I think a lot about what it means to be sentimental or, heaven forbid, corny. I suspect that I am often both. No doubt, some people see the things I say and do and cringe; I’m openly emotional, sentimental marketing does, honestly, sometimes make me feel better, and I cry at every single wedding video even though I don’t actually like weddings all that much. I cringe at myself, too, because maybe all those things are signs of my internal weakness. Maybe I should stop, because it’s embarrassing to be so affected by everything.
There are lots of ways to be in the world. Not all of them are good. I don’t think that either side of this internal struggle I have about my own sentimentality is wrong; yes, I am too susceptible to marketing, but no, I will not stop believing wholeheartedly in the possibilities of radical empathy. I am trying as hard as I can to let myself embrace this conflict, to let myself be vulnerable not only to the terror of letting my emotions be known but also to the resulting embarrassment.
For a long time, my writing was dry and distant. Describing things was purple prose. Metaphors were cagey. Be honest, but not too honest, or you’ll risk turning readers off with the stink of your earnestness. I am trying as hard as I can, again, to let those hesitations go. My favorite writer is Angela Carter, maybe in part because she did so many things I would be petrified to do. But that’s because I don’t see the internal struggle. Maybe she wondered if her writing was too sentimental. Maybe she didn’t—maybe she was always confident that she was doing things in the exact way they ought to be done. I’m not there yet and maybe I won’t ever be, but it’s worth being embarrassed sometimes, I think, if that is the consequence of growing.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(adv.) from Late Latine affectuosus, for affectionate, fond, loving
A music direction meaning loving, tender.
To care is an act of sacrifice. She doesn’t need to spill blood on the tender leaves for it to count; there is time and there is work and there is the endless worry that gnaws at her. Will the seed take root? Will there be anything to harvest? She must care, or the seed won’t grow. But caring keeps her tender as a new shoot, grasping for support. She, like a new seedling, often needs something to lean on, to keep her upright. But when the seed grows, blooms, produces fruit that nourishes her, it is all worth it.