people > places > things

The Torture Of Stifled Expression

Jessie MaComment

My good friend Ryan is an artist– in every sense of the word. A dancer, musician, writer, an all-around eclectic, colorful enigma who truly lives a creative life. The best part is that he probably doesn't even realize he does. I imagine the inside of his mind to look something like a kaleidoscope, and his actions are but subtle peeks at those shapes and hues. Everyone marvels at the sight as he remains humbly unaware, just making music, making moves, making whatever to manifest the magic in him. 

Not sure if anyone actually enjoys small talk, but I hate it especially. Sure, it's polite and has its place, but I prefer to avoid obvious or petty commentary. 

So! Some of my favorite "big-talk" questions to ask, are:

"What do you fear the most,

what do you want the most,

and how have these 2 things affected how you live your life?

When I asked Ryan these questions, he only had to answer the first to make the rest obvious.

"This is gonna sound so weird.. but losing my hands. The idea of looking at a piano and not being able to make music.. That would break me."


I have a tricky relationship with desire.

There was a period of time where I lived without it. 

I was complacent, depressed, and found no pleasure or pain, hope or heartache, amusement or annoyance, in anything.

Because when you don't want anything, you don't feel anything.

So all I desired was desire. The capacity to want. 

Luckily, I found it. My want. My need to express. My muse.

I found love.


It's beautiful. He's everything.

But now I feel like Ryan without hands.

Because the one I love is (no pretty way to put this), really fucking far away. Thousands of miles.

Plot twist, right?


Wanting something is lovely. But feeling unable to attain it is nothing short of excruciating.

It's not even that I want him. It's that I want to love him more. 

Can you be greedy to give? Can you be selfishly selfless? 

Because everything that I can say or do feels pathetic. A poor, watered-down representation of what I really feel.

Words are flaccid. Even the ones I physically write on paper with my own hands and send with a kiss through the mail. FaceTime allows me to see, but not touch. Voices become distorted through the phone. Still can't touch. 

Everything feels futile when my love is here, in my chest, pumping blood through my veins, and all you can see from there are pixels on a screen. It's not nearly enough. 


In a strange way, I fell in love with a consciousness. (The movie "Her," much?)

With distance comes the chance to learn and appreciate the more important aspects of a person. The non-physical. 

Being able to connect in such an unpolluted way is a gift. A unique gift. 

But also a gift that also makes me feel like a pianist with crippled hands.


It's frustrating. There's so much music I want to make, so much love I could give, and it's all trapped inside. 

On one hand, I'm thankful to find this capacity in myself, and on the other hand. Wait, what hands? 

It's bittersweet. Like dark chocolate with caramel. And sea salt. 

This frustration makes me crazy. I'd like to think that I've learned from my past (and I have!) but I keep giving in to my own insecurities because the distance highlights everything I'm afraid of. 


But in a weird way, being confronted with this frustration (and the way he guides me through them), only strengthens how I feel.

Love can transcend space. I'm sure of it now. 

And though I'm tormented by my own yearning, I know that 

when the time comes, my hands will play you like a piano.

And you'll finally be able to hear everything my words couldn't say.