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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Sometimes I wonder why I even try to beat this, this overwhelming self hatred isn’t going to just disappear because I am popping pills or because I am admitting to people that I am depressed or anxious or that I have been sexually assaulted. I am never going to be happy, and I know that sounds so emo and unproductive but let me finish. 

I am never going to be happy stuck in this place, stuck in the exact place ive been since the day my innocence was stolen. Surrey, yes I am finally admitting the place I live, always felt like home. This is the place I was born, the place I learnt to talk, walk and this is the place my life evolved in. I have walked the same streets over and over again and it always felt safe and like nothing could possibly hurt me here because the faces of people I trusted filled every corner and every alley of these streets I now fear. I use to feel safe walking to the mall with ear buds blasting music and my mind in the clouds or walking through the short cut in the forest to the pool. Not because I was naive or unaware of what could happen but because I knew I had places to run to if anything happened. I trusted the people I knew, I trusted the neighbors and the faces I grew up around and then my life up and changed. When my dad got sick I still had my “safe” neighborhood, my familiar streets, a person I could run to on every street corner. When my grandma died I had people close enough that I could call them to come over and chill so I didn’t have to be alone with my thoughts. When my ex boyfriend came out I had people around that would meet me at a park or mall or a random parking lot so I didn’t have to dwell in my sadness and pain. 

But then we moved. 

Life happens; things that are completely out of our hands get thrown at us and I understand why we had to move. I understand that housing was hard to find and increasingly harder when we had to factor in that my dad was gonna need a wheelchair in the near future. When we moved I lost more then anyone else. I lost my ability to call up someone and meet them down the street, I lost that sense of security. I couldn’t see my friends as often because it was out of the way & no one drove. Getting to school was almost impossible and I ended up missing a lot and regretfully dropping out. I was alone with my thoughts, locked in my room alone for the better part of my day because I couldn’t just sit in the living room watching my dad deteriorate. I lost most of my friends because it was always a fight to go hang out with them. I lost everything that kept me sane and slowly I began reliving the painful experiences alone and so I drank. I drank to forget the pain, I drank because it gave me a reason to leave the house, I drank because if I drank enough I could fall into a dreamless sleep. I drank with people I didn’t know which lead to the sexual assault I speak about often. The sexual assault that I had to deal with alone because the people I told didn’t believe me. 

What I always failed to share was that it happened in the same area I grew up in. That the streets and mall that once seemed so safe became a reminder of the night I wish I could forget. I would be on edge every time I stepped foot into my old neighborhood fearful that I would see him. Fearful that I would run into people I knew before the assault, people who knew me before the depression and anxiety lead me into an inactive, unmotivated, sad and tormented person I allowed myself to become. A huge part of my insecurities come from losing my safe place, losing the people I always had to run to, losing my angels that helped me keep my demons away and then, from losing the good memories of my safe place to the torment the assault left in its place. 

This house, this neighborhood that homes the faces of people I have nothing in common with, people I do not know, has taken more from me then the good memories we built in it. I am resentful, resentful that this house took so much away from me. That within the walls of this house my heart has been broken so many times. That this house has more bad memories then good memories hidden within the walls. I feel like I am living in a prison, locked in a nightmare reliving all the pain and suffering this house has made me deal with. I feel unsafe behind these walls or walking these streets because I have no comfort, no safety, no one I can run to if something happens because they would rather turn a blind eye and pretend they aren’t home. 

I sit in a house my dad use to sit in, but he never lived in this house. He deterioted here, he suffered here. He adapted to life here, he choked and almost died here; the ambulance took him from here and never brought him back. ALS stole him from us here And now his ashes are here. But he never lived here.. He never worked on cars or spent hours trying to repair something in the drive way here, he never made memories here that were positive; no, he didn’t live he existed here. 

I lay in my own bed in a room my nephew was conceived in, in a room that my sister brought him home to but that wasn’t a joyful time for me. I love my nephew more then I could ever explain, his intelligence and his attitude makes me both proud and amused everyday and I am grateful to have him in my life, however my sister never wanted children and everyone always said I’d have a baby first. Yet she was the first one to have a successful pregnancy and there I was dying inside, unable to be touched or trust a man watching my sister live my only consistent dream. Watching her prepare for her first born and seeing my moms excitement to have her first grandchild killed me. I didn’t want my pain to show, but it probably did. I didn’t want to show my jealousy, but I know it radiated in the way I acted. I didn’t wanna admit how much pain her pregnancy brought me and how much it killed me. The birth of my nephew, a happy time, was one of my lowest and most painful times. It’s still such an emotional and painful topic for me. I still cry because I took out my pain on an innocent baby. I wouldn’t bond with him because I resented the fact that he was hers and not mine. I hated these feelings, I wanted to be happy for her, to be excited that I had a nephew but I couldn’t. I wanted to be okay with the bond my mom had with her first grandchild, but I was jealous that it wasn’t my child.  I wanted to put aside my resentment but I had no one to vent to because moving to this house took my ability to maintain my friendships. 

I have dealt with so much suffering in this house that I can’t possibly fathom ever being happy here. This was the house I came home to after being sexually assaulted, the house my heart was broken in, the house my favorite uncle stole from. I can’t blame my short comings on a house, I know that, but moving here didn’t help. 

If these walls could talk they would share stories of a broken family, share stories of fights and arguments, tears and hopelessness. They have witnessed our downfalls and trapped the memories within the drywall and studs. I don’t know how much longer I can live here, how much longer I can relive the painful memories this house holds. 

I’m homesick for a place I’ve never been;

Where my heart is full and my mind is at ease.