Written for the Escapist Magazine, recreated in-part with permission.
I want you to imagine and describe a brand new color. Something that has no basis in language, no real logical anchors to grasp hold and communicate, but I want you to try all the same. Reach into the quiet parts of your mind, and summon every word, thought, abstract concept, and comparison you can possibly put to form in order to conceptualize and describe something no one has ever seen before, and communicate it in a way that makes sense for others.
It’s a nigh-impossible thing to conceptualize, because it’s such a difficult idea to keep traction on. Can colors even be conceptualized outside of having a frame of reference? It can’t be like blue, green, or purple, because there are already blues, greens, and purples. It is, instead, something so theoretically simple but impossibly beyond reach. A thought process that has no frame of reference, and is difficult to communicate for that very reason.
This is a thought exercise I come back to from time to time, in my own experience, when trying to describe why it’s so difficult for me to communicate things sometimes. Uncertainty, fear, and anxiety are things we all face sometimes, but some more than others. For those who face it chronically, there almost isn’t any language that does the feeling justice. It touches on aspects of it, elements of the worst of the feelings, but it’s always just one step too removed to really hit all the right notes.