(*At one time this was true, I have evolved since then.)
You know what 6 words that drive me temporarily insane?
You. Are. Just. Like. Your. Father.
My mother is the only one in my life who says this, and it is never said as a compliment but a sharp verbal uppercut to my emotional glass jaw.
The thing is this, I have an extensive vocabulary (which some people assume is me faking it to make it, I assure you I am not) and I also swear (which some people think I say for reaction’s sake, or that my vocabulary isn’t extensive enough to vocalize what’s going on, the former is sometimes true but never the latter). I have my parents to thank for both. Their arguments have persisted since the dawn of creation…or my conception, whichever is further back in time…anyway, I heard their fights and what they said and the gist of it all is the weight of words have weighed heavily upon my slumped shoulders and furrowed brow and my emotionally scarred heart.
My mother is prone to both (so-called) profanity and dredging the emotional ocean floor. She will bring up shit that you thought was flushed long time ago, but nope, she still remembers. She has memories of past offenses in a quiver and the worst of the worst are notched in her bow, ready to fired upon you at any time.
My father’s approach has always been passive, but sometimes the words he has to vomit on you wreak of stomach juices that have aged to imperfection over a long period of time. It’s never fair when the battle of words takes place with him, it’s a garrote that strangles you from behind.
With learning these verbal tools of the trade from the pater and mater familias I too have fought tooth and nail with words. I am tactful with what I say, my words are like a saber so en-fucking-garde! If you are on the receiving end of my verbal épée, you will know it and you will know it well.
I recognize the importance and weight of words; I know how much words sting and uplift, and it’s why I try to choose my words carefully. I also realize that while the phrase you are just like your father is meant to be an insult, there is still good within the man even if I don’t interact with him much these days. I too see good in my mother and I am like her in a lot of ways as well. Yet ultimately I recognize I am myself and I make my own choices, for better or worse, and at the end of the day I have to take credit and blame for what I’ve done because I did it.
I will always love language and words, but having allowed myself to be forged in the fire, so too will I continue to temper my words and do what I can to make it something better. I only have one life and when I shrug off this mortal coil, I hope to leave this world in better shape than when I arrived.