There is a particular phenomenon universal to all languages in which, regardless of the complexity or depth of an emotion, there is a word to match it. I first realized this when I attempted to condition myself to speak with no three-letter adjectives (hoping to appear more intellectual). Sad, mad, bad, and the like were all tossed out the window. When a friend left me out at recess, I was melancholy. When my sister called me stupid, I told her I was enraged. I felt rather proud of myself for days on end, how I'd limited my vernacular to one of scholars. I was better for it and held myself as such.


One night, I pulled the sheets on top of me and tucked my feet in in the very same rehearsed way I had performed every day of my elementary life (ceiling lights still on, as I was a late-bloomer in distilling my fear of the dark). I looked out the window and began to count all the stars I could see from my post on the bed frame to lull myself to sleep. Some glowing like saucers, others dying in their insistent light. And then, I felt a sudden compression on my chest, gentle but stern. I could not fall asleep, as the star's lullaby had become too...something I simply could not place a finger on. It wasn't that it was reminiscent, as they were most other nights; that was a feeling that I had felt many a time, that drifted flower petals down from my lungs and through my chest. And it wasn't nostalgia, which tugs at heartstrings in the hopes that it will rope every moment you've lived back in. It wasn't depression or its heaviness, which lulls you in with its comfort only to slowly take your breath. It wasn't melancholy, familiar and exhausted and searching for a worthy cause.

The world was tinged blue, on pause. My heart had been prodded at but in no threatening way. I felt comforted by how I could feel things gently and yet, all at once - have them pinch me into pain and then into shape. The moments in which I felt this way were not far and few between - it happened when it rained but didn't pour and when violins surged into music at just the right time.


It was nothing complex or hard to explain. Too many syllables would ruin the moment and crowd the feeling away. It felt warm and cool all at once, and it felt like too much to scour my brain for the perfect word to put to this moment, as by then, it'd have slipped away.


Put simply, as things sometimes are best put, I felt sad. The same stars would not always hang in the sky; it was a fact and knowledge that could not be misconstrued. It was the path fate would take. I would miss the stars that had soothed me to rest at ten years old. At the same time, I was eager to meet new ones that would beckon me onto new pathways. In a way, things evened out, and the world kept spinning. I was sad, and as I counted the stars, I fell asleep.



In telling this, I am in no way saying it's deplorable to expand your vocabulary - I'm saying the exact opposite, rather. The English language is expansive and reaches from bound to bound - other languages even more so. What would be deplorable would be to limit the powers of your vocabulary by straying away from words and phrases because they're too "easy" and "simple." There is beauty in communicating in a few words just as much as communicating through prose pages. There is beauty in any language, so long as it is used for honorable reasons.


Humanity has done a beautiful thing. We have taken the words the world gave us and merged them, torn them apart, and reassembled them. We have given them purpose and just as likely stolen it away. We have taught words to adapt to tone and semantics and literality as well as the ever-tumultuous, ever-shifting reality that is the universe of our minds. 


In the moments of desperation and the moments of confusion; the joyous moments that we dance and we stomp, and the minutes we feel so absurd we must scream. Our words should be an amalgamation of all that we feel, see, and believe.


If nothing else, we owe the world this - to speak and be heard in the best ways we know how.


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