Words. They swirl in my brain, flow from my fingers (sometimes, most of the time, I'm digging for them), float up from a page. Where would we be without them? How would we communicate? What if you couldn't speak or write your needs, desires, frustrations for just an hour? I cannot begin to imagine, and frankly I don't want to.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." We've all recited that little piece of crap, haven't we? In my life, words have always inflicted the worst wounds, left the worst scars. I wish I could say I've never inflicted wounds with my own words, but lying to yourself is the worst sin. I've learned the hard way to guard my tongue, swallow words that might cause pain to another. Holding my tongue is damn hard. I've worked with the public for 22 years now, and I'm pretty good at politically correct speech, but I still find myself biting my tongue, trying desperately to find a better way to word something, or say nothing at all.
Lately, I worry I've spent so much time censoring myself that I've actually damaged by ability to write. What used to come so easily is now hard work that leaves me close to tears some nights. I can close my eyes, visualize the scene, and there is a missing connection between my brain and my fingers. In the time I used to be able to write a chapter I'm lucky if I can get a couple of paragraphs. And it pisses me off. Which in turn makes the writing just that much harder.
This is the stuff that I think about during the day, while I'm working. The power of something as simple as a word, from a loved one, friend, or even complete stranger. How it can be the pivot that sends you soaring or plummeting. We are truly fragile creatures, mentally and emotionally. Words are both the most dangerous weapon and the medicine we cannot live without.