words

Change is the end result of all true learning

As an infant, we were taught to speak and our parents rejoiced when we half heartily mumbled the first mama or dada. We are encouraged as children to learn and expand our vocabulary, knowing that we may never use these long complicated words in everyday life, yet we are praised on our intelligence. Everyday we are expected to communicate verbally, whether it’s at work or in your personal life. But what happens, or what consequences are we faced with when the one thing we were encouraged and praise for becomes something that’s used to hurt other people? Why can’t we – as a generation – learn to speak and listen without blame, without judgement, without fear that our words, thoughts, or beliefs will be disregarded or used as a weapon in destroying our self worth. Better still, why are we so careless with the words we use?

We, as a whole, have a rather bad case of speaking without thinking, of judging without knowing, of disregarding what other people have to say if it is opposite of what we believe. I remember visiting my dads side of the family as a child and being told to be quiet, not to speak out of turn, and basically, to be seen but not heard. I never understood this, I never understood why I was being discouraged to speak around my family. Particularly because my mother’s family rejoiced in noise and talking and laughing. I couldn’t understand why I was told to be quiet in class, yet told to speak louder when asking or answering a question and I was unable to defer the two, especially at 6. I never understood, I still don’t understand, how its okay to be loud when people want you too and yet you are judged for being loud or “obnoxious” when you are having fun with friends. Why is the volume of one’s voice so important to other people? Why are we either labeled quiet or loud when we are simply just human? We are a generation, a human race, that sit behind computer or phone screens proclaiming that our beliefs trump those who disagree with us. We have bred wars, we have encouraged hate, we have teleported back in time where race is the most important thing of our lives. We have ruined the world out forefathers (and mothers) worked so hard to create. We have allowed ignorance to cloud our perspectives.

I digress often.

Perhaps I’m aging myself, but who remembers that little rhyme we’d say as children “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? It was in those words that we minimalized the impact that insults an gossip truly hurts. The bruises your sticks and stones leave, the broken bones, the scrapes and cuts will heal, however words stay with you. My mothers’ favorite line was “they’re just words” and I suppose that was the way she was raised, but in my personal, and not so personal, experience words cause just as much, if not more, damage. Damage that is irreversible once they fester, damage that no cast or band aid or kiss can heal. We blurt out insults and judgements and think that a simple word – sorry – will take away that hurt, when in reality it doesn’t help. Sorry is just another word, another half-hearted compound of sounds that we have given too much power too. We are expected and encourage to act like nothing happened once a person says sorry, like the knives that were thrown into our souls didn’t cut us.

Our words have so much more power than people like to believe, or care to acknowledge.

Again, maybe its just me; The way that words and phrases that have been said to you stick with you. Like the first time you were rejected or the first time someone told you they loved you. The syllables and compounds that come together to form words replay in your mind, the entire memory engulfs you and you relive the happiness, excitement, or pain all over again. This happens a little too often to me and it cuts a little deeper each time. How can someone who claims that they care about you mutter the words they know will hurt you. Why would someone who “loves you” spew cruel and degrading insults at you?

I grew up with so many unstable people, so many people who spoke without thinking, and used my insecurities and downfalls against me. I grew up caring too much about the words people said, and now words are my biggest enemy. I am constantly fearful that I will be judged and ridiculed for the things I say, that I wont be deemed truthful. I fear these things based on my past, based on the things that happened to me, the way the people around me did things.  But I know consciously, now that I have had the time to grow, that I cannot be consumed with what happened in the past. I cannot live in the rear-view mirror if I ever want to get ‘better’. If I ever want to be healthy and happy again I need to internally change. I know nothing is built in a day, but I have begun to deal with my past. I have been able to speak openly about the things that happened in my life, from the sexual assault that I allowed to ruin my life, to the loss of my dog and everything in between. I have been able to address and confront the people and words that have torn apart my soul. The things that use to be my dark secrets are now just another part of my journey and I am proud of that now.

Again, I find myself digressing from the topic I am trying to address.

I allowed a boy’s – he’s an adult now, but he’s still just a boy in my eyes – drunken words to fool me into thinking that I was enough for him. I allowed his broken promises and dishonest “feelings” to break me into 10,000 pieces and I never once confronted him about it, until recently. I finally stood up to the one person who always had the one up over me because I let him. I finally stood my ground and in a way, it back fired. By standing up for myself he is no longer in my life, by voicing my opinion and speaking up against him I lost who I thought was my best friend. Twice in one year I am faced with the sobering reality that I am without the two beings that knew me the best. Jayda and Peter knew everything about me, and I shared so much with both and to have neither one of them here for me or with me feels like my entire life has changed; and it has changed, I have changed. I realize now that by removing him from my life I have lifted a rock that was crushing me. I can breathe again, despite the pain. I use to think that our friendship could withstand any storm but failed to realize that he was the storm. His passive aggressive comments and mentally abusive tactics formed waves that engulfed me and pulled me back into the water no matter how hard I tried to escape. I thought that without him I would be lost, but it wasn’t until I was at my lowest that I found that he kept me lost. He spun me around in circles until I was weak and unable to see straight, and then left me to figure out where to go afterwards. His compassion was tainted with selfishness and pushed me away when I needed more, he dangled a dream in front of me just far enough away that I couldn’t reach and then gave a piece of it to any aboriginal, dark eyed girl he could see. He killed parts of me, parts of myself I use to like. I gave so much to someone because I fell for the words he spoke, because I believed fabricated tales of a life we could make together. I have learned to hard way that I must learn to fall for actions and not words. I fell to rock bottom, but it was there I was able to rediscover what I need and deserve.

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