Words about the (un?)necessity of words

“But mostly I curl up inside my typewriter and wish to die.” – Nick Cave
As if maybe, when I curl up inside my (imaginary) typewriter, I can’t make any words; it’s usually when I lose my words that I feel as if I wish to die.

A few weeks ago, I went to see Nick Cave’s One More Time with Feeling in the cinema. One of his best friends directed it; they made a movie to accompany the release of his latest record (Skeleton Tree), and to be able to say some things about the death of their son without having to talk to strangers. I find it a very honest movie about many things: grief, love, consciousness, trauma, growing older, finding meaning, creating; pretty much all aspects of life. I went alone, and I was glad that I was alone, because afterwards I couldn’t find any words to think or say. You know how sometimes you experience something that makes you feel like you understand a little more about life, but not in words, it’s just a feeling; a sense of comfort, that things are okay without them having to actually all be okay? I felt like that.

So I was glad that I was alone so that I could simply sink into that feeling for a bit, without feeling the pressure of having to talk or connect to anyone else.

One of the central topics my psychologist and I (try to) talk about is my difficulty communicating myself to others. It’s become almost an instinctual reaction for me to withdraw myself when I feel bad, sad, because being around other people makes me feel as if I sort of diminish. I find it so hard to be, to remain fully myself as I am at that particular moment, when that self is anything other than simply jolly-good-fun. Apart from that it makes me feel guilty, not good enough, a burden, an attention-seeker, a poser, etc. etc., it just feels almost physically impossible. So I tend to make sure that there is no one around because then at least I can feel that I exist, and I prefer feeling lonely over feeling like I am not. The thing is: yesterday I saw One More Time with Feeling again with a very good friend, and we just sat silently in our own feeling for some minutes before connecting with each other again. Without really talking. I was just feeling myself as if I can when I’m alone, except that I wasn’t alone. Sometimes I can suddenly just do that and it feels so natural as if I’ve been doing exactly that my entire life.

My last blog’s description was ‘my life is made of words’. That felt like such an obvious, incontestable truth to me at that time that I never once questioned it. I, as many others, have a ridiculously complicated relationship with words, but words were, and still are, the branch I hang my life on. At the same time, lately, though, I sometimes feel as if my life is made of the absence of words. I don’t think that it is. But sometimes everything falls so eerily silent, and the absence of words feels like the absence of all communication, of all connection between me and the world, and as soon as that happens it feels so much harder for me to be alive. Because how can I handle being alive without feeling connected? If being alive craves, at the very least, to be connected to myself?

A thought: our culture seems to have made it such a given that our absolute means of communication is words. But if communication is connection (connection is communication?): maybe all the communication I, we, need sometimes, is to allow ourselves to simply be.

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