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The Limitations of language

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yes, I love that quotation from Madame Bovary. How well Flaubert knew that the limitations of language make our most deeply felt emotions and most plaintive moments seem trivial.

Spark People is a place where we come and if we are trying to work the program we reveal ourselves. We come to the community, naked, as it were, shorn of our protective clothing of adiposity and stand here and say "Please accept me. As I am. As I want to be. As I really see myself. As something more than a bucket of lard. As something more than just another generic fat person."

And it takes a lot of courage to do that; to strip ourselves bare of defense mechanisms and to be honest and brave and true to oneself. And language does not always provide us with the true gauge of our deepest emotions.

For many people---for me, certainly--this is the only place that I try sincerely to be myself in a public forum. Sometimes I resort to wise-cracking and sometimes I hide behind my typical veneer of cynicism. Sometimes I stop being supercilious and you get the sheer naked emotional me--the large weeping baby who can only stand here in her 200 pounds of heft with her Howdy-Doody wrinkles and the bags under her eyes and the greying hair who feels so afraid of death, of life, of being judged, of being rejected. Of not being good enough.

I suspect I am not the only person who gets frustrated and cries at the gap between what I perceive of as my keen emotional sensitivity and the clumsy bear pounding away at the old tin kettle when she would like to bring you to tears of sympathy.

And you know what? How often have you brought me to tears of sympathy and compassion and generosity? More than you know. This place is humanity undressed and we should tread softly and carefully amongst each other.
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  • no profile photo CD13744193
    So beautifully written!! And ironic as you discuss the shortcomings of a language that you obviously have an amazing grasp of!!! You must be writing poetry or fiction too!! I wan to read it!!!

    But how right you are....not only am I often apologizing in the online community for my meaning being misconstrued, I am often in fear of offending people face to face, in my attempts at humor! Sometimes I think I shall give up speaking altogether and let Interpretive Dance be my only form of communication! (See, that was a joke! Oy vey! I need one cup of coffee before I attempt any more talking!!

    Thank you for sharing!
    2774 days ago
    yes, your words are true. How thankful we are that you pull up your boot straps and keep plugging away and showing us you!!

    2779 days ago
    How true all this is. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried, often in vain, to write just the right thing, whether about myself or to someone else. So often, all that comes out sounds like drivel and pat phrases. I think you do a lovely job of expressing yourself beautifully. It has, at times, moved me to tears, so I thank you for that.
    2779 days ago
    compassion is the way.
    2780 days ago
    Natalie, I am SO not good with words so I will echo what ImprovingMe said: "May your life be filled with courage, love, and abundance!"

    I agree that it is wonderful that SparkPeople provides us with a safe place where we can bare our true selves, imperfect as we are, and gain acceptance and love. I have had the honor of meeting (in person) several of my SparkFriends and I find it amazing that we KNOW each other although we have never met before!!

    Your way with words continues to amaze me - well done!!
    2780 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12757930
    Flaubert's quote speaks a great truth about the frustrations of good communication. Wonderful "cracked kettle….tune"!

    Your fears are my fears and we are not alone, but cared for and accepted at this place for learning, sharing, laughing, and growing…..called Spark People! We will take each step and grow stronger.

    2780 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12121677
    Beautiful words. Thanks for posting.
    2780 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13425678
    People must have a sensitivity, to sense that gap between what we feel and what we are able to express; and they must have a particular kind of courage to keep trying to bridge that gap. Also a powerful lot of strength. Silence is so much easier. thank you for this blog - I love your honesty and courage.
    2780 days ago
    I value so much your willingness on this forum to "expose" yourself and therefore your vulnerability. I have been inspired by it.... and forced to introspect. Tiptoeing between the emotions captured in so much on Spark shows your great empathy.... Thank you
    2780 days ago
    William Arthur Ward has listed these "three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others."

    And because you dare to share with us, your SparkFriends, you have shown that you care. And rest assured, we care right back!

    May your life be filled with courage, love, and abundance!

    2780 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2780 days ago
    Bear dancing. Yes.
    2780 days ago
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