Noun. An underlying and often distinct theme in a piece of writing or conversation.
I first learned about subtext, when I took acting classes in college. We talked about the “real” conversation in the midst of a conversation, about reading between the lines.
And it is something I think about almost daily, years later. What is the real conversation that is happening right now? What is the other person REALLY trying to say? What am I trying to say?
The world is filled with passive aggressiveness. And instead of recognizing that fact, we often get wound up and frustrated because we take conversations at face value. But the frustration is not because of the content of the conversation but because of the misalignment between what is said and what we can subconsciously infer subtextually.
But to really hear what is being said, to read between the lines, we need to be able to listen. To quiet our own thoughts and voices, and to be present in the moment.