What goes unsaid

*updated to include tunage*

As a storyteller by nature, I know that my ultimate editing project is myself. And, when others are self-editing, I can spot it a mile away. I wonder, then, if they know that I am holding back on them, too … or that I want so desperately to share more. And that I will, in time, if the door opens a bit more. That’s a big IF, though.

And, what a loss to the world it is — all the creativity and originality and random bursts of brilliance that are squelched during our everyday existences. All the words — so many glorious insights and dreams and questions we all have — that remain unspoken, all the feelings left unacknowledged, all the chances we missed to give someone the inspiration they needed.

Let me insert the caveat that the people who should think before they speak (or act) don’t give us that courtesy. Bertrand Russell once said that “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” I had an ex who was dumb as bricks (I wasn’t exactly dating him for his intelligence. *wink*), and never again will I associate myself with someone who doesn’t mentally stimulate me. He was the first one to babble incessantly about the nothing in particular that fascinated him (and only him). And that taught me a bad lesson — I wondered what if people were compelled to cut off their hair and hang themselves with it while they were listening to me?

In a politically correct society, we have so many laws against indecency and harassment that broadcast entities are only permitting the most vanilla messages to go live. Men and women are afraid to speak to each other for fear of lawsuits and gag orders. And, that has all seeped down to a more fundamental level — where we tend to figure it is easier to keep to ourselves than to share ourselves with others. We silence — or, at the very least, censor — ourselves instead of waiting for a day when someone else might fight to silence us.

We all have legitimate secrets, and that’s how those should stay — secret. But so many of us stop in the middle of our sentences. That to me is usually the flashing red light indicating that something fascinating was just prevented from coming to light. Like I said, I spot it in others and, quite honestly, will try to drag it out of them if I am interested in hearing it. And if I don’t ask, well, I might have started to form the words but censored myself for whatever reason. Or, worse, they might have shared something and I bit back the words I needed to say in response because I was terrified how my sentiments would be taken. And, on a truly personal note, it’s possible I wasn’t ready to deal with what I felt at that moment and wasn’t ready to be heard saying something I wasn’t expecting to feel.

As a writer, I study human nature. I absolutely feed off of what others might consider mundane personal details (remember, I am a budding author — I write character sketches and need storylines!). Everyone (real) is a puzzle to me — well, everyone worthy of note, which isn’t a whole lot of people, quite honestly. And that’s not to say that I want to get people figured out right away so that I can either compartmentalize them or write them off and move onto other victims subjects of interest. Oh, hell no — it’s the person who throws me a curve ball now and again who will cause me to keep my eyes and ears open for the next tidbit — it’s that person whom I will approach and ask what’s new … because I know I will enjoy hearing about it.

I liken my sense of curiosity to my method of receiving/opening presents (which just doesn’t happen too much lately!). Everyone who crosses my path is my gift — I might admire the exquisite wrapping and, after a little while, rattle the box a bit. But if the gift is to be saved for a holiday or to accompany some special occasion, I am totally cool with that. I will never slit open the tape, peek at the gift and put it back where I found it, pretending I’d left it undisturbed all along. I can’t do that because my reaction needs to be genuine. I’m not going to Google you to find information you aren’t ready to give me just yet. I’m not going to give you a line of bullshit because, if I am lucky enough to have you consider me to be trustworthy, I don’t want to jeopardize having you confide in me again and again.

It’s just funny how we can all have extensive conversations with each other and somehow manage to say nothing. And, I’ve never been a fan of idle chit-chat. Sure, I can (and do) ramble at length about nothing at all, but know that it’s not how I prefer to spend your time and mine. Of course, again with the caveats, with some people it’s just wonderful to bask in their presence and, if conversation is mind-numbing but it keeps them in the room or on the phone with you, well then, I’ll take “Let’s Discuss Network Television” for $100, Alex.

The thing about having an active imagination is that I tend to wonder what goes unsaid in many of my conversations. For example, I can share a story about a guy I knew in college. He was able to bullshit everybody but for some reason adored me because he knew I’d see right through him if he even tried — I guess I didn’t let him get away with much. (He gave me way too much credit — I wasn’t even listening half the time. *wink*)

Years went by and we lost touch before one of our mutual friends revealed to me that the guy carried a torch for me for the longest time. Well, who fucking knew?!?! To say I was intrigued was the understatement of the century — I’d never even considered the possibility because it didn’t even occur to me that it WAS a possibility.

And, looking back, maybe I can pinpoint a few conversations that I perhaps took too lightly. Which leads me to make sure, now, that I don’t miss much when I’m talking to others. Don’t worry, guys, that doesn’t mean I’m attaching any extra, fabricated meaning to anything — I’m observant, not delusional!

In any event, you may be wondering if there is, in fact, some hidden meaning behind this post? If so, I’ll never tell. 😉

On iTunes: Tom Waits, “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”

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