Did You Know I Missed You?

For the longest time, I always got uncomfortable whenever people asked me about what my book was “about.” I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know what it was about—I was the one writing it after all—but I never knew how to sum it up in one succinct sentence. I mean, even if I allowed myself to use the term “coming-of-age,” I would still have had to say, “it’s a coming-of-age story of…” and again, I would hit a wall.

But then something funny happened. I was driving up to Fort McMurray in the middle of nowhere, Alberta, and it was the third day of the trip. It had been a gruelling journey so far, thanks to the stress caused by driving through the United States, and both my friend and I were thankful to be back on Canadian soil—even if that soil was of the “sketchy-outskirts-of-Winnipeg” variety. At any rate, you had sent me a message earlier that day, asking about how the trip was so far, and when I read it that night, something occurred to me.

Do you know what I wanted to say? I wanted to say something along the lines of “I miss you and I’ve thought about you every day since I left.” And that was the truth, you know? Of course, that’s not what I ended up saying, but in that moment, I realized that this was what my book is about: it is about the idea—the tragedy —that we can never bring ourselves to say the things we want to say as often as we need.

We spend much of our lives practicing our social skills and we’ve been conditioned, in some ways, to think that there’s a time and a place for everything we could possibly want to say. We’re concerned about how others might react if we let them know how we feel in what we perceive as the wrong context. So we hold it all in. And, as a result, we will never say the wrong thing at the wrong time—we will never have moments of awkwardness. We can avoid those moments that can seem devastating when they happen…

But we also miss out on the chance to connect with people. We miss out on the chance to tell others how they’ve affected our lives. We miss out on the chance that they might feel the same way about us. There are so many things that we choose to keep to ourselves; things that we’re sometimes dying to share with others and… I don’t know, I just think that it’s a tragedy that we choose not to. And I think it’s a tragedy that this choice is almost a knee-jerk reaction because we live in a society where we prefer to be ignorant if the truth doesn’t confirm something we already want to hear.

That’s really what my story is about. It’s what my life’s been about, really: treading the line between being honest about my feelings and following acceptable social protocol. So what’ll it be? The next time we meet and you ask, “how was Fort McMurray?” how would you react if I turned and said, “did you know I missed you?” TC mark

image – Eryn Rickard


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  • mrae

    This article couldn’t come at a better/worse time for me. I just lost a really close friend and have been thinking about how there was always something or other I wish I had said to her or done with her before she passed. It is a tragedy in the end. Being privately lonely is much worse than possibly being publicly embarrassed.

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

      “Being privately lonely is much worse than possibly being publicly embarrassed.”


  • A.

    His is i that TC always knows what I need to read/hear at any given moment? I’m hating myself right now for not saying what I wanted, no needed to, and this perfectly summed up the experience. Also, Konstantine reference?

    • A.

      How is it* stupid autocorrect

  • Jordan

    Really good piece, and I’ve spent many an hour pondering and rueing this same thing.  With myself, with my friends, there’s SO MUCH you miss out on by not saying what’s on your mind.  It really is very sad.

    “We conceal what we fear invites rejection, but the secrecy itself kills intimacy. So, let that shit hang out sloppy.” – Stephanie Klein

    “Life chose its consequential moments, however, without the consultation of those who lived them. And the pain of speaking from the heart was always, in the end, more endurable than the suffering that was the price of silence.” – Dean Koontz

    • http://maaaaaan.tumblr.com/ wackomet

      “As I drown in my regrets, I can’t take back the words I never said” –  Lupe Fiasco

  • Niffi

    I feel the same way all the time. It’s a little depressing when you realize how many thing you miss out on by not telling people how you feel. How many misunderstandings and how much trouble it causes. Based on personal experience, there never really is a right time for anything. You just have  to say it and let it roll. 

  • Louie

    I wonder do we really hold ourselves back all the time or, sometimes, just really have not enough mental facility at our disposal (presumably because the person we’re talking to is taking up too much emotional space) to put our thoughts into words? Because I feel this more often than the former. I think there’s a name for it, even.

  • http://twitter.com/vickstahs Vicky Nguyen

    lovely read. suffice to say, i know i speak for a few people when i say this piece came at a rather fitting time.

  • Em

    Is it just me or is the title a line borrowed (unintentionally perhaps) from that Something Corporate song, Konstantine? :) Just a random thought.

    • Anonymous

      That’s the first thing I thought too!

