More (And Less) Than Words

 Hi friends –

My life between stories continues. There are new shapes forming in my life, but they are hard to encapsulate with words. In fact, very little about this season of my life has felt adequately described by the current confines of the English language. Words can contain, restrain, liberate or isolate. Sometimes all at once.

I spent the first ten years or so of my life with people struggling to make out what I was saying because of a fairly extreme speech impediment. Over the last fifteen years or so a genetic condition that affects my inner ear bones has slowly diminished my ability to hear – or at least hear clearly – meaning that I often miss or at least misunderstand the words someone else intended to say to me. Perhaps, these “impediments” have actually sparked my mind to imagine possibilities beyond the standard shape of words – or structures – or any form that most of us see as solid and unbendable. I enjoy queering up language… and life… to shapes that feel more “right” for this moment, regardless of what the dominant paradigm tells us is “right.” 

(Rest of letter in the comments) 

It’s been close to half a year now since the most significant containment I’ve experienced  in my life – my marriage to Jeremy – dramatically shape-shifted.

In this time there has been indescribable grief and unfathomable gratitude. Profound emptiness and surprising fullness. Could I enter the words “griefitude” and “fulltiness” into the lexicon please? (And, if the answer from the dictionary fairies is yes, I have many more linguistical love-children entries to submit). 

It feels like so many words belong to a world I no longer inhabit. For instance, although it’s no longer true that I am married, I’m not divorced either, technically speaking. And neither really speaks fully to what we share/d. Jeremy and I have separated in a number of ways, but are still so connected in innumerable ways. At moments it feels empowering to claim the word single and at moments, even while dating, I feel very much alone. And still so much of my life and days have overflowing love, connection, kinship, affection and community in a way that makes words like “single” or “alone” miss the mark.

I feel similarly bound when I speak of my life’s work (play… calling…vocation… vacation?) Coach, somatic therapist, healer all leave me feeling a little “ick.” 

 Maybe… “A fellow messy being who welcomes, celebrates and loves your whole messy being, supporting you with my unique gifts to come more fully home to your wholeness and miraculously unique soul’s gifts” 

That’s closer, but doesn’t exactly fit neatly in a tagline. 

Verbs work best.. looking at how I/we move, rather than “what” I/we are. I keep playing with language and noticing how it both frees and fails. Sometimes the ways words fail can leave a blank space that frees. 

We are souls, not roles. But we play roles, and, when held with looseness and flexibility, they can be a helpful containment for letting the wild flow of our real selves. 

For now,  I’ll just keep up trying on and making up words, verbing my unconventional ways of living and loving in this particular liminal space. Thanks for being in the dance with me, whatever you call it. 

With love, and all the complexities those four words can carry,

Vanessa

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