There have been a few things going on in my life. I am in the middle of a massive transition. It is beyond frightening and it has been life altering. Definitely life altering. And among it all I have contemplated the nature of words. I was thinking earlier today that actions do speak louder than words. However, there is a reason the pen is mightier than the sword. Words have the potential to cause great emotional and mental scarring. There is no black eye to cover or cuts to heal, but there is extensive damage. Words can cut to the bone, they can alter self-image, and they oftentimes leave lasting marks on psyches and self-worth. What is even more tricky is that the use of words can do serious damage even when things are not said in anger. Hearing that someone is more beautiful, more attractive, more intelligent, more fascinating (in comparison) can do as much damage as calling the person ugly, or stupid, or boring. There is not the shock of a direct assault, but it hits and then sinks in. In an episode of Scrubs the Janitor calls J.D. stupid and J.D. goes, “That’s it? Really?” and the Janitor says, “Give it time.”
I know I am not the best when it comes to not name calling. I have done my fair share of slandering and throwing hurtful words about. It is something that I do not like about myself. There are certain choice words and names I would give myself, and then there are others that hit far bellow the belt. They leave lasting scars. I have concluded that there are only so many times that I can rebound before it’s not worth standing up again. Before I bow to the name and let it seep into my thoughts. And what’s worse, it acts like a poison and spreads. I am not worth it. I am not as beautiful. I am not as intelligent. All of the positive thoughts and feelings begin to melt away and then I am left with nothing but a face I do not know. It’s like a strange form of amnesia. It looks familiar, those eyes, the smile, the nose, but I cannot fathom who the person is. And not only has my outside been attacked, but it has poisoned my insides.
It’s sad, though, that uttered words can have this damaging of an effect. Repeated enough, it acts like a hammer. There are frontal attacks where a name calling takes place, and there are stealth ones where a comparison arises and you are the loser, and there are also the double-edged insults where in the process of saying one thing, they damage yet another part. I no longer want you/You are not worth it. There is not hope/I don’t want to try. It truly makes me wonder some times if I would rather have a solid punch in the gut versus poisonous words. It would be immediate and the pain would subside rather quickly, whereas with words, they hit and then they build up until it reaches a pitch point and its like being hit all over again, except not just in the stomach, but the face, the legs, the arms, the head, the feet, and most importantly the mind.
The past few days have been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The most overwhelming is fear. Then anger. I am angry at myself. I am angry at other people. I am just ready to scream and yell and pound my fists as aggression takes hold. Then the last is utter sadness. If it was not in my nature to get angry and replace the paralyzing depression, I know sadness would be competing for first place. There is a person and a part of my life that I am mourning. There are ideas and desires that are now gone. And sadness is tricky. For me, it typically leads back to questioning worth. Was I ever important? Was I ever loved? Was I ever wanted and desired? Or did I imagine it all. Was it like a mirage in the desert, brought to life through desperation and thirst? Something purely internal that was birthed through the desire to quench a metaphorical thirst? And the worst is that these questions will not stop running through my head, and at the same time I am afraid to know the answer. I am not sure I will believe it or I will simply be crushed.
Actions speak louder than words. They scream. But the pen is mightier than the sword, and used as a frontal attack, a stealth assault or a double-edged sword, it cuts to the bone and leaves lasting scars. What would you rather have: someone slap you across the face or let them pick apart your worth through passive aggressive verbal subterfuge? Was I ever loved? Was I ever respected? Was I ever worth it? Did you ever care? I did and always will, I do, and you were.