• Words

    234 views 2 years ago
    I’ve been thinking about words lately

    Our relationship with them
    How it’s changed

    I miss the way we once used words

    When there was a responsibility to choose one's words carefully
    Spoken or written
    Instead of franchising our sentences across a digital echo chamber

    I remember when what we said had lasting consequence

    Do you?
    It wasn't that long ago
    Not as time goes

    I miss the way words mattered
    And carried weight

    When the meaning of something actually meant something
    And we as humans were accountable for the distribution and comprehension of our language
    When hyperbole was infrequent
    And anybody understood what literally actually meant

    I miss new words

    Not invented words mind you
    Those pop culture portmanteaus that McMansionize our lexicons and turn our vocabularies into carousels of temporary horses

    New words that were already old the day we met them
    New to us
    Cornerstones and classics
    That described with incredible precision
    And emotions

    Words that perfectly captured the zeitgeist
    Before we knew what a zeitgeist was
    And long before the zeitgeist became inextricably obsessed with the ephemeral

    I miss the hesitation that came with meeting these new words
    Hearing them in conversation from a well read adult or an overeducated friend
    And the trepidation in my first use of them

    I miss when being wrong was an opportunity instead of an obstacle
    When people corrected themselves instead of plowing through their own doubt with gas powered fervor

    I miss forethought and delivery
    Specificity and the understated

    I miss anything but speed and volume
    The ubiquity of which have become inescapable

    I miss the days when whatever and like where the Bonnie and Clyde of our language
    Most wanted numbers 1 and 2
    Oral STDs that seemed to proliferate amongst the mouths of the young
    The worst we could expect

    I miss the pauses in the middle of statements
    The jagged edges and sharp cliffs that endangered sentences and kept us rapt with attention.

    We have sanded those edges and bridged those cliffs with inaccurate and common methods
    Collectively refusing to publicly acknowledge that we haven't really arrived at our intended destination at all
    Like Columbus

    I miss relevance
    and substance
    And the simple fact that things usually aren’t black and white because… well it just depends

    When we talked about nightmares in terms of dreams that woke up from our sleep in fear
    Not the day to day of our banal and overstated daily frustrations

    When not knowing was OK
    As was admitting it
    And we were allowed to perform silent post mortems
    On our own mistakes

    Not blaming
    Everything and everybody...
    Not everyday anyway

    When we were amazed in the way that kept our mouths open
    Using that word to describe experiences we actually gazed at in wonder
    Not a fucking pumpkin spiced latte

    I miss the days when we proclaimed our love for fewer things
    And more people
    Before the ratio skewed to the inanimate

    I miss the days before hashtags
    When a shared language signified a mutual understanding
    Not a projected participation
    When we worried more about the caliber of what we said than who had heard it

    I miss accountability
    God I miss accountability

    When repeated false statements resulted in the volume on your personal PA system being turned down
    Not up

    When apologies weren't written with our thumbs
    When they came at a cost instead of a tap

    I miss consideration both before we spoke and after we heard

    I miss patiently percolating one’s beliefs
    Pouring them out slowly
    Into specific and desired mugs

    Not the 9 second cold brew we throw upon walls like graffiti

    I miss the unparalleled superiority of quiet facts to thunderous opinions
    When those who spoke but said nothing were ignored, not celebrated
    When it was more important to be something than say something
    When soapboxes were looked at with curiosity instead of entitlement...

    But I might be kidding myself that such a time ever existed

    I miss when objectivity wasn’t a matter of opinion
    But a matter of fact
    And when adjectives described a part of someone, not their whole

    I miss not knowing what others thought

    I fear our words mean nothing now
    And nothing words mean everything

    We no longer agonize over what we should say
    Or allow ourselves time
    To prepare for the possible resonance of our contribution

    I miss the days when our words mattered
    Our relationship with them
    Our collective evolution and mutual propulsion
    Towards eloquence
    And a spoken elegance
    That I fear
    We no longer have the words for Show less
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