Of Emotion and Music Without Words

Below is a poem I penned on the twelfth day of March this year:

I try to show my emotion

But it gets twisted and broken

When it comes out

Like my whisper became a shout

It morphs and it moves

I didn’t mean it to be so used

You may be confused

If you would offer it back to me

The elusive string I faintly see

This time I’ll wrap it up strong

To give in a way that won’t be wrong


Have you ever felt this way? Like you couldn’t express your emotions quite right, or in a way that would be understood? That you couldn’t find the right words to use? That you had trouble connecting with others?

When I was a kid, long before Disney’s Frozen came out, I watched The Snow Queen, the original English dub of the Russian animated version of 1957. This was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale published in 1844. I was charmed by the storyteller’s twirling umbrella, and Kai and Gerda’s friendship and their declaration to always be friends and love each other and be happy together forever. I’d forgotten until recently that Gerda asked Kai in this version to be his girlfriend.

And maybe watching things like this gave me ideas because when I reviewed one of my earliest journals a year ago, I was reminded by my six year old self that I met my first boyfriend in the first grade. Said boyfriend probably never knew it and so wouldn’t be bothered when I decided a few days later that we weren’t dating anymore because he was “gross”. I don’t think I’d have ever admitted to him that I felt differently before I saw him pick his nose and make a snack of it.

Back to the Snow Queen. When Kai gets the enchanted glass stuck in his eye and is rude to Gerda I might not have cried with her, but gosh, I felt something prickly in my stomach. I remember being confused when in captivity the Snow Queen tells him that “flowers, beauty, joy, and love are all illusions” and he must forget them, as she’s retold him many times before. Who could feel that way? Or rather, not feel? I love that this story ends with the girl coming to the guy’s rescue. This animated version doesn’t show it, but in the tale, she kisses him and in any version, I think, it’s clear that her love is what breaks the spell.

I wanted to be strong and brave like Gerda, but sometimes I felt more like the Snow Queen! The other day I was listening to Freya Riding’s “You Mean the World to Me”, which professes she’s not an “ice queen” even though she does not let show how she feels and she could be “pretty mean”. Ouch.



Growing up, I felt like an old soul (perhaps more on this specific topic soon) and somewhat disconnected from my peers and the things they talked and cared about. I preferred classical music without words, that could convey so much emotion I couldn’t express through speaking. I loved old movies and old books and sometimes I preferred the company of adults to kids my own age. I’d sit and listen to their stories and learn. I liked reading about simpler times and looking at old photographs. And sometimes I just felt at a loss when it came to joining in conversations in school, because I couldn’t always relate. I so wanted to connect but felt misunderstood. I was sure people thought I was aloof and standoffish and once heard someone say I was intimidating.

Music without words, specifically classical music, has always been on an entirely different sphere for me. Take a look at how it transcends time here.

While things have become much easier in adulthood, life is also more complex! Sometimes I wish an appropriate response would be, “Here, listen to this classical piece. That’s how I feel.” And no, don’t worry, it’ll only take around 15-30 minutes. But, to save you some, times here’s a very short little piece that I can honestly say is good example of how it feels when I write-the wonder, the discovery, the joy in creating. Can you feel it too?




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