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Feelings and Words -- Sense

In commenting on my Abject Obedience post, Malcolm wrote (in part):
...Somewhat like me, you always want to think things out and put them into words ... I'm not sure that is very profitable ... Trying to make word sense of life is not the same as making feeling sense of it ... the feeling way is more useful. Words ... narrow down one's experience of life and even make it kind of second-hand - experiencing the thoughts about life instead of life itself.

Malcolm is, I believe, my oldest blogging friend.  The very first comment ever left at The Swan's Heart, way back on December 27, 2004, was from Malcolm -- and he has followed along ever since.  He and I have listened to each other, and on occasion, growled at one another across miles and over some eight years of our lives.  Somewhat older than me, I think Malcolm tends to wax "paternal" with me by times -- and that is sort of sweet and endearing.  We have learned, over time, to understand (and sometimes even appreciate) the differences in the ways we see the world.  This is one of those times, when Malcolm and I see this very differently.  
I do try to make "word sense" of life and the experiences of life that come to me.  Words fascinate me, and I absolutely believe that words are intrinsically human.  We are animals that make language and share language, and that makes us unique of all the creatures that share this planet with us.  
The words we use define our reality.  The feeling sense of things, that Malcolm claims is somehow "better," occurs inside of us framed by the words we use to express it, explain it, evaluate it, and remember it.  What we SAY about things, to ourselves and to each other, colors how we FEEL about those very things.  I can describe a hurricane in the language of the meterologist, noting the symmetry, describing the path, going on about the eyewall and the outflow bands and the storm surge -- and the feelings that are evoked by my words are likely to be very different than the emotions I might experience if the same weather event is described in terms of potential threat level and likely path of destruction and fears for the impacts on me personally, should I find myself in the path of that "weather event."  We feel and we talk, and I do not believe that the two are really separable.  What I say about what happens to me may reflect how I feel about that occurrence, but it will also shape those feelings.
Malcolm, I can assure you that there is no dearth of FEELINGS around the events of the last two years.  We have felt every gust and downpour of the emotional storms through which we passed.  That hurricane might be a very good metaphor for the tempests that we endured -- except, I don't recall ever passing through anything that seemed calm (as I have been told one finds in the eye of a hurricane).  There was plenty of "feeling sense" around here -- and plenty of "feeling nonsense" as well.  We each earned advanced degrees in FEELING by the time we fell out the other side of that mess.  
There was very little intellectualizing about what we were involved with.  We lived, for all of two plus years, in survival mode -- we raged and we sobbed and we considered the END of us all.  We hurt; inside of ourselves -- and then we took that hurting and flung it outward at one another, seeking to somehow ease our own pain by spreading it around.  Does pain shared become somehow more bearable?  We felt shame.  And fear.  And anger.  And loneliness.  And despair.  And guilt.  And outrage.  And bitterness.  And grief.  And, more often than not, we felt just too tired to go on.  We didn't write much here during this passage -- not compared to what we had done in the days before.  As you point out, it takes words to make a blog happen.  No one is going to read very long if all that appears here looks/sounds like:  AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
But yes, I will grant you that I am inclined to sort and sift through the debris -- just a little bit.  I want to find the mementos that might be salvaged out of the rubble left behind by the storm.  Might there be the "language equivalent" of a family picture or a child's toy or an heirloom piece of Grandmother's jewelry to be unearthed from the heaps of stuff piled everywhere?  For me, Malcolm, that is part of what the exercise of poking at WORDS is about.  The language that I used before, and the language I used to stay afloat through the worst of it all -- those words seem like important bits of self that I hope to retrieve, and I do feel protective and sentimental about that self.  I doubt that there's much left behind that will be very useful in my new life, but still I find I want to gather up the bits and pieces and catalog them and tuck them away safely in mental bins and boxes and scrapbooks, so that, someday, when I've forgotten how it all felt I can pull up the collection of memories and look at it all again from a safe distance.

1 comment:

  1. Really, has it been that long? Yes, it has - I looked it up.


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