Confessions of a reforming bitch
The Miriam-Webster definition of “kind” is “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others: wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others.”
I opened my eyes one regular, average morning. There was nothing spectacular or meaningful about this morning. It was not my birthday, major holiday or any other sort of day that would denote significance. Perhaps it was a Tuesday. No clue. The difference between this day and every other day in my life was this: I woke.
I woke and stared at the ceiling of my room. I inhaled deeply before pulling myself from beneath the warm comfort of my fleece blanket. There it was. A brick was sitting on my chest. Not a brick in the literal sense, of course. This was a figurative brick of conviction – this brick represented accountability. This was the brick of retribution come calling.
You have been irresponsible, Kathleen Ann Brotherton.
What had I done so tragic to deserve having an invisible brick of shame sitting upon my chest? I was irresponsible with my words. It hit me that morning, the residual effect of the things I had said over the years, ringing across time, being repeated over and over, causing hurt indefinitely.
I have never been so oppressed as I was that morning when the reality of my actions set in. I couldn’t take all the hateful, hurtful words back. Their damage would continue on forever. I cried. Then I determined not to let my words be a beacon for damage ever again. Above all else, I would mind my tongue and not tolerate others using their tongues for damage. I would go forward advocating for those being damaged by words and generally call everyone and anyone I come across on their unkind bullshit.
I’ll probably get my ass kicked. I don’t care. I’m going to be kind.
Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
I call bullshit.
Words can push a depressive person over the edge of their depression into the final anguish of taking their life.
Words empower a group like ISIS. Words convince its members they are justified in cutting off the heads of journalists.
Words convince your children that you don’t love them and open doors for groups like ISIS to recruit them.
Words can enrage an individual to the point of shooting a roomful of first graders in a sleepy Connecticut bedroom town, or a high school in Colorado, or a movie theater in the same state.
Words – that’s right simplistic language – can set just about every single man-fueled event known to mankind into motion.
Words can perpetrate a lie and destroy a life.
Words can destroy a child’s self-confidence.
Words can cause a solider to second guess his decision and cost him his life.
Words can enrage a police officer to abuse his power – another life lost needlessly.
Words can push that guy in line ahead of you counting out 10,000 pennies to pay for his cigarettes over the edge, causing him to turn around and put a bullet between your eyes or maybe you piss him off and he goes home, beats the shit out of his wife and sets her on fire. Now their three kids are orphaned. Cigarette Man is in jail. Your words set the destruction into motion. Think it’s far-fetched? Think again.
One unkind word.
Cost someone their life.
Think about it.