Sticks and Stones

We are taught from a young age that sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.

I call bullshit.

Worse than being hurt by words that are shared, I find, are those words unsaid. I am not referring to the romantic idea that your erstwhile lover (or stalked prey) didn't say a certain thing so you wander the earth with the “but I saw it in their eyes” fantasy, making up scenarios and putting words into their mouths. This cliched, rose-colored blindness is bad enough without us spending much more time on it.

I am guilty of that. I spend an inordinate amount of time justifying the behaviors of my family for why they dislike one another (including me). I use the “but I knew they meant _________” ideal too often. I pretty up their intended message because they are my family, we are supposed to love each other.

Today, however, I instead think of the words that people simply stop sharing and the silence is deafening. No communication, no sharing, no outreach.

No words to pretty up. Something multiplied by zero remains zero.

And that does hurt.

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