When we say “I love you” does it truly express the feeling? The experience of that emotion, at that second, to its absolute fullest? No, of course it doesn’t. In fact I find those three, very, important words rather uninspiring and most of all ill-used in its application.
In Italian, if you want to say “I love you” to your children, your parents, your sweetheart you simply say: “Ti Amo.” In Japanese: “Aishiteru.” German: “Ich liebe dich.” This confuses me. How can it apply to all? Do you feel the same towards your children as you do to the person you share your bed with? Again, of course not! Then why does it seem to me that our language has fallen so short, lost its punch, its passion, its beauty in expressing all the voluminous ways that our hearts could possibly bloom and explode, sing and dance telling that someone very special: without you I would die?
A mere translation, yes. But does it have to be? Take for instance the Mojave language. When a mother wants to express her feelings toward her child she uses the word wakavar. And when she wants to say I love you to her lover she doesn’t use the same word. Instead she says nyen nyen. The word for hummingbird. Yet she’s not referring to the word itself rather the action of its tiny body moving compactly in and out of the flower. In essence she’s using their word for sex.
Can you imagine a more interesting way of sparking someone’s interest than with a visual of wings fluttering rapidly, heart beating 1,260 beats per minute dipping with driving force into that flesh of flower and sweet, syrupy nectar? Ahem…of course not!
In fact I suspect if you try this method of dialogue on some willing participant and not someone’s grandfather, you might even get yourself a little lucky!
I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one spinning my wheels here and none of this matters to anyone else—but me. I only know when I sit down to write I bring all the power of a language, because as a writer that’s what we do, and I only hope that somewhere in between all that I say, its meaning and I live happily ever after.