Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words when trying to describe how you felt? Where it seemed that despite the extensiveness of our English language, there wasn't a single word in our vocabulary that could do justice to whatever emotion was knocking at our heart's door? And for awhile, you were trapped in this sort of limbo trying to figure out how to explain it to others but since you couldn't, you didn't bother.
But then, by chance, you came across that perfect word that captured the feeling in its entirety?
Well, I have. And there's this immaculate joy that comes in that moment when you figure it out. It's kind of like finding that perfect song where each line's lyric just speaks to all that you're going through. And you're astonished, really...like damn, that is exactly what I'm feeling. There's this sort of relief to know that someone somwhere at some time felt what you're feeling here and now...to know that you're not so crazy and misunderstood as you once thought you were.
Anyway, my word is saudade. And it's not even English, it's Portugese. It's "a somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness...due to the absence of someone or something, to move away from a place or thing, or to the absence of a set of particular and desirable experiences and pleasures once lived". It's how I feel when I return from traveling. I tried to explain the feeling in this blog post years before I discovered the exact word for it. There's this sort of melancholy, nostalgia, yearning that comes over me...though those words alone are not enough. It's simply saudade.
Which brings me to another point. How is it that there are just some words that can't be translated from one language to another? When if you try, you lose its essence. Why are there words that just can't be translated? Is there something in the history of the people who speak a certain language -- a history so unique -- that only they could create a word to capture a moment, a feeling?
Oh words, what clumsy but complex things you are.