I am a writer, and to me, having translucent thoughts swirling inside my head is worse than having writers block. It’s like having a head haunted by ghost words. These thoughts tend to move fervently, interacting with each other in a desperate attempt to meld together into cohesive thoughts which ultimately congeal into clay like substances which expand within my brain before bursting through my pores.
It’s a feeling of knowing what I know, knowing what I want to say, but I can not see the words clearly; I can not capture the thoughts succinctly. For a woman whose sole existence is steeped in communication; it is a living nightmare. But for this moment, I am awakened and here is DRAFT ONE of what I need to say.
Eight months ago a horrific double murder suicide happened changing so many people’s lives in literally an instant. In a cloud of fear and loathing, a man who, prior to his actions, was known to be a son, a provider, a husband, a father and a friend took his own life after taking the life of his wife and her brother.
In one moment of angst a woman on the verge of discovering herself as a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and daughter died needlessly at the hands of a man who promised to “love, honor and cherish” her.
In one moment of anger a man I’ve known and loved for over twenty five years and life as I knew it to be, ceased to exist.
Three people who each tremendously touched my life – lost theirs.
Because this tragedy involved a husband, wife and brother their deaths were immediately branded “domestic violence.” Because I was ensconced in grief I had never challenged that moniker. But 8 months and 8 million tears later – ghost words are circling.
Without downplaying “domestic violence” I state quite emphatically that the label “domestic violence” is a catch all phrase that inappropriately leaves the unaffected with Ike Turner / Farrah Fawcett “Burning Bed” images in their head.
We talk about physical violence every day, we teach women to leave after being struck, we preach “no hitting” we touch on the topic of verbal abuse but we don’t talk about personal responsibility.
In today’s society where anger is prevalent, acceptable and often applauded, people believe these horrific things only occur to “weak” women and are committed by “crazy men.” We think of the physical aspect of domestic violence without really taking into account how damaging and dangerous relationships can become once you have a breakdown in communication.
When you think of the violent relationships you’ve witnessed (or lived through) you can most likely piece together facts, moments, instances and an overall story of a man, a woman and a colossal failure to successfully navigate basic human interaction
Most familial murders are indeed a result of violence far surpassing the physical act of pulling a trigger.
I’m speaking of a violent fear of secrets discovered, failures uncovered, embarrassment on display, heaping humiliations, wearing indignation as a coat of armor and territorial warfare.
A violent ignorance of problem solving skills, and a violent disregard for personal responsibility.
We see it played out every day. We watch it in families, with our children, in workplaces, within friendships all without one physical blow being struck.
Let’s take a good hard microscopic look inside our own homes and the homes of those we know. How often and how easily do we give in to anger through verbal tirades?
B*tch. F*uck You. You Ain’t Sh*t. Wh*re. Broke A*ss Ni**er. Sl*t.
How often and how easily do we sneer at one another?
You lucky I’m with You. Don’t Nobody Else Want Your Dumb A*s. You’re About A Stupid B*tch. Little D*ick Mother Fu*ker. Fat A*ss Trifling B*tch. Look At You. Look At YOU! I should slap the sh*t out you. I should punch you in your mouth. Do it and you’ll be in jail tonight.
Do it and I will kill you.
Where does this proclivity towards verbal abuse stem from? Where does the desire to orally demolish other persons self esteem derive from?
Do you understand the drastic repercussions which could be suffered on the daily by the words you push from your vocal cords and spew into the universe?
Speaking death. Verbal Killing Fields.
I know, I know “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” A broken bone heals, but did you ever take two seconds to comprehend how carefully lodged insults can be absorbed into a persons being until it metastasizes like malignant tumor cells.
Take a good look into the face of a child who is neglected and verbally chastised by his mother or father. Look at the sunken eyes and jaundiced skin, the lack of energy and the quick to anger attitude outside of his or her home.
Watch as the face of that child morphs into a revengeful adult.
From your mouth you plant seeds of thought into your brain and some of us cultivate gardens of horror.
What would happen if you told me your deepest, darkest undisclosed truths? If you trust me with your life story, if you told me things you have never whispered to the winds and I, in a fit of anger, turn around and wrap my tongue around your secrets and lash them back at you in an attempt to humiliate you.
What if I do this in public? “At least I ain’t no faggot” “At least I never f*cked my brothers wife” “At least I ain’t no felon” “At least I…at least I….at least I”
What happens when I climb onto the top of the Rumor Mill with your secrets and sprinkle them down on your friends and family “that f*ggot” “that wh*re” “that b*st*rd” “that b*tch” “that dumb*ss” “that…that…”
That is precisely how we interact with the very people we profess to love or are to afraid to admit we no longer loved. It is so easy to say “go to hell” than, “I’m sorry, I just don’t love you anymore and this relationship isn’t working.” It is easier to say “I hate you!” than “Mom why is our relationship so lacking in love and understanding.” It is so easy to say “f*ck that b*tch” than to admit that you are envious of her. “F*ck that ni**er” than to admit he has something you want and you don’t know how to ask him for help.
The inabilities to effectively problem solve or take personal responsibility is killing us. Comedians and hosts are paid to deliver well timed, well delivered insults into a crowd. At the end of the night you go home laughing. It will never work that way with a family or relationship dynamic. No one is laughing. People are dying from lying, and hiding truths, dying from verbal pugilism.
Negative talk. Gossip. Malicious insults. Careless Whispers. The common denominator – words.
It’s time to “shut the f*ck up” people. Stop talking and start thinking. Stop shoving insults and start evaluating situations and finding the best resolution for the scenario. It’s okay to lose an argument. It’s okay to humble yourself when you are in the wrong. It’s okay to be honest without skinning the person you love. One up-man- ship is cool when playing the dozens, not playing with other peoples feelings.
Age and experience has taught me to slow down to quickly decipher a troubling situation before reacting, and while it isn’t always a guarantee, I know that by mastering my own emotions, or at the very least, recognizing and effectively diffusing the escalation of passionate feelings which happens within most human beings, I am going to better control the outcome. While I don’t have a magic wand to control you, I have established a pattern of personal responsibility to see me through to another disagreement. Most often people will follow your train of thought because no one really wants to be trapped in misery.
Hurt and angry people are are desperate to find a way out. That desperation doesn’t always bode well for all involved.
I have spent a lifetime trying to choose my words carefully. I understand the words formulated and falling from my tongue will fill the atmosphere with love, authority and understanding or blood, devastation and death.
Oh yes, it’s that serious.
And if we all understood just how serious it is there would be less Candlelight Vigils and more open dialog in our community
The tongue is the only muscle in the body which exercises everyday for hours yet never gets sore or tired.
-Food for Thought