’t respond the way we want, we don’t have that last little sad security blanket of telling ourselves that maybe it wasn’t failure, maybe it wasn’t rejection, maybe they just misunderstood (with a little help from our self-protective/self-destructive total fucking vagueness). And the more vulnerable the truths, it seems, the more readily we let our fear take over and destroy any chance we will be heard, or understood, and any chance of possibly getting the response we wish for.
I bet you know the kind of short-but-scary sentences I am talking about.
Why did you hurt me? Are you sorry? Do you love me? Does it matter to you that I am hurt? Why did you leave? Where did you go? Will you come back? Will you help me? I was scared. I am scared. I am sorry. I am not sorry. I love you. I don’t love you. I was hiding. I lied. I fucked up. It was my fault. Yes. No. I am hurt. I got hurt. I was rejected. I was wrong. I am lonely. I don’t know. I don’t want to. I chose not to. I choose not to. I care. I don’t care.
And then there are the questions we are maybe even more afraid to ask, and rarely do, because as much as we want answers, we know there aren’t any…and even if they were (there aren’t), we don’t want answers, we want to be contradicted.
The scariest of these, probably, is “Why don’t you love me?”
I guess another thing I need to practice with my words is how to strike a balance between wanting to be sincere and sounding full of shit, and being the kind of thoughtlessly-spewing douche who applauds myself for being honest as if being honestly, shittily self-centered is something to applaud. Not just to be a better writer, or a better communicator, but to be a better person.
I’m sure that’ll be super easy. No problem. Yeah. I’ve got this. No doubt about it. And also other fear-appeasing, vulnerability-masking lies.