Tag Archives: things that go unsaid

Red Rover, Red Rover. Send the L word over.

These days, I am having trouble saying the L word out loud.

It’s easier to stick with concretes. To fill conversations with words that sound so sure, so matter-of-fact, that they leave no room for the things that go unsaid.

Like, “I am busy. I am learning. I am growing.”

Like, “It is quiet & empty.”

Quiet & Empty.

And yes, it is. I can type text messages and emails to tell you how it looks sitting inside a bedroom lit with a lamp I haven’t used since I purchased it three years ago, begging my mother to change something in my townhouse. Something to turn the light on in my life.

Because it felt quiet & empty. Dark & deep & uncontrollable.

But it wasn’t. Not then. Not when you’ve got three loud souls and a cookie sheet with wax paper cooling on the stovetop and a couple of classic rock songs filling the spaces between Me & You & Her & She.

Now, though, I know how to shut my mouth and swallow my fears and let me tell you how overrated it is to keep quiet, stay empty, when all you want to say is “Where is everyone? Where is everything I’ve ever known?”

You learn to send messages at midnight, filled with half of what you want to say and most of what you cannot bear to speak when the sun streams through your bedroom window and rouses you from your mattress.

You master the non-sentence, the fine just fine, the concrete descriptions of what it feels like to be Somewhere You’ve Never Known Existed Until April.

A place you never dreamed about. A place that looks far different from your parents’ house and your best friend’s trampoline and the stretch of brick houses linked together by laughs and kegs and red Solo cup trails leading to your neighbor’s front porch.

You clean and vacuum and wash dishes because you don’t want it to feel dirty. Don’t want it to look lived in. Don’t know what happens when you Let Go & Breathe.

What happens when you say the word out loud.

When you say, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send the L word over.”

And break through all the noise. All the silence. All the things that come with saying it out loud for once. To someone other than your pillowcase or your shower curtain.

And so you whisper it to yourself and wait for the feeling to pass. You send emails to girls you’ve never met and shake your head the minute you hit Send. Embarrassed & afraid & unsure & wishing there was an I Take It Back, It Was Just Hypothetical button.

But I cannot take it back. Because it’s not hypothetical.

It’s real. And it sleeps next to me. Hides in my medicine cabinet. On the kitchen table I forget to use.

And it somehow feels worse, doesn’t it? Knowing you’ve got a couple hands’ worth of names to call and letters you could send and numbers you could dial but all of them are out of arms’ length.

Say the L word.

Say it.

Say it.

This is the closest I can come.


I am learning, with each new email, that we are all hiding behind the Cool Factor.

These days, I am living in my Gmail inbox, breathing in stories of souls who come to me with heavy hearts.

But if you asked me what I’m doing, I’m just as likely to tell you I’m in the business of designing fashionable kneepads.

“Kneepads?” you’re saying.

Yes, kneepads. And elbow pads and wrist pads and helmets, too.

But not just any kind of kneepads. Fashionable ones.

We are in the business of protection and prevention and healing, but we’re making it personal and attractive.

We’ll have pink glitter ones for the Glam Gals. Camouflage prints for the Deer Hunters and ROTC members. Argyle for the Preps and plaid for the Westerners. Teal and tan for the California Surfer Boys and black and purple for the Rocker Chicks.

We’ll stock them in all the university colors and people will begin to buy them as graduation presents because what better way to say “welcome to your new life” than to suit up for an epic battle with impending disaster?

Growing up, my mom had to wrestle my Barbie bike helmet onto my head. She had to paint a picture of what might’ve happened if I had an accident and wasn’t wearing it.

And even then, that didn’t stop me from complaining about the bangs in the eyes or the constant itching at the back of my neck as my ponytail scratched me.

That didn’t stop me from feeling like a Loser with a capital L.

But these days, I am wishing it were that easy—strap on your kneepads and helmet and swerve to avoid all the orange cones:

Loneliness. Depression. Breakups. Anxiety. Divorce. Suicide.

I am learning, with each new email, that we are all hiding behind the Cool Factor.

It’s not cool to be depressed or self-harming or bulimic or otherwise unable to cope with change and disaster and heartbreak and low self-esteem.

But it happens.

So I am hoping we can unravel this piece of fabric knotting our lips together in favor of something new—open minds and fashionable kneepads and attractive ways to say You Aren’t The Only One Suffering.

Because you’re not. Have I told you that lately?