Freudians talk about the trauma suffered by children who experience intense sexual feelings before they are able to make words representing the sensations to themselves-- and thus are unable to find a way to remember and minimally understand the feelings. Intense feelings are always more difficult to handle when one can't articulate responses or characterizations of the feelings. The beginning of control-- of exercising agency-- is expression. In my childhood memory, I not only could not participate in making music (i.e., in joining it, in getting inside it), I could not explain what I was feeling or why I was crying. "The music!" I said, hoping the adults around me would know what I meant. The fact that they didn't, that they couldn't see why something I heard as beautiful could upset me so deeply, put me even further outside the music, as well as set me apart from the adults who didn't share or even recognize my emotional response.
back to essay