Five-Minute-Friday: Tell

It’s that time of the week again: Time to duct-tape the mouth of the inner critic and allow yourself to simply write. We write for five minutes about the week’s prompt, and often times beauty pours forth that we did not know we possessed to share. Care to join us? This week’s prompt is “Tell.”

Go.

My whole life people have pounded into my head a single statement: “Show, don’t tell.” Teachers, parents, friends, authors, they repeat over and over, “show, don’t tell.” When you write, show who the character is, don’t tell us. Show what is happening, don’t tell us. When you want to help, show your desire to help by helping instead of talking about it. Actions are louder than words.

And all those people are correct.

And all those people are wrong.

Sometimes showing isn’t enough. Sometimes doing the dishes isn’t enough, you have to actually say, “I love you. I appreciate you. I value you.” Do acts of service express this same sentiment? Absolutely. But the spoken word is powerful, and words are what stick with people throughout their lives. Helpful words, harmful words, it doesn’t matter. They still stick with you forever. 

So if your words are going to hang around with someone the rest of his/her life, don’t you want to leave them with “I love you?”

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Finish

Some days I sit down to write and the words pour forth in a deluge of meaning. But other days, days like today, I sit here and feel all the emotions raging within me, and when the emotions scream I can tap into the spring of words. But then an emptiness settles over my emotions and I feel nothing, nothing at all, and then the words are harder to find than a puddle in the desert. My thoughts fizzle away like just-exploded fireworks: I can remember their beauty and smell them in the air, but I can no longer see them.

When I tried to write about today’s prompt, finish, I had so many thoughts I couldn’t pick which direction to go. But because so many of those thoughts are linked to emotions so strong they can set off a panic attack, I ended up finding myself in the situation where I can write about none of them. I like to finish projects. However, I cannot abide change, and finishing one thing means there must be a change to a new thing.

I have nothing else to say, for the words have disappeared again.

Once Upon a Time, I Wrote

Once upon a time, I used my tumblr blog to write about a topic about which I am passionate but which also happens to be one of the biggest controversial topics in the nation right now.  I didn’t write about it because it was controversial, I wrote about it because it personally affected my life.  With all the passion and zeal bubbling up within my soul, I poured my heart out.

And the lovely people of the Internet responded with empathy, concern, encouragement, and acceptance. Oh wait, I forgot: that’s not how the Internet works, how free speech works.

I forgot that you can say anything you want on the Internet, as long as your opinions agree with the official media-sanctioned opinion. If you have the audacity to express a divergent opinion, you are attacked. Viciously, ruthlessly attacked.

My inbox was flooded with messages accusing me of hate crimes, brainwashing, illiteracy, stupidity, smoking weed, being a miserable excuse of a human being, and innumerable other horrible, untrue things.  These accusations came from people who did not know me, yet they felt they could make these judgements about me and my character.

At first I kept those messages as reminders of why these things needed to be talked about, why I was so passionate about it. Those posts fueled me.

But as time went on those comments began to weigh more heavily upon me. I began posting less and less about it.  Now I hardly ever write about it. Why?

Because now those messages serve as a different reminder.  They remind me that when I talk about this, people are cruel, that writing about this hurts.  They remind me of the periods of depression induced by being subjected to others’ hatred toward me.

And the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” could not possibly be more wrong. Words have the power of life and death, wounding or healing, and a person can only stand up under an onslaught of words for so long before she is crushed and destroyed.

This isn’t a fairy tale, and my story doesn’t end with, “and she lived happily ever after.” But hopefully one day I will have the courage and strength write about it again.