You know those times when, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to articulate the thoughts that are in your head? You know how that helpless feeling it creates can stifle and frustrate?
At the moment I’m having some problems in my personal life. Problems that really aren’t problems at all, or at least they wouldn’t be if I could find a way to express how I really think and feel in way that would make sense to those involved. That frustration of having all quarter of a million words in the English language at my disposal and not being able to find a combination of them that full articulates what I think is exhausting and, to be honest, a pain in the ass. The issues are, in reality, quite small and stupid but the words we’ve used around them have actually complicated things rather than solved, and we’ve talked, or shouted, our way into a worse place and all because we can’t find the right words to express what we need to. Which in turn leads to frustration and anger and we end up using other words that are even further from what we are trying to say and that just makes everything worse when all you really want to tell the other person is that it doesn’t really matter, that you’re over it, you don’t want to fight and you just want to draw a line under it all. That you just want a hug and, to be honest, stop talking and fighting about stuff that doesn’t matter.
But the words won’t come.
We place such importance on words – getting the right ones, at the right time. We read meaning that isn’t there, and place importance on words that don’t really mean what we think they do. We take things out of context and we confuse and muddle with our interpretations. We wound and upset. We use words like a weapon and we use them as a shield. We try to create comfort with them and we use them to convince and charm.
80% of communication is non-verbal. Things said face to face have a different meaning than the same words written in print because we don’t have the visual clues that accompany them. When we write something down the reader ONLY has our words from which to interpret our meaning and intent. This puts even more importance on the words that we chose to use, which is why it’s so hard when we can’t get the exact ones we need.
As a writer we are stuck. We obsess over the words that we need to convey something that we tend to lose sight of what we are really trying to put across. We ties ourselves up and over-complicate things and STILL we can’t express what we were trying to.
How do we deal with this?
Well, when we allow the language to weigh us down we sink. Sometimes we just need to strip the words right back, find the most simple combination we can and hope that the reader gets it. The worst thing we can do is to focus on the words rather than the meaning. We’ll never find the perfect words and we’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to.
Sometimes you just have to say that your sorry and hope that’s enough.