My emotions have been intense lately. I wouldn’t describe what I’m going through as depression, and it hasn’t come with a lot of drama or yelling* or anger or anything. No, I guess I’d describe my feelings as emboldened, and starting with capital letters. I don’t just feel happy, I feel Happy! When I’m nervous, I’m Nervous! I’m not lonely, I’m Lonely. When I’m bored, I’ve Never Been So Bored In My Life, Goddammit!
With the feelings that are less easily defined, I really wish I had some of those fancy German compound words** to describe them. Why is there no English word for “Currently lonely, but happy to have social engagements planned for the near future”? What’s the word for “Bored, but with the knowledge that there are any number of interesting things that could be done”? What word can be used to describe an emotional bigness, the feeling that your heart might explode out of your chest, but you have no idea why?
Last week my friend Billy took me on an evening flight in a tiny, tiny airplane. Everything’s more intense in a tiny airplane; you can hear all the noises, you can see everything around you, and when you land you can watch it all happen through the front windshield.
We took off from Austin at sunset, flew to Llano, and then flew back to Austin as the full moon was rising. As we went over Lake Buchanan, Billy turned the radio down and we sat in silence, listening to the hum of the engine through our headphones as the moon reflected off the water.
What, then, is the word for the feeling that “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, except that can’t be right because I’ve seen lots of other beautiful things, and anyway, everything’s more intense in a tiny airplane”?
Why do I need words to describe everything? And whence all the Feelings lately? Given the choice, I suppose I wouldn’t trade them, as they make my life feel epic in a way that it really isn’t. But I do still wonder where they’re coming from.
*Who would I yell at? Everyone’s great!
**c.f. Schadenfreude, except I haven’t felt that one these days.