Two weeks ago, and after many years, I started writing a diary again. Managed one entry so far. It might well stay alone, next to the shelf-full of my younger years’ recordings. Yet it was nice to write on paper again, in turquoise blue ink. I was a bit surprised the words came out in English. What does it mean that my life now wants to be told in English ?

I am watching a series about love. Hardly original : high schoolers who become English and History students at a prestigious Irish university, and love each other, yet keep being broken up by misunderstandings, mishaps, misliving. Something which has been told a million times but so many of us still feel the need to hear, and even the need to tell – and why is it that the word “sentimental”, coloured with a pinch of disgust and a hint of shame, has to be uttered, in spite of our hearts.

Back to my diary. Maybe the French language would be too true, would reveal all the gaps in my life in the way somebody who knows you too well would undo the stories you tell them just as you weave them. You know they know, they know you know they know, etc. Maybe not a white lie, but a strange game in which affection overrides the need for and the respect due to the truth and where, never knowing how far this should go and how much truth can concede, the players usually end up tripping in the net of mixed intentions. I say this as if I had lived it, but I am not sure that I have. Very few friends do I count and, to the tiny number who really know me, I wouldn’t bother to pretend. So, if they undid my fantasies, I wouldn’t know, because I would be unwittingly fantasizing. The older I get, the less I am interested in pretending. Not as a result of moral improvement, more because it is easier not to pretend, and because I find strength in trying to say things as they are. As elusive as the truth may be, intending to find it constitutes a firm ground on which it is easier to stand. I am aware that, in my quest for the least false, my conversation is often unbearable, unable as I am to choose one interpretation over another one, ending up leaving them all there, strewn mid-air in the field of communication. I guess I am hoping my friend – my friends are often wiser than I – will know which one is more likely to be true and might enlighten me. But now I think : Does it matter ? Who cares ?

What I noticed (as I have in the past, but I always – always – forget) as I was watching the series, is how unable I am to navigate life the way the characters do (and many real people too), reading hints, hearing the unsaid with enough certainty to steer their ships and alter the course of their life (even in small things like whether to end a conversation and leave a room). They look at each other, say words which never are those which need to be said, but understand the unspoken and act accordingly. Or rather, act even if they are unsure they deciphered the meaning well. I am not like that. I realise how much I need the spoken word. How much I rely on what was said. To the point where I refuse to draw conclusions from what might have been quite clearly implied. Mistrust of myself, prudence, maybe, I want things to be explicit. When someone tells me of an event involving them exchanging with somebody else, I always ask : what did you say ? What did they say ? Are these their exact words ? But why do I hang like this onto uttered words ? As if I believed, with a religious conviction, that a pronounced word is more likely to be truthful, or that utterance binds the person who spoke in a mysterious way. “But you said… !” The flesh your muscles, your breath, your mouth give to an idea, an intention, by lending your voice to them MUST bear meaning. It is something created into this world, a birth, an incarnation. You said it, therefore it is. Here. And the only way to undo it is to pronounce other words correcting this one. Therefore, I find myself unable to cope with the whole post-truth thing. Of course I have lied before, and unfortunately will again, but never with the assumption that it didn’t matter, that it was equivalent to truth, or that there was no truth. I lied in the fear I would be discovered. I lied and tried to forget about it. I lied and it disturbed and hurt me in some ways.

In fact, what strikes me now is my dependance on words. After all, somebody’s intentions can be read through many other channels, such as their body language. But words are the means I am adapted to hear, recognise, understand. They are my way of probing and knowing. Even the natural world, the physical world, becomes incarnate for me through words. Contradictory as it seems, my strong tendency to be a sensory person is dependant on words. My real skin is somewhere woven in sentences. My senses are literary. My body is immaterial, or made of a matter which is, at its heart, spoken. After all, isn’t it true that matter is mostly composed of void ?

