I try to shy away from uncomfortable topics, they make me nervous. But I promised myself with the redesign that I would be braver with my words, and what has been happening the last couple of weeks got me thinking.
I’ve said it before and I guess I’ll say it many, many times before this blog runs its course; Human beings are funny creatures. We can dwell on things until our brains can’t handle the pressure of our thoughts. We sometimes wallow in self-pity and use it as a shield against moving forward. We wield memory, shame and words like swords to defend our perceived place in the our own little cosmos. Sometimes we don’t care who or what gets damaged in the defense of what we feel threatened of losing. Sometimes we even mask it as well-meaning behind the phrase “I just thought you should know before something bad happens to you.”
As my daughter grows older I’m finding myself more and more mindful of the words that are spoken to her and around her. I try to make sure that everything I say is really what I mean, that the tone that I use is really the best for the situation. Because I know first hand that of all the weapons at a human beings disposal, words are the sharpest. For all the beauty they can bring, they can also sow doubt, concern, and a slew of feelings that have no true place in the day to day life of a normal human being. They’ve been known to destroy relationships, ignite rage and shame and cause doubt and anger. And the they are made more versatile because words can give rise to and trigger every bad memory, every rejection, every rumor, every offense and impression that a human brain can come up with and store. When they are most dangerous however is when they become rumor. Doing the most damage by taking what swirls in your head, traveling out of your mouth and into the ear of someone who could take it to heart. And if that heart takes it badly the results can be hurtful, heart-breaking and sometimes irreversible.
I can’t protect my daughter from words or the emotions and ideals that give them shape and breath life into them. But what I can do is teach her words of her own. Eloquent, strong, confident words full of thought, consideration and respect. I can teach her to confront the unfair judgments and the rumors with the seeking of the truth from the source. And I can teach her, when the words finally break down the walls and the confidence, to reach out for reassurance from those she cares most about that she is a capable woman who can trust in her own heart, intuition, judgement and thoughts.
I can give her a shield of her own words.