Growing up I was told a lot of things that brought me happiness but swiftly turned into a disappointment when I realized the person failed to show what they told me.
“Idaya, go and wear your shoes. I will wait for you.”
I’m an adult now and I long for the carelessness of childhood. After leaving me behind, my mom would buy pongila to appease me but by the time she came back, I would have found solace with thrilling games like ice and water (I turned into ice a lot). As an adult, I hold on to words tightly because, amidst the chaos of adulting, the fulfillment of words said can make a lot of difference. I expect people to show what they say but on the occasion that they fail to, I try to not hold it against them because perfection is one of the few traits that humans are (yet) to fully possess.
In creative writing, ‘show don’t tell ‘or ‘show before you tell’ is an old golden rule. This rule allows readers to see the actions of the character(s) because it places the reader in the same room with the character. An example of showing is “now you hang from my lips like the gardens of Babylon.” If a writer wants to tell the previous example, it can be written less descriptively as “now we are kissing”. As in creative writing, when it is employed by individuals in a relationship, it places them in a room that allows both of them to see their feelings as they are truly felt.
I watched a series, which name I can’t recall, when I was in SS3 with my friends but I know it involved a hot guy who could read minds. While watching it, I imagined what it would be like to be a mind reader and at that time, I thought it would be cool to know what people truly think about you. Now, I think showing your feelings is like allowing someone to read your mind. We often assume what people feel because we can’t read their minds but in the act of showing, you know exactly what the other person feels because they are letting you into their minds.
I bask in the glory of affection and when life gets a bit cold, I love to pull affection over me. It keeps me warm. I also see it as a conforming entity that embraces everyone regardless of how dark their shade is and how bright their hue is. There’s always space for colors to pop because affection is akin to a white canvas. Affection is, also, part of the mixture that makes love chaotic and part of what makes love thrilling. Everyone yearns for it and the best way to let your significant other see your affection is through the act of showing. Telling it will never be enough, it has to be shown.
For many years from the 22 I have spent on Earth, I have been subject to quite a handful of people’s proclaimed affections. They allowed their feelings to lead them and they came to me with declarations of love with promises that their attitude towards the relationship they were hoping to build would be different from any that I have experienced. They would love me like I deserved to be loved and more tellings. They told and told and told. Few ever showed and funny enough, those that relied on telling expected more, which left me perplexed because I couldn’t figure out where it was supposed to come from. I have heard a lot of wooing tales from my friends and most of the time, according to their stories, the person they chose was the one that showed that he loved them. A promised paradise has nothing against a delivered paradise.
I understand that, at times, words are all we have but…but they are just not enough. The person you are in love with (or love) needs to be sure that you love them and the most important ingredient while building assurance is action, they need to see the love you professed.
On another hand, telling can be important because there are times when clarifications and announcements are needed. There are times when it’s necessary to make things clear and they are done with tellings. It’s just that telling is like shallow water, your feelings are the canoe that can’t float seamlessly on it because it’s just not deep enough. But I believe tellings should be done or is better in situations where the act of showing is (ultimately) in the picture. Remember the lore of the tortoise? It became bald in one and its shell became ugly in another. If this lore was simply told that the “tortoise was greedy and he became bald as a consequence”, they wouldn’t become part of the culture as they did. But the lore proficiently engaged the act of showing (the songs, the small details, the character of the animals involved) with telling and as a result, it was able to cross generations. The act of showing made the lore work but it also relied on tellings to clarify confusing parts and to announce interesting moments. As you show affection, there are times when you’ll need to clarify with words, when you’ll need to simply tell it as it is or tell what you have been showing.
Telling isn’t completely bad though. There are times when clarifications and announcements are needed. There are times when it’s necessary to make things clear and they are done with tellings.
Beneath the act of showing is the decision to love someone with intention, the decision to convince a person that you want to be an active part of their life. The act requires intentionality and as with any intentional act based on love, the act of showing can be hard work. Showing communes ‘I decided to love you and these acts are the intentional efforts I’m making to let you see it’ and the process of making the fact known will be met with occasional bumps. It shouldn’t deter. What matters is how you are taking care of your person.