power of words
Ask for permission After a person has bared their soul to you and you've successfully held your tongue, ask for permission
"You are about to see just how much weight your words carry."
The long-running local children's show where I grew up featured a man with a genial manner and entertaining style. He was without doubt one of the most beloved area personalities of his era and hero of many a young'un, including yours truly.
In the aftermath of the recent shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, it's time we examine the role of words in our politics and in our society. Those who defensively insist that their vicious verbal attacks on Planned Parenthood have nothing to do with a single gunman's massacre of innocent citizens are fooling themselves.
For Jimmy Santiago Baca, now a highly-acclaimed poet and writer, that moment when the power of words changed his life came as he was about to stab someone during a robbery he was committing.
Words hold great power. They are the symbols of life, of language, of all that we know and feel. They give expression to our lives, our souls, our deepest longings and strongest emotions. The skill of using the right words is a potent force.
That word has been used against us in the past. But you can't use a word against someone who already calls that word their own. So I claim it. I own. I use it, and I wear it. I am queer.
We must align our words, voice inflection and tone, eye expression, body language, and actions with our inner awareness in an honest exchange.
The power of language to define or wound cannot be denied. All of us know expressions that demean based on race and gender or mental health. I once heard a surly neighbor call my father a cripple. Unkind language keeps narrow-minded attitudes alive.
Right now, I need to stop and listen to the story that is taking shape for you, day by day. Right now I can support you best by being with you, not doing for you. Right now I can ask more questions and give less advice.