Words rarely come easy to me.
Which is ironic considering how I identify myself as a writer. Yet, a wall sits between my heart and tongue. The whole concept of saying what I feel is foreign to me. Sure, I am aware that certain things make me feel a certain way – sometimes my heart drops, or my blood boils, or my eyes sting. But the feelings are never tangible enough that I sometimes question how much of what I’ve felt in the past is real.
The words in my head are a murky pool of emotions so deep that I fear I may drown, or so shallow that I come to question my humanity. I rather not dive in because the unknown brings me comfort than the alternative of confrontation. But what if, I lived in a world where I swam in my emotions and the words to express how I feel came out easily. Would I be more content? Be loved by others more? Be able to fully love others in return?
In that world, I’m back in my highschool years, meeting him for the first time. I’ll come back home and acknowledge how his smile lingers in my mind. And when he asks me to hangout with him alone, I’ll allow myself to wonder if this could go beyond the strict perimeters of friendship. I will say “Thank you.” for all the times that he compliments me instead of rolling my eyes, and I’ll be able to compliment him back. We will be sitting side by side in the library as we always do, but this time I do not flinch when he leans in closer. I will not talk about other boys for the sake of pushing him away, and he will not get jealous or defensive. I’ll let it show that I feel sad when he brings up other girls, and maybe he’ll stop and we’ll talk about us. I will not laugh or change the topic when he asks me out on a date and I’ll realise that perhaps we may have a shot together. I’ll allow the emotions to build up from the bottom of my heart till it reaches the tips of my tongue.
And when we walk back to the library with the burning red sunset hanging above us and a comfortable silence approaching like the night, I’ll allow the words to spill out: I like you.
In that world, my thoughts will be spoken into existence, never to be forgotten or buried away. And who knows where a simple emotional expression would have taken me. Perhaps, he’ll look stunned, until a smile creeps in and he says those three words back. Or perhaps he’ll burst out laughing and our friendship fades away. Regardless of the outcomes, I will have spoken my feelings into existence and that silly highschool crush was real.
But as much as I ponder about the what ifs of life sometimes, I know that nothing I do can change the past. The feelings have faded, and we’ve both moved on with our lives. The memories of us are but a droplet in a sea of what could have been.
Ever since then, I’ve learned to be more vocal with how I feel, leaving no room for what ifs. As a result, I’m with someone I really like now, which would not have been possible if I’ve kept my feelings bottled up like before.
So to anyone who’s reading this and struggles with opening up, I hope this article can inspire you to take the risk and speak your mind. I know that I still have a long way to go, and I still have trouble finding the right words to say. But as cliché as it sounds, life is too short to not take a chance.
Written by Natasha Maya