Sometimes words are all we have.

Sometimes we are moved to speak our hearts.

Sometimes, who knows why, what we speak means something to someone.

Sometimes, in complete defiance of all reason, what we speak means what we so fervently wish it to mean to the one we are speaking!

In my experience, the person that has difficulty in expressing feelings with words either doesn't know a great deal of words or has troubles with admitting to being weak and vulnerable which is, on some level, what we all are.

The literary history of the English language has had every possible emotion conveyed into words and it's flexibility means that the same can be done again and again. What can possibly so hard about articulating the way you feel, even in single-syllable words? The trouble is, our basic instinct to cover up our weaknesses with fake strength always seems to make the simple things like this more complicated than they are. How is language to blame for the individual's inability to put them together or making them sound sincere?

ideath says: "Two quotes for you from Lawrence Durrell 's Mountolive : 'Lovers can find nothing to say to each other that has not been said and unsaid a thousand times over. Kisses were invented to translate such nothings into wounds.' and 'The richest of human experiences is also the most limited in its ranges of expression. Words kill love as they kill everything else.'"

The problem, of course, lies in the difference between language and feelings. Feelings are a raw physical reaction that is hardwired into our earthly being. Words, on the other hand, are an abstraction of reality. Language (at least in the human sense) is a layer of formalized associations created through common experience. The self-aware and introspective nature of our consciousness allows infinitely deep abstraction to be applied to existing ideas. The thought process can affect our feelings and mask them behind numerous memes, but it does not generate feelings in and of itself, it only allows us to perceive them more fully.

The degree to which language is an effective communicator is directly related to the similarity of experience between people. The fact that language works as well as it does is due to the fact that humans generally share the same set of senses, live on the same planet, and have similar emotions (we presume).

Common feelings are easy to describe. Everyone on the planet knows the basic feelings of joy, sorrow, guilt, envy, etc. Even two indigenous people from opposite sides of the world share many experiences intrinsic to being human. The kinds of feelings that are hard to describe are the result of a more specific set of circumstances. Particularly the feelings that have many direct tie-ins to important life events of an individual. This is why kids can't be made to understand many of their parents' actions; they simply don't have the experiences on which to base those feelings.

At the risk of over-simplification, I would say communicating complex feelings effectively is based on breaking down a feeling into progressively more basic influences until you have a list of simple motivations and emotions anyone can understand. Then (and this is the hard part) communicating the entirety of the feeling based on common associations to the simple, universal ideas. Although the reader may not have the experience to really understand a given feeling, through clever suggestion and a little imagination, they will be able to gain some insight into the feeling, however crude.

Incidentally, I also imagine someone could become quite deft at playing the piano with a baseball bat (or even two).

'Tell me a story,' her eyes, locked on mine, said.

There are words so evocative that they are spoken with awe and accompanied by a roll of the tongue so slow and so delicate that the onrush of feeling overwhelms the definition. Part of it is aural; some words sound like they mean without being close to onomatopoeic. Melancholy sounds like watching rain slide down a rattling pane of glass; ardor does as well, just reversed - standing in the garden, cold and wet and wanting so desperately to be warm. Gratuity sounds slimy; gratitude, less so.

Words on a page mixed with memory create emotion much more profound than the memory itself; it's the conjuring that sets the tempo, picks the partner and clears the dance floor. It plays your favorite song and invites you to dance as slowly as you want for as long as you're able. It makes you dizzy and tired and begs you for one more waltz before you head to the bar, laughing, looking around the room for your next partner.

If words are a baseball bat, they're a Louisville Slugger.

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