The chairs are all arranged in a circle. A table with drinks and napkins sits in a corner, covered with people who have entered the room smiling and hugging each other. Sometimes somebody just heads straight to a chair and needs to be alone in a room filled with others. And there are times when the words that they need to speak can’t come from their mouths anymore. Whether by choice or some medical thing has made them quieter than they want to be. Everyone in the room understands one simple word, Pain.
They also understand Joy, Pride, Loss, and Love. We call them universal truths for a reason. Everyone might have a different word, may speak a different language; but it’s the experiences we bring with us that help others understand the meanings behind those words.
Lately I have been one of those silent people in the room. Separate of others I have been exploring why it is that I feel like a failure. Even now with my family’s company safely reconstructed I feel like the weight of the word remains firmly pressing down on my entire body. It took time to fix, it took too much time according to others. But these people around me understand that to a point. It’s only started to come out how much stress I was under with all of the demands being made of me. You don’t get help, you start to lose hope.
Seven words, there just aren’t seven words that can capture the entire human experience. I can say the word, Pain, but do you understand what I’m talking about when I say it? One thing that really upset me after my daughter died was the lack of people who said anything. Not a single word, not an awkward email, not a voicemail left with a sigh of relief because they didn’t need to hold a conversation. The funny thing is that some people would feel anger, I only felt more of a failure.
Without context you don’t know pride. I can explain hitting the baseball into the deepest part of the outfield, but that emotional response comes from my having been there. You may have some other thing that gives you that same sense, but if we limit our words it can’t be conveyed.
There are two words that hold more meaning to me than any others, Love and Daughter. Life would have changed my definition of every other word because of her. Pride would have been from something different, Joy as well. I already understood pain well enough, but she changed that as well. My defining moments, the things that made me and broke me, can’t be captured with fewer words than I have fingers!
When I last sat in the circle of people, I was challenged because i could only nod my head. I couldn’t find the words to say what I felt, how I doing. Even when someone made a rather ugly comment about my ex, just to get a rise out of me, I sat silent. There was rage in my eyes covering the pain I was feeling. Anger at myself that continues to fester. My niece is still trying to understand why I protect everyone and refuse help. That’s hard to explain in seven words, even harder when you have the entire English language to draw from.
I’m still trying to find the words to say. But I guess that is about fear, not a lack of words.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Seven Wonders.”