Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Power of Words

Hello. How was your weekend? Mine was...eventful. I'm still recovering. I'm sleepy and tired and behind in my work. Also, I haven't been paying any attention to you because I haven't had the energy to spare.
Does that happen to you too?

Sometimes you have just about enough energy to keep breathing and that's it. Ugh, speaking of breathing...I'm not doing that so well either.
Anyways, so I want to talk about words today. Words have power. They can cause revolutions, break hearts, change minds, elevate the spirit, or depress it. Kill. Hurt. Heal.
And yet we use them so carelessly every day, don't we? We fling them about like confetti, letting them land as they will without thought to consequences or impact. We're just talking, just joking, just being honest...

On Sunday my son and I went for dinner at a nearby hotel because we were too lacking in energy to cook. When we got back home, it turned out that my son had left the house keys at the restaurant. I'm sure many of you are familiar with that surge of irritation that happens when someone else is careless with our stuff. What do we tend to do about it?
I was reminded of (spoiler alert) Jamie Fraser when Claire got lost on her way from a birthing. Her horse threw her and then disappeared so she was alone in the forest in a major downpour and with no way to get home. Anyways, bish bam boom, Jamie, and Ian found her and took her home. And as he was giving her a bath, he tells her that while he's aware that it wasn't her fault, he still feels like giving her a scolding to relieve his feelings. So Claire tells him to scold her in Gaelic because she'll only understand about half the words anyway. And that's what he does.

Back to my son.
So he says he left the keys, and I feel that surge of irritation. But just as I'm opening my mouth to tell him what a careless buffoon he is I pause. And I ask myself, who would you be helping by shouting at him? The deed is done. You can see by his face that he's expecting the word vomit you were about to pour on him. So instead I just held up the 100 bob I had in my hand and said: "Well go and get it."
I was still irritated so I called him a whole bunch of names in my head. Then I settled down and waited for him to come back. Just by his posture, and the way he moved fast to do anything I asked of him that evening and the next day, I could tell he was...relieved? that he hadn't gotten The Lecture. And it took me back to my own childhood and the endless lectures about every little wrong thing I ever did. And I resolved to always think before I opened my mouth, to anyone. Because what could be relieving feelings to one person might be a lifetime of trauma for somebody else.
Do you think Kevin Spacey thought about the impact of his words when he wrote that struggle apology? I think that he did. I think that he was thinking that if he said he was gay people would hesitate to come for him about Anthony Rapp because they would be scared to be labeled homophobic. And for sure, most news outlets led with the "Kevin Spacey comes out" part of the story and not the "Kevin Spacey molested a 14-year-old boy."
I have been Anthony Rapp and the way he says he feels even now was so familiar, I was like yeah, that is exactly how I would feel if I came face to face with that guy again. You're transported right back to that age, that level of fear, that level of helplessness. I'm glad I haven't seen him again. I can't imagine how it must be to see someone's face on TV every day. But back to the power of words; Kevin knew just what his words would do; he was trying to take the wind out the sails of Anthony's words. I'm glad people didn't let him succeed.
My son told me that three boys in his school were expelled for homosexual behavior. So I asked him "if they were caught having sex with girls would they have been expelled?" Because seriously, people being denied their education over their sexual orientation seems a bit harsh to me. And to think that gay people already have all these problems and Kevin Spacey is adding to them by saying, "Oh by the way, when you're drunk and you're gay sometimes you molest small boys" is just not helping.
So watch your words. Think before you speak and all that jazz.
Speaking of using my words, the National Gay and Lesbian Human rights commission could use your help. Whether you subscribe to the idea that gayness is wrong or right, surely you can see that to suppress someone's human rights because of their perceived immorality is not only hypocritical but just plain wrong. Hopefully reading In Search of Paradise will make you see that people are just people, regardless of who they love. Pre-order period is winding down. Three days and it's awverr. See you on the other side.

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