“I’d sit there and think, I can’t stand this, I can’t stand myself, I can’t stand being in this room, I can’t stand the frustration of this room. That’s what it was: the drip, drip, drip of the frustration. It was like an acid drip. But now there is tremendous fluency".
Frustration is a swollen tongue, creased skin, the sound of a car horn, an ingrown hair. It tastes like a stale bagel and feels like stepping in wet tar.
And yet it is not defeat. Dull in its familiarity, yet sharp in its taunting reproach, frustration offers a sense of obstruction that hints at forward motion. There is a before and after. To be frustrated is to feel stuck on your way through, to swallow cotton in order to drink gold. A critical step in the act of creation.
The story of progress is usually told through acts of accomplishment, an instant leap from inkling to triumph. Frustration is the story of the inbetween. A work in process. Tight fists and fleshy sighs meet the foggy ultimatum of determination.
Is there a more human emotion?
Is there a more useful word?
Imagine feeling frustrated without the word to call it so. How frustrating would that be?