Friday, August 23, 2013


Words can build you up, and they can tear you down.  Words have the power to enlighten, but also to destroy.  Words can make you.  Words can break you.  The old adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.", yeah!  Whoever came up with that one was obviously not a short, overweight redhead with a really unusual last name.

When I was a child, I'm not sure what got me bullied quicker: my red hair; the overwhelming quantity of freckles; my stature; my cute chubbiness or my last name.  That was just at school, not even talking about home.  I have four siblings who could be (and occasionally still can be), very sharp tongued.  Being the overly sensitive, heart on the sleeve type that I can be (especially growing up), I spent a great deal of time in tears.

I know now that most people use cruel words because they are the ones who are afraid.  As kid, I didn't know that.  I thought people hated me because I was different.  It had a big effect upon the person I have matured into, but not all of the effects were bad, and not all were good.  I had to develop a very thick skin, and that took years for that to finally happen.  By my own admission, therapy helped.

Some people would refer to it as getting a backbone, my sister's favorite phrase.  Some people would say I learned to pull myself up by the bootstraps, my parent's favorite saying.  I say I learned to stand up for myself.  I stopped being a whipping girl for everyone who had a fit to pitch.  I stopped tolerating being used by family and friends.  I decided that enough was enough.  I became a fully fledged bitch.

I know that there are times that I can be very hostile when I feel cornered.  Most folks never have to see that side of me.  Being that way can tire me out, clear down to my soul.  I prefer to not get that angry.  I've been known to do it when necessary.  I've also been known to throw a punch or two.  That really catches people off guard.  I've gotten into trouble several times for putting a fist in somebody's face.  If you ever get the chance, ask my lifelong best friend's husband about summer between fifth and sixth grade.  He found out that a carefully placed foot across the throat and one firmly placed foot on the chest are not very comfortable.   Most only see my sweet side, which is the dominant side, for sure, but I know how to stand up for myself.

As I have gotten older, not only have I learned to stand up for myself, I have also learned that words do more damage than my fist ever could.  I've become very cutting when needed.  It is a talent that comes in very handy with domineering people.  A few specifically chosen words, and I am no longer a target.  It does tend to upset my mother, but it is a talent I have watched her demonstrate many times in my life.  I was the target on numerous occasions, though not in recent years.

Being a customer service person has helped to hone that skill.  Harsh as it may be, there can be times when a talent for politely rude words is needed.  I understand that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, but you have to give respect to get respect.  If you want my help, if you need my help, then show me respect for the knowledge that I have, respect that I deserve.  If someone calls a customer service phone number, then be prepared to be courteous and polite, or expect the representative to be a bit hostile.  It is truly that simple.

I can still get hurt by words.  It happens, because some people know exactly what words to say to make it hurt.  Not everything goes in one ear and out the other.  Some of it sticks.  I am still a heart on the sleeve type.  I just hide it better these days.

Now, when I hurt, I write.  I vent it to the world.  I figure if I can show somebody else that it can be gotten passed, gotten over or gotten around, then I have done a great thing.  I didn't set out to show anyone my hurts or scars.  I started this blog wanting to share those things that I love: friends; family; pets;!  This blog has become a record of my journey to the next stage in my life, whatever that may be.  I've opened my heart and my mind without fear.  I want others to know that remembering where you have been and looking forward to where you are going are important, but that where you are right now is the greatest thing you will ever have.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is not promised.  There is only today...specifically, there is only right now.

Words are a wonder.  Words can take you away, or plant you firmly in the now.  There is no greater power than the words we choose to use at any given moment.  I want mine to count.  Do you?

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