Hi, I’m Mia, and I love words. Like, really love words.
People talk about that high from being at concerts or the adrenaline of motorcycle rides, and that is akin to what I feel when I find a beautifully worded sentence. Language is incredible! We make these random sounds in various orders and they mean stuff, and beyond that, that very specific arrangement of sounds can mean something entirely different depending on where you are, what your body language is saying, or how your tone is being projected. Words are fickle, flighty creatures which can make or break just about anything. I love words. You can read a little more aboutme here, where I’ve explained my hopeful intent with these writings.
I can’t quite say where my love for language began. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, but my appreciation for words didn’t become quite as voracious as it is now until several years ago.
My best guess is that it’s because I allowed the spaces where I could and should have spoken up fill with silences. I spent many, many years sharing my words with nobody but a hidden journal. Fearful of burdening anyone I cared for more than they already were, it was extraordinarily rare for me to present anything beyond the topmost levelheaded, secure, and content layer of myself to the world around me. I was considered quite put together and easygoing, when inside me was a turmoil of pent up emotion and words I fought to suppress most days of my adolescence and early adulthood.
Now that I am older and, hopefully, a bit wiser, I’ve learned how to channel those emotions into growth, and how and when to share those words. It took practice, pain, and many, many failures, but I have become a person who recognizes how debilitating and damaging the absence of words can be, and who now cherishes and sees beauty and infinite potential in them. I do not consider myself healed, and perhaps I never will. I do, however, recognize how far I have come and am proud of the journey I have chosen to walk. I fail, a lot, and I sometimes get so turned around that I end up walking back the way I’ve come, but every day I strive to find my direction once more.
The Starless Sea is a book by Erin Morgenstern which I do not, despite my love and respect for them, have the words to describe. It is filled with twisting metaphors that are filled with literalisms that are filled with metaphors that are …
You get the point, and probably already feel exhausted. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read in my life. The prose is, to me, that feeling of showering and getting underneath freshly cleaned sheets with shaved legs. It’s that rare time when you wake up from a nap and actually feel better. It’s the type of hug a mother gives even when she isn’t your mother, but you know she is someone’s because of the way she hugs you. Okay, maybe I like the book so much because I seem to enjoy metaphors nearly as much as Morgenstern does. It was a book that I felt like I was sinking further and further into with every page, where I felt myself getting so irrecoverably lost within the letters and simultaneously found amongst the words. I cannot sing its praise highly enough, and yet I know it is a rarity to find someone who will find the same adoration for it as I found. That is okay.
My entire purpose for bringing it up is because one of the quotes from it says, “We’re here to wander through other people’s stories, searching for our own.” As you can see, this theme is echoed in the tagline of my blog. I consider myself a wanderer: I struggle with settling in places or with people. I find refreshment and joy in exploration, dipping my toes into these places and those lives, experiencing just enough of a story to see the beauty and complexity of it without getting lost within its depths.
The title of this blog, Hiraeth, is a Welsh word which struggles to find a place within the English language. Roughly translated, it means the yearning and search for a home which does not exist.
I wander through the stories around me, perpetually intrigued by the bits and pieces I witness and collect along the way. Sometimes these stories are bound within ink and paper, and other times they are in the hands I hold, the laughter I share, the words I hear or those which are given to me. They are the stories that swirl around the exhalations of the individuals who pass me by, perhaps not even knowing I exist.
“I think the best stories feel like they’re still going, somewhere, out in story space.”
I am a piece of so many stories, most of which I may never know about. I do not get to decide what role I play in many of the stories in which I have a part, and I do not get to know what imprint I leave behind. The air is filled with the constantly changing and shattering and building of tales being told, and I truly do not have the words to describe the way this affects me.
Part of my enjoyment is born in intrigue, but part is fueled by this idea of “hiraetth”. My story is wide open, and yet it is on a trajectory which I cannot understand beyond knowing each of my choices push it forward. “A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun”, or where it is going. I often feel so vastly different from the people around me on fundamental levels, which does not detract from my love for them and of those disparities. I wander through stories in search of this home, all the while knowing within myself that it almost certainly does not exist. The journey of seeking, of learning, of discovering, and of ending does not diminish the yearning, but it contributes to the joy and peace of searching.
Hiraeth was the first word I discovered which had no good English translation, and it all went downhill from there. I have a wide collection of words of that category or which are uncommon/not well known within English, and I add to them whenever I find a new one that speaks to me. I would love to share some of my favorites if there is an interest from my readers, but for now I will leave you with just one which echoes what, I think, many of us struggle with and which I have made reference to in this post. I’m not even going to write my own definition for it because the one which I found for it is beautiful:
Monachopsis: (n.) the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach – lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home. (English)
Thank you for reading, and I will try to make future posts shorter than this first one.