Random Young Writer: Maddie Solomon

Image Description: "I love you" written in red, digital font against a black background.

the more i love, the more language is diluted

  1. the only memorable thing i took away from my college philosophy class was the exact precision words deserve. all semester, as i sat in the back, i hated the constraint when asked to reconstruct an argument. this was confining i thought, unbearable, as i learned what logic entailed: discipline. but, as i learned philosophy was reconstruction— regurgitation of something brilliant—i cannot deny the commitment to words’ exact definition that this subject embodied. sometimes i wish i paid more attention. 
  2. since i was three, i’ve been writing. my dad endowed a love for language i don’t think i can repay. i used to sit on his lap and write stories about big bird and other important characters. it was only when i began seriously writing in high school that i realized that what i sought was not a love for story, but a love for articulation. and i say need, because good writers depend on words the way they depend on food and water for sustenance—writing is not simply a want, but a means for survival. 
  3. words of affirmation are my love language. my definition is more complex than reassurance or need for validation because language itself is the most intimate expression of love. for writers, love is part of the equation⁠—we have practiced harvesting the most raw parts of ourselves. i keep a box of letters in my room as if i can contain the beautiful things people have said to me. thank you for that time you waited three hours for me, one says, or you taught me about the way the heart works. in moments of vulnerability, words are brave.
  4. even something deadened by overuse like ‘i love you’ carries significant weight. but as i grow older, i realize that the people i love and want to express my love to can erode definitions. i remember i was kissing a boy the summer before college when without thinking he said, i love you. no you don’t, i said. we were in a stairwell in dc. you think you love me. i believed there i could define it clearly, that i understood the difference between lust and love—but i too was blinded by experience. emotions both affirm and spoil our clarity, so that words are rich but ultimately wrong. 
  5. in college i fell in love for the first time genuinely. when we said i love you, we were in a car in berkeley; i had just met his family and explored his hometown. but the realization rendered disappointment. love at an early age is formulated largely by conjectures. in retrospect, it makes sense that in a mere matter of weeks later, after professing genuine love for me, he broke up with me in a car at 2 am. thus, two of the most important conversations of my freshman year took place in cars. 
  6. it astounds me that actions speak louder than words. i do not deny the serious truth in this statement, but mourn the ways in which words have lost their value. words represent something very real to me. as paradoxical as it sounds, words can be active because they offer linguistic control and tangible memory. they’re communicative. they suffer from abuse, misuse, and they settle on the wrong tongues.
  7. i had a friend in high school who always thought she was in love. i contrarily denied love. two boys i dated seriously wanted to marry me. in what felt like moments of diplomacy, i interrupted them before they finished what they had to say.
  8. people may have taught me that words are cheap. but life has taught me that “real” and “permanent” are not the same thing. my friend and i were sitting in her dorm room talking about my college break up. i feel cheated, i confessed. he told me he loved me and never wanted to lose me as a friend. then why won’t he talk to me? i was deeply saddened by this. earlier, i had gone to a party and had been met by the vivacity of cold stares. he loved you at the time, she said. it was real at the time
  9. i suppose i could protest. i could go to all the boys i’ve ever loved and who have loved me. i could say, you stole language from me. you took something i loved and you watered it down. but i am used to weak coffee and depreciation. it is a vicious and beautiful cycle. we’ve only lost our sense of obligation.
  10. i suppose the more i love, the more i lose my affinity for language. i am not a victim, but it is not my fault. we use words too liberally. i mean that. i fear a world in which words no longer matter, and language suffers from its own dissociation. 
  11. recently, a boy i loved talked about kids and our home. he called me two weeks later, asking for a break. i want to be young, he said. there’s beautiful people in LA

Maddie Solomon is a Politics major at Occidental College from Denver. She enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, exploring Denver, D.C, and Los Angeles, listening to rap music, and getting to know people authentically.