Monday, January 14, 2013

When Words Are All I Have

There are times in life when words fail me.  Sometimes they fail my heart.  Sometimes they fail my mind.

When it comes to interactions with others, it could be for any number of reasons – from physical distance to overwhelming circumstances.  Whatever the reason, I often feel that letters and syllables cannot possibly encompass all that my heart wants to express.

If I’m lucky, life allows for alternate methods of communication, like physical presence or standing in or helping out.  A way to show, instead of say. A way to shift the balance to hope, to life, to good with action instead of words.  These opportunities should not be wasted.  I know from experience the regret of letting such an opportunity go by without seizing it.

Yet, sometimes, I can’t be there and there is nothing I can do, no matter how much I care. This is more reality than a matter of missed opportunity.  Life and circumstances can be too messy or too limiting or too distancing to allow for action or presence; all I have to offer are words, when words seem useless to my heart.

I'm learning, however, these are the times to stop trying so damn hard to find exactly the right thing to say and let my heart figure out the words.  Yes, it is incredibly frightening to be vulnerable and to risk saying the wrong thing.  I do worry that the words will come out wrong or be taken in a way I don't intend or ultimately won't communicate what I actually feel.  Yet I'm striving to discern the times when keeping the words in my heart to myself is another form of missing an opportunity to shift the balance.  I'm trying to make myself let my heart speak despite my uncertainty.

Words can also fail me when I try to explain what's in my head and come up short. This can happen when I'm trying to explain something to someone else, but also when I'm trying to work something out in my own thoughts to gain that elusive prize of understanding – a deeper understanding that can be defined and set to words instead of remaining a half-formed gut-feeling I don't fully comprehend.

Considering my limitations when it comes to words, I realized that as I figure out what to weave, words have to be my partner as I sort and separate.  Once I begin to weave, words will help me avoid relying too heavily on emotions I can’t articulate and which can be easily swayed or disturbingly fickle. Focusing on getting the words right will help me stay present and focused.  Of course, I can't entirely ignore the words from my heart, the ones I need to sustain my hope of shifting the balance.  What I weave must come from my heart as well as my mind and it will come to life in letters and syllables and sentences.

I'm still not sure I will be able to live up to these expectations I've placed on myself.  I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to strike the right balance and find the right words.  My baggage, my unraveled mess – I don’t know if I can make them make sense to me, let alone to anyone else.  But I think that if words are all I have to work with, they have to be enough.  I have to keep trying.

cast aside
the filters
and the synonyms
to let the
as they form.
facades and
string together sentiments
from where they exist
carefully guarded.
the space between
with honesty
and fragile thoughts.
words are all you have,
you must speak your heart.

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