To carry conversation is one of those most interesting abilities that we have withheld. To talk to someone, say a few of your thoughts, a discussion takes place on the surface. On the surface the weather and the weekend and the shirt I just bought, those ideas are talked about. But the ability to carry that base conversion forward while having an entirely different thought process race through our minds is a wild double-task. Our needs and true opinions constantly being drowned in insignificant words and the newest pair of jeans. I believe in subtext, for without subtext what really is every disconnected and divided thought but inconsequential air.
Having two conversations at once, literally, may seem like an impossible feat; too many thoughts for not enough words. Yet every day, each “yes, no, I really do feel fine” is dripping with a million other words and pleads and “thank you for noticing, I’m actually not alright.” The common question of “are you okay?” constantly presents itself as a moral imposition, and so the automatic response of “yes, of course” is a convenient habit. My deepest thoughts of best friends I’ll never get back and watching someone so close to me give away a part of themselves each day, and almost losing a sibling to something so great that entertaining the possibility is far too much, those true answers to the question of whether I am okay or not aren’t going to be passed in the school hallway.
But the subtext is what makes the worthwhile relationships grow from the superficial reaction. If I tell someone yes, of course I’m okay, but my eyes are wet and my hands are shaking, they will try again. Later that night we will talk and they’ll say that they know I am not okay. And right in that moment the walls go down and there are no judgments staring into me and I can tell them about my brother, my lost friends and how that can make me lose myself sometimes.
Without the subtext in each one of our eyes and fingertips and feet and shrugs, who are we but the response of yes to one who asks if we are okay or not. What lies underneath, what resides in our pockets and sinks into our pores is what makes us. My family and friends and my favorite book, movie and song are what I consist of. My favorite jokes about peanuts and tuna fish, my certainty that my chi bracelet really does work and how at lunch I accidentally spit water all over the table, that is what I consist of.
Yet the one million thoughts about each and every one of those circumstances, and how I find a way to connect everything together, I feel that is what everyone is made of, defined by. Ironically enough, we are mostly defined by the few things no one will ever find out about ourselves, and that’s how we are all so different with little to no attempt. The subtext of each day is what I fall asleep and wake up to, and if the smallest thoughts and things, yet the most massive fixation of the mind weren’t there to constantly be re-run, then I suppose tomorrow if I were asked if I was okay, I would say yes, and experience that completely.
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