10 thoughts on “Spoken

  1. Ce pouvoir des mots, création, incarnation, je le ressens, cependant je ne crois pas aux discours, en général, ou du moins je les entends avec recul, dans l’écho qu’ils répercutent contre le réel.
    Cela a été une véritable révélation, un scandale en fait, presque une catastrophe, de découvrir en grandissant que les adultes qui exigeaient de moi la vérité mentaient tout le temps, et ne mentaient pas consciemment, mais mentaient à eux-mêmes, se racontaient des histoires, interprétaient faits et sentiments à leur commodité, réécrivaient leur vie, la vie. Une grande déception. Mais ensuite, après une période de mépris, cela m’a permis d’écouter differemment, plus intelligemment. Avec l’écho. De mieux comprendre. Que le langage coïncide avec la vérité n’est pas une évidence, même si, quand cela arrive, il prend les apparences de l’évidence.
    Ce n’est pas le mensonge réfléchi et conscient qui m’étonne, mais le régime entier d’illusion où l’on peut mener sa vie.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Je ne sais pas… ne nous nourrissons-nous pas tous d’illusions ? Maintenant entretenir qqc que l’on sait être faux, c’est autre chose. Il est vrai que je peux éprouver du dégoût devant la veulerie de certains qui réécrivent leur vie pour se donner le beau rôle, même lorsqu’ils n’ont pas vraiment conscience de mentir.
      Je ne crois pas que toute parole dite soit vraie, mais j’ai du mal à agir à partir de données implicites. L’incertitude me paralyse souvent. Enfin je m’étonne moi-même de mon besoin que les choses soient dites. C’est peut-être une façon de refuser d’endosser seule la responsabilité de la prise de décision.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. C’est sans doute une question de mesure, plus que de camps définis. Il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui vivent dans la vérité et de l’autre ceux qui vivent dans l’illusion, mais ceux qui cherchent à traverser l’illusion et être au plus proche de la vérité et ceux qui se complaisent dans l’illusion et fuient l’approche de la vérité. Je ne sais pas, d’ailleurs, si la première position, aussi juste soit-elle, est viable. Il faut sans doute laisser quelque illusion courir entre nous et la vérité (vers la vérité ?), la vie ne saurait se poursuivre sans. Mais je trouve la deuxième tout aussi impraticable. Comment vivre sans vouloir voir ?
        Au sujet du besoin que les choses soient dites, peut-être aussi un respect du désir de l’autre ? Savoir ce qu’il veut, à quoi vous vous engagez l’un et l’autre ? Bref, mettre les choses au clair, s’assurer, se rassurer. Je ne sais pas, mais ce n’est pas un mauvais trait de caractère, on se comprend si peu. Cela dépend des interlocuteurs aussi. Avec E j’ai développé une communication presque entièrement hors langage et maintenant avec d’autres gens je remarque que j’ai perdu l’habitude d’expliciter ce que je pense, ressens ou fais. Ce qui me rend encore plus bizarre que d’habitude. Surtout que, quand je me mets enfin à parler, c’est avec moi-même, en marmonnant. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oui, tu as raison, nous pouvons prendre des chemins différents dans notre traversée de l’illusion. Il y a quelque chose de dégoûtant, ou du moins de triste, dans la seconde position, et même si la première est vouée à l’échec, et peut-être une voie plus trouble qu’on le croit, elle me paraît infiniment plus désirable, plus juste.
          Au sujet du besoin d’explicite, c’est certain qu’il s’agit pour moi de me rassurer. En te lisant, je me rends compte que je ne saurais dire quel mode de communication j’ai avec L. Jehanne est sans doute la personne avec laquelle le mot prononcé est le moins nécessaire, mais même là, j’aime dire les choses, et les entendre dites.
          J’imagine bien aussi comment, allant vite, pensant vite, tu puisses te retrouver dans des situations de quiproquo, marmottine marmonnant ! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading every bit of your text. I think I write better in French (given that I can write in French), but I often find myself speaking out loud in English, and often when I want to say emotional stuff, things harder to say out loud, things I can write but I cannot easily say… Same for poetry… what does it say about me ? Have a beautiful and meaningful day !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sabrina ! It can be easier to go through the detour of a foreign language to express secret thoughts. However, I find that only French allows me to be as truthful as I can be.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s