Monday, August 13, 2007


My father loved words. An intelligent man who never had the opportunity to attend college, he read and studied all that he could, building his vocabulary and demanding proper grammar and speech from his children. We were not allowed to use slang or contractions. He took great pride in the fact that his children were well-spoken and shed no concern over the fact that we were the strangest little kids ever to cross a first-grade threshold.

I'm in love with words myself. I love to read them, sing them, hear them, speak them, write them, and analyze them. I use them to persuade, argue, convince, explain, express, love, hate, despise, annoy, amuse. I fall prey to the power of words. Words can empower me or destroy me, draw me in or push me away, make me laugh or make me weep. Words can render me speechless.

Recently I learned that words have served a more sinister purpose in my life. Words have become a sort of force field, shielding me from, of all things, myself. As long as I have words, I can talk myself out of being truthful with myself. I rely on words when I can't face the raw feelings that threaten to rock my world. Just keep talking and there will be no chance for emotions to expose my vulnerabilities to the world. Talk long enough and others won't have a chance to get a word in edgewise. Build a wall of words and rejection can't penetrate. But neither can love.

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