Isn’t it funny how we run through sometimes-morbid conversations of what we would say if only we had the opportunity? Or maybe it’s if we only had the courage?
I’m not encouraging anyone to act with harmful intent–emotional or physical–toward another person, but would it be healthier if we could actually express what we mean to the person we mean to hear it? Or what if our conversations might lead to great things–to positive emotions and joyful potential futures–yet we lack the strength to say them for fear that we might be rejected?
The reality is that in every conversation where emotions are expressed, there is a possibility of rejection. It may be outright, such as the person saying “I don’t care what you feel because I feel differently,” or more subtle. Either way there is a strong sting, and it’s heightened by the intensity of emotions going into the conversation. When it’s something we really care about, be it telling a person off for being an asshole or confessing our love, we feel even greater apprehension about being rejected in expressing these emotions. After all, how bad would it feel for the asshole to say “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” or even worse, for the person to whom we’re confessing our love to say the same.
I often play through conversations in my head, working them over and over like clay. I shape them, explore my creation, and then reshape them. I rarely act on the things that come to mind for fear that whatever I’m feeling will be poorly received. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that it’s better to keep the emotions inside than to share them until I’m more certain that the other person will agree with me (or at least not disagree outright). Like so many other things in my life, I think and re-think and over-think scenarios that A) will never happen and B) would never happen the way I imagine them even if they did happen.
I don’t know if I wish I had the courage to always say what I’m feeling; sometimes letting an emotion sit, simmer, and mature helps me figure out more clearly what the emotion actually is. Sometimes I feel one thing which is covering up another, and if I said the first emotion I’d have to face the consequences of it even if it weren’t the root of the issue. At the same time, there are conversations I’d love to have: hurt I’d like to express, forgiveness I’d like to give, bittersweet remorse and nostalgia I’d like to share… I could go on. Maybe my life–and every life, lest I sound completely self-centered–is a series of these non-conversations. Things left unsaid, undone, and thus dwelled upon.