All The Things We Never Say

We spend so much of our lives filtered. We’re molded and trained to fit into this socially acceptable idea of who we should be. How we should look. What we should say. We’re conditioned to think that there’s a time and place for everything and if you say the wrong thing at the wrong time it’s social suicide. So we hold it all in.

We hold it in to avoid those moments of awkwardness. Where you’re the only one laughing at the joke you just told. Or when you tell someone you love them and they don’t say it back. We don’t know how other people are going to react and we don’t want to be judged so we stay silent.

But, in doing so, we miss opportunities. We miss the chance to make someone laugh until their stomach hurts. Or to tell you that they love you too. There are so many things that we choose to keep to ourselves, so many things that we can never bring ourselves to say, so many things that we’re dying to tell but we’re too scared of being rejected. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities.

A person reached out to me recently. Just casually. Catching up, you know? Do you know what I wanted to say? I wanted to say I miss you and I’ve been thinking about you a lot and I can’t wait to see you again. But, of course, I didn’t say any of that. Even though it was the truth. I didn’t say it because I didn’t know if they missed me back or if they were just being nice. But why can’t I say those things without some ulterior motive? Why does everything have to be some game and whoever plays hardest to get is the winner?

I wanted to tell this person that I missed them. I don’t know why I couldn’t. They were the one that messaged me so I was obviously on their mind. But instead of saying what I wanted to say, we talked about school and summer vacation and danced around the words that were too risky to type. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities but I do miss you. I wonder if you know that.