i’ve been thinking a lot about words lately. i know this isn’t the first time i’ve posted about them, but as we know all of life cycles through. i suppose it’s at the forefront because i’ve been writing so much more these days and in making sure that the scripted conversation contains all the elements that help move plots along, i’ve been more aware. i’ve been listening to conversations and random orations and monumentally taking in…words. i think we can all agree that there are two types of words. 1) words that build up (which is what we generally strive for if we have a sliver of decency attached to the whole of us) and 2) words that tear down. (when i say “words” i mean a grouping of words.) i’ve made a concentrated and conscious effort to practice using words that build up and encourage and eliminate language that causes detriment to another human’s psyche. i think — for the most part — i’m pretty good at it. (i have my moments.) but there’s this mid-range of words — a third type — about which i sometimes forget. these words don’t build up. but they don’t tear down either. they’re words that do absolutely nothing besides take up space. they’re work-shy. listless. slack. unemployed. they’re almost invisible and they slip past us unnoticed because they aren’t really doing anything.
why do we do that? why do we just talk for no reason? is it to be funny? command the room? is it for attention? it’s true that actions speak louder than words, but words can damage a lot more than actions…in some cases.
if a father is constantly hugging his daughter, but tells her how stupid he thinks she is…
if a man constantly buys gifts for his lover, but communicates his disdain for his lover’s face…
if a teacher gives her student a gold star every class, but tells him how awful of a student he is…
negative words. but what about those idle words? those rice cake words. (what’s the friggin’ point of a rice cake?!?!?!) i liken it to having three of your chunkiest sweaters atop your nyc closest in the dead of summer. why? why are they there taking up space? there’s no point. i did a little experiment for a few days and tried to thwart anything idle before it left my face. to my surprise, i was a little more quiet than i usually am. i started to notice how often i actually toss out talk that has no point at all. just air. noise. for no reason, and in those moments when i was quick enough to shut the eff up, i listened more and was able to convert something idle into something up-lifting. i had chunky sweaters in my speech.
so here i am waging a war on these here words. those idle words. because when the light goes off at night, i don’t ever want to think, “now why did i say that?” anything that passes through these lips has to edify my brother. lift my sister up. my desire is for my words to bear hug anyone with whom i come in contact. you bet your ass it takes a LOT more effort and a consciousness that ain’t for the faint of heart, but it’s the kind of necessary effort that gets afforded — i feel — when you’re searching for a higher self that can speak to another’s higher self and in conjuring both of those entities, the worlds starts to walk on its toes and is encouraged to lift its chest.
am i alone in this? what if none of us spoke negatively OR idly and with that took an extra two seconds to ask, “what’s this gonna do?” and i’ll raise you one: not only to others, but to yourself. what kinds of things are you putting into your own system that cause indigestions? sure, we’d probably say a lot less, but do we love the sound of our own voice that much?