I am not a reckless creature.
Not prone to impulse decisions made quick within my pulse. My resistance to uncertainty narrates my past, attempts at safeguarded behavior to protect what slipping control I possess over life. My polite declines to age appropriate risks have written a persona the drastic opposite of charismatic protagonists saturating popular culture. I am not a wispy, wide-eyed thrill seeker whose intensity for life breathes an aura of dust turned gold wherever she turns, the mundane events of young adulthood transformed into exhilaration and wonder. I am methodical, often cautious, existing right around the always mark of perpetual overthought.
Thoughts that wind and buffer and jar and run within the circles of my mind’s recess. Thoughts made of words once insignificant in their solitude, but woven magic by their communion.
This power of letters turned syllables woven to words strung along as sentences guides me. It guides my interest in writing and my fondness of reading. It guides my desire to learn and to communicate, but more than that it guides everything. Such a casual word as “everything” would typically be cast aside in its laziness and all-encompassing generosity, but in this instance it finds an appropriate place. I say this because words and their meanings make up my experience of this life beyond anything else I know.
One could argue for other senses and experiences, their indisputable power, the cascade of emotions, for instance, released in a single moment of musical transcendence, the intensity of eroticized emotions on display in the paintbrush stroke, or the electricity of even a momentary fingertip graze. And for others these may very well weigh heavier in their importance than words, but my experience is not the meeting of words on occasion. It is words composing the occasions entirely.
You see, words make or break me. The moments I could offer you which were driven to their capacity by the words spoken within them are endless. Moments of near suffocated hope, redeemed in a choir classroom speaking low, “If my daughter becomes half the young woman you are I will be proud.” Or. Moments released from self, saving sanity through a terrified outburst breathing, “You cannot do this to people. You cannot assume…God, you hurt me…” And words overwhelming my freckled face with a heat stained blush whispering, “You’re different. When I’m with you I don’t feel like something is missing.” Words which have driven me to decisions otherwise impossible, or at least, implausible. Words which have written meanings upon the stages of my experiences, redirecting the trajectory of the actions comprising my life.
Words matter. These words mattered. Our words matter.
And so I have found voice and power, decided strength, in the words of my life. In hours of confusion and pain I bring myself to words written down. When chaos ensues I alleviate internalized pressure through streams of words narrated in thought. As another turns to me in fear or indecision I lay words as my balm. Words guide me, but more importantly I guide them. I may not be magnetic in my nonexistent spontaneity, I certainly do not bellow command in a grandness of vocal strength or depth, nor do I exert power in physicality or extroversion. But I do own my words. Most consistently in those written. The page a source of comfort, the escaped sentences my realized assertion. I find my power in the combinations I lay forth for eyes to read, for it is on these pages where my truth finds itself most free. And if I know anything it is that truth is the heart of power, the kind of power which sustains the heartbeats of words which have mattered so much to me.
I offer this to you not simply as insight into me, but rather to prompt your own consideration of words. Whether you write or sing or scream or think, words are imperative to your life. You may be soft spoken or loudly spoken of, but in either instance those words leaving lips matter. Words inspire. They rally. Gather nations and ignite revolutions. They illuminate experiences, your experiences, experiences that matter. Words bend and break and destroy the best places in people. They are abused, wearing relentlessly at the innocent, and overused without pause. They are thrown as weapons and dropped like acid rain. Words move lives in 90 degree angles and pivot like knives in chests. Words bind souls and cause consent. They heal and mend and build what we know.
Words are power which I would plead this world not to use flippantly. And your words are one of your greatest powers.
How will they matter? Elena Lipsiea