Say Just Words

It’s pretty common now for people to talk about how much tougher the older generations were because words didn’t hurt them. They’ll talk about how their generation didn’t need “safe spaces” and how they weren’t afraid of the truth. They’ll say that their parents “didn’t raise sissies” or something like that. And of course, they’ll probably mention something about using violence against anyone that says anything offensive towards them.

In addition to believing the concept of an emotionally tougher generation is simply not true, I believe that type of thinking is outdated. I also believe it was never healthy and not good for anyone. Feeling what you feel at the time you feel it isn’t bad. Expressing your emotions isn’t bad. Crying or being upset isn’t weakness.

This post will probably be a bit disjointed, as many of my posts are. But, I know the point I want to attempt to get across in it. I know what I want to say. I don’t know if I’m going to say it as well as I would like to, but that’s okay. I’m going to say whatever I say.

For much of my time in school, I was made fun of. If it wasn’t my long hair, it was my glasses, of maybe it was how I dressed. The kids that made fun of me for having bucked teeth and an overbite were the ones that later made fun of me for having braces and head-gear to correct those issues. It’s been years since those things happened, but it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten them. Memories like that can pop up pretty randomly and still cause me to have issues with my appearance.

I fully admit to issuing my share of insults and mockery to kids in school. I admit to making many off-color and insensitive comments about… well, about just about anyone and everyone at some point. But there was a point when I stopped. As far as I know, there was not anything specific that made me stop. There wasn’t a figurative light going off in my head. I had an awakening. I realized the damage done to me and I don’t want to be a part of that damage done to others.

Surviving the constant ridicule and mockery without publicly crying didn’t make me stronger or better suited for the world. It made me numb. It made me believe that I was supposed to be ridiculed and mocked. It made me not like myself. It made me not able to deal with people in an effective way.

As I often say in my posts, this is not a “woe is me” post. This is me trying to figure things out. This is me trying to understand why and maybe try to move forward in a more positive way. Or at the very least, a less negative way.

Way too often, we look at things from a particular point of view in life and we don’t change. I look at so many aspects of life differently than I used to. I don’t think as highly of some people, events, or memories of my life as I did before. I realize that they may not really have been as good as I thought or hoped they were. My opinion and my feelings changed.

One of my favorite holiday specials is Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. In that special, there’s a band of “hooligans” that sings a song with a line that says “We don’t wish to learn, but we hate what we don’t understand.” I think that applies to almost everything I’m writing about today. People ofeten mock things they don’t understand and they don’t bother to learn why people act differently from them.

I like logic. I like understanding things. I like understanding people and their actions. Even if their actions aren’t good, I want to know why they did what they did or said what they said. But even as much as I want to understand why people are they way they are, I’ve also learned that I’m not always going to understand all aspects of their lives. I also don’t need to. If they’re not doing any harm to me or to anyone else, why should them being “different” matter? It shouldn’t, so why do we mock differences? Why do we say hurtful things?

Why do we continue to push people and push them until they reach their breaking point? Why don’t we care more? Why?

Yeah, I’m passionate about this. I’m in my 40s. Things that were said to me by classmates, teachers, authority figures, and even relatives have stuck with me. Their words have impacted me. They’ve made me doubt so much about myself. Even now, as it’s so easy for me to see how much better off I am than I have been in a very long time, there’s still things said that knock me down. There’s things said that remind me of other things that have been said and that’ll bring me down me more.

I remember what it was like to not want to go to school because of the ridicule I knew I was going to face on a daily basis. I knew I was going to hear words that were offensive to me. I knew that there was basically nothing I could do to make it better for myself on a daily basis. If I cried, I would be mocked for crying. If I told someone about it, I would be mocked for telling. So I just kept taking it. That does a lot to someone’s mental and emotional state. As damaged as I may be, I’m also lucky to have come out of it as well as I did.

One of things that bothers me the most about when I write things like this, or a political post, is that I know that the people reading these things aren’t necessarily the ones that “need to.” My audience is mostly like-minded people that know where I’m coming from. The people that are reading my posts aren’t the ones that I’m passively calling out in this entry. But, that isn’t going to stop me from writing and it isn’t going to stop me from posting. But, I often hesitate to post certain things because I’m not sure how some people will take it. I’m afraid of their replies. And THAT is what this post is mostly about.

Words are powerful. They can shape opinions. They can create emotion. They can lift someone’s spirits. They can tear someone down. Say the right thing. If you don’t understand someone or something about them, mocking them isn’t the right thing. Say words. But just say the right words.








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