Words

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter” ~ James Earl Jones

My dearest E.,

I want to tell you the importance of words. About how important it is to think and rationalize about what you’re going to say yet not compromising with who you are. It is often a difficult task, but certainly isn’t an impossible one. I myself have been guilty of uttering things to people on the spur of the moment, and then later, I think to myself, “Why did I say that?” “How silly of me!” “How inconsiderate/tactless/thoughtless” etc.

I have now learnt to balance my need to vent blamelessly and mercilessly, with the need to identify with myself. I’m a rather forthright kind of person, especially to family and friends. I rarely mince words with people I care about, simply because I think they would understand and they would love me the same. However, sometimes being this forthright, you may end up wounding feelings in the process. Isn’t it strange, then, with mere acquaintances, colleagues or strangers, people I don’t care about very much, or perhaps care for on a less important level: that I cannot bring myself to be practically honest? I suppose it’s because I don’t wish to be thought of as being callous, but why do I care? I don’t know.

In the past few years, though, I discovered that I had a very soft, contemplative side. Call it growing up if you will, or wisening with the age, but I learnt to develop a sense of empathy, artful tact, gentle misgivings, constructively tough criticism. My friends tell me I’m too nice, too soft. That I could never be capable of uttering a mean word to anybody. I try not to laugh. I wasn’t always this nice a person. Strangely, though, I’ve also discovered that I am happier this way- that I can say nasty things in a nice way.

You are at an age where words, vocabulary and language is growing quickly central in your life. You experiment with sounds, roll your tongue, shout out loud. Your voice is tiny and cute, yet blaringly loud when you express your excitement when we’re out. You articulate your favourite words in an endearing manner. You pick up funny phrases or words that your father and I have “created” as secret codes unbeknowst to the general public. I can’t wait to hear you speak even more. Your father and I wait with anticipation each day to know what new word you’ve learnt or made up.

When language has become your way of life, your means of communication, remember this: that your words define you, move you, evolve you into who you can be in the future. That they are precious gems that fall from your lips, and if they are harsh or unkind, they turn into tiny pointed icicles that stab into a person’s heart.