you’ve heard the phrase “a mind is a terrible thing to waste?” well, meet the girl who takes that to heart. i’ve always been too intelligent for my own good. this precocious lass first read shakespeare when she was barely in double-digits, and memorized keats and donne in middle school for the hell of it. i can’t begin to try and number the books that i’ve read, and am the proud possessor of a vocabulary larger than vermont. there’s a right word for everything, from someone who is prone to using long or cumbersome words (sesquipedalian) to the term used for a poor choice of words (cacology).
those who converse with me on a regular basis know that i take a certain (and excessive) amount of pride in my use of the english language. a rarer few can confirm my zealous adherence to the rules and regulations that structure correct communication. i must admit to a certain thrill when i’m called “the word girl,” although i think more often than not it’s said in a slightly mocking manner. but truth, even when spoken with sarcasm, is still truth, is it not?
that being said, i also delight in the turn of a clever phrase, be it full of dangling participles or not. sometimes rules are made to be broken, right? sure they are. as long as you know what rules you’re breaking. picasso wouldn’t have been able to paint “guernica” without first investing years of study in anatomy and form.
the thing is, i get serious cotton-mouth whenever i try to actually express a feeling. words fail me, and i get swamped with sensation, emotion, everything but a coherent string of words that contain all the necessary descriptors to get my point across. i’ve even gone so far as to have conversations with myself when confronting a particularly sticky subject, trying to search my way around the emotive landmines that trigger an embarrassing arrest into silence. sometimes i’m successful. other times, not so much. but at the end of it all i’m still a girl so uncomfortable with her feelings she clams up at the slightest suggestion of anything irrational or illogical.
i could blame a distant and critical father, or a serious lack of self-confidence, or a heart that is too-too sensitive to stand much more than the fleeting touch of problematic emotions. nonetheless, and because i’m typing and not talking, the cold, hard facts are these: all of the above, and then some.
i simply feel too much. of anything. my mother thought i was manic depressive for years, because of my penchant for extreme joy and excruciating pain. but it wasn’t, isn’t, a chemical imbalance in me causing it; i just seem to have been born without barriers, thrust into a world where everything comes at me like a high-speed train on full-throttle. over the years i’ve been able to find ways of shutting things off when they feel ready to engulf me, but the learning curve on that has been slow and grueling. and yes, a certain chemical imbalance of the regular depressive variety has factored in, but with my own natural cunning and a brief fling with zoloft, i’ve been able to mostly nullify its effect.
but thus the problem: i have, in the defense of my system and my sanity, shut it almost all the way off. and now, when i’m encouraged to “just spill it” or “get it off my chest” i find that the paths that should demarcate the way to communication have become overgrown and impossible to navigate. and god forbid i should ask for a guide. without meaning to, i give off serious “don’t ask” vibes; not because i don’t want to talk about it, but because more often than not, i can’t talk about it without feeling weak, or stupid, or both. pride, and a little dash of self-consciousness, relegates me to a certain conversational isolationism that is impossible for most people to break through. myself included.
as i told a friend tonight, “sometimes i’m not so good at talking.” i think what i really meant was, “sometimes i’m not so good at feeling.”
diagnosis? inflamed psyche and overactive soul. prognosis? chronic loneliness. inside and out. cure? still working on it.
tonight’s tête-à-tête is a doozy. couch (sans therapist), here i come.