By Samantha McKenzie
Words have weight to them. Like numbers, letters add up. We don’t see them in equations until we are introduced to higher level math. They represent the unknown, the abstract, a variable that is often meant to be solved. They have the ability to force us into unfamiliar territory.
There are writers who use the word so well that you must read their pages in bits and pieces. Their words possess a deeper meaning, a riddle of sorts, a winding road to possibility. W.E.B. DuBois does it in Souls of Black Folks. So does the writings of the late Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Coelho and many others. In different ways, these writers invite you to think beyond your present reality. They call on us, ever so cleverly, to expand.
And so it is with our very own words. They have a certain value to them and if we use them carefully they hold great meaning. Think about your grandparents or the elders in your community. As they age, they begin to parcel their advice in smaller packages. They choose their words skillfully and within a blink of an eye, the weight of their words seep inside of our thinking. If we are smart, we heed their direction.
The same is true for those who speak with little to no wisdom. Ever notice when someone is lying, they tend to add more words to their story. They beef it up in hopes of convincing us that their story is legit. Subconsciously they believe more words will add more meaning. But it doesn’t compute. Your brain measures the insincerity. It reckons with the falsehood. We recognize that it doesn’t add up. Sometimes, we just allow ourselves to go along for the ride.
When words are coupled with truth and sincerity, they are powerful. They can inspire and transform and shift the sails on the roughest of seas. They can awaken the best and worst part of the human being.
Pay attention to words that you read, write and speak. Measure them carefully. Work hard to give them meaning and purpose and significance and life. Use your words wisely.