[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]
Here’s an interesting subject: The deep-down feelings we don’t talk about — not ever, not to anyone.
It’s a no-brainer at work. “Keep your mouth shut” should be a mantra for anyone who wants to stay employed and get ahead. That doesn’t mean, of course, that one ought not offer carefully phrased, constructive suggestions for improvement of the workplace when asked, as long as one holds tight to “carefully phrased” and “constructive.” Deep-down feelings are never the first, almost never the second.
Relationships outside the office? Consciously or not, we’re all doing cost/benefit analyses all the time. Is it better to suck it up? Or spit it out? Saying “I’m sorry” afterwards doesn’t cut it. Bitter, hateful words are like winds flying from an opened bag, never again to be recaptured in the interests of negotiated calm.
And the Other? (If there is an Other.) I used to dream of transparent honesty coexisting with a lifetime of unquestioned love. I go on dreaming, but longer believe. There may be couples still so entranced with their idea of one another that they’ll declare I’m wrong. I suspect they permit themselves to see and hear the Other selectively, safely burying disruptive perceptions, then hiding the key to the vault. The rest of us shut up and make do, if it’s at all do-able, and sometimes go take a walk till the feelings pass.
What’s the alternative? Appearances to the contrary, nobody has it all. And after a while life itself begins to wind down. Then we count ourselves lucky someone’s still at our side, so we don’t face the eternal dark silence alone.