    • ryan

      as did it! beautiful music.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      Sort of.  I’ve always been intrigued by the impact you have on people when you say “I miss you.”  Then I heard it in Konstantine and for some reason, it sounds a little nicer when you turn it into a question.

  • Georgia

    wonderful, just wonderful.

  • vee

    life’s such a tragic comedy. 

  • guest

    whats the book called?

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    Good point and good plug. Can I read your book? 

    • Anonymous

      yeah.. I was thinking the same exact thing.. I really want to read your book. Can we?

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      Ergh… I’m really sorry.  It didn’t even occur to me that it sounds like a plug (which it does, now that I’ve read it that way).  Book is still in manuscript format and I’m currently editing it.

      • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

        Shameless plug or not; it sounds good. Let me know when I can get at it.  

      • Anonymous


      • Dana Chang

        I would love to read your book when it comes available, do you have a blog in which I could find this information when it becomes available? Or if you have the time let me know :)

      • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

        I will let all you kind people know when it’s available.

      • Christian H

        [insert laughter here]

        Jon, what have you gotten yourself into?

  • Jennifer

    I don’t think this is the society we live in.  

  • http://twitter.com/mungofrench kdub

    loved this. 

  • http://twitter.com/tashny Tashny Sukumaran

    are you by any chance a something corporate fan?

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      I am :)

      • Sophia

        I KNEW THIS WAS A KONSTANTINE LINE. Wasn’t sure if that was just a coincidence or not. I’m glad it wasn’t.

  • myka mallillin

    This hit me really hard. Coz there’s this guy (as how all stories go) and sorta drifted apart and when I had the chance to say just how much I miss him, he shuns me out. It hurts like hell but I think I’ll regret it more if I didn’t say those things.

  • Sophia

    This just inspired me to text someone the exact line you gave, with a slight alteration:

    “I miss you, and I’ve thought about you every day since October. 
    You don’t have to respond, I just really really wanted to tell you.”

    You gave me the courage to do what I’ve been too afraid to do for ten months. I feel so light. Thank you.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      You’re welcome.

      Something like this is pretty much the only reason I’ll ever need to write.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nattusmith Natt Smith

    I found someone who makes me laugh again and that scares me.    It feels good to tell you guys though.  

  • Sophia

    One of the reasons I think people hold back is one of my favorite quotes in the world:

    “The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings – words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.” 
    –Stephen King

    • http://www.glamquotes.com/quote/i-miss-you-quotes/ missing you quotes

      “Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age.”

  • Guest

    text someone and say “i miss you”, if they don’t say “me too” or something along those lines, respond with “sorry, meant to text my mom”

  • Aaa

    We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all

    • BETHIE

      can i get that stitched on a pillow? PLEASE!!!

      • Aaa

        Only if you make me one too? lol

  • Sophia

    I just read this again, and I liked it even more than the first time I read it.
    I think this is my favorite piece ever on ThoughtCatalog, because I just relate to it so much.
    Thank you, Jon Wong.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      You’re welcome :)

  • http://intervital.tumblr.com eileen

    this is just wonderful. i told someone i miss him and it’s definitely because of this article :) hope you keep on writing for thought catalog! i really want to read your book as well!

    • http://profiles.google.com/jonwong.6d Jon Wong

      I am constantly terrified that nothing I write will be as good as what I’ve already written.

      • http://intervital.tumblr.com eileen

        aww if it helps I, and I’m sure other writers, feel the same way too. But I bet you consistently prove yourself wrong. Just keep on writing and even if it does come out crappy, just edit until it is better than your other works. But for real, continue writing. I’d love to read more of your work on here and other sites. Do you have a blog? I’d love to read it :)

  • Freda Ding

    Sometimes I’m at an event with a speaker and the person says “I’m here to help you!  Reach out to me.  Reach out to your peers.  Be proactive and don’t be afraid to ask questions! My email address should be on the program.”  Later I will send an email that will never be replied to.  I forgot what my point was but I would like to live in a world where a stranger can compliment you on your looks and not appear as a creep but as an admirer of a person’s unique brand of beauty. 
    Great piece.

  • Freda Ding

    Sometimes I’m at an event with a speaker and the person says “I’m here to help you!  Reach out to me.  Reach out to your peers.  Be proactive and don’t be afraid to ask questions! My email address should be on the program.”  Later I will send an email that will never be replied to.  I forgot what my point was but I would like to live in a world where a stranger can compliment you on your looks and not appear as a creep but as an admirer of a person’s unique brand of beauty. 
    Great piece.

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