More Than a Word

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What’s in a word?
Letters, surely.
Following letters come syllables,
from syllables there is stress,
with stress there is sound,
and that makes a word.

Words are given meanings
as arbitrary as the letters.
But what about feeling?
The feeling of a word
rolling out of your mouth and
caressing your tongue.
Energy and light from the soul
entering space.

What’s in a phrase?
A few words strung together,
now given new meaning by
their order. Eliciting feelings
and constantly shifting,
mood and body language depending.

What about feeling with phrases –
more intense than merely words.
One word can slice while many can dice.
The words just keep coming
and they never stop once they are inside.

The words become our blood –
circulating and powering
the organs that make us live.
The words make us see stars.
We don’t know why, only that
they might hurt or might scar.
We may feel joy or confusion…
delight or delusion.
It’s too late once it’s our blood.

Words circulate our veins
and nothing’s the same
once the phrase comes alive.
The phrase is a maze
that we cannot escape.

Words and phrases – they may bite.
They may peel away our soul or
a piece may break off
brittle and crumbling
like our sense of self-worth.
These words increase our self-loathing
and phrases are foreboding.

Even now, as I say these words and phrases,
I say them deliberately and with rhythm.
Whether heard or read
or spoken or imagined –
You can feel them.
They are moving you
and you may not understand why or how.
You wonder: why won’t I just get to the point already?
With tears in my eyes, listen to me now:

You’re a fucking bitch.
Say that again and I’ll put your ass on the floor.
You’re a cunt.
I hate you.
You’re not leaving.
Don’t walk away from me.
You deserve it.
I didn’t hit you, so it wasn’t abuse.
You had it coming.
It’s your fault, not mine.
You’re overdramatizing what happened.
I can’t remember saying that.
You’re not normal.
I wish you were like other girls.

Many letters on a page, with spaces in-between,
making phrases and I don’t know what they mean.
The words haunt me. I’m a broken girl
forever and I can’t even see
where I’ve been or where I’m going.
I just know the words are blood
and they’ll never, ever leave.

I’ll never forget what it feels like to not want to breathe.
To be afraid: of the dark, of what might happen next,
of never knowing what to expect,
of having to run and deal with the shame,
the judgments, the questions, the blame.

No matter what happens, I’ll never be the same.

I implore you to consider what’s in a word.
Specifically, your words, before they are heard.

One thought on “More Than a Word

  1. The thing about words is that they have meaning and power. We can’t really change the meaning, but we can change the power they have over us.

    Consider this. If a random person walked up to you and said those same things, would you still be haunted by those words? Probably not. You would say “that person doesn’t even know me, so what the hell is his problem?” You would probs never forget the moment, but it wouldn’t affect you so profoundly. You wouldn’t let those words have power over you.

    His words, though, hurt because they came from him. They hurt because you loved him. I’ve known you a few years now, and I can safely say that none of those words apply to you. Chances are, he knew those words really didn’t apply to you, but he used them because he was trying to manipulate you.

    I’m sure he has apologized. I’m sure he’s told you that he didn’t mean those things he said, and he’s probably telling the truth when he says that. But ultimately, this leaves you with two potential realities:

    1. He actually meant the things he said to you, and that means he didn’t really know you at all. Therefore, his words are ultimately meaningless. It would be just as meaningless if you told me that my eyes are brown (they are green). My eyes are not brown just because you say so. You are not a cunt just because he said so.

    2. He truly didn’t mean those words, and he simply used them because he was trying to manipulate you (because he’s a sociopath). And in that case, you still know that those words don’t apply to you, because he was simply saying awful things in order to make you upset.

    In either case, the conclusion is that you cannot let the words haunt you, because the words themselves are incidental to the real issue: they only hurt because by uttering them, you felt deeply betrayed by someone you loved.

    When you come to the realization that you are a wonderful person–and when you truly believe in your own self-worth–only then will you stop carrying those words with you.

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