One of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn is actions versus words — and what each of them mean and how they effect people and how, at the end of the day, actions matter much more than words.
When I was little, my dad would say I was “soft hearted” or “sensitive”… I was a pretty wimpy kid. And I took words to heart. My brother was a great source of adolescent despair and used to pick at me incessantly. One day, he threw a dart in my foot. Like an actual dart. Not a lawn dart. Not a Dodge Dart. Like a dart you throw at a dart board — sharp tip and everything. I was about 7 or 8. I remember dad beat him with a switch over it.
Many years later, my brother and I were having another fight. He had stolen our parent’s credit card and ordered something online… don’t remember what it was. I was trying to see what it was and he kept pushing me away. I pulled a large butcher knife out of the block and threatened him.
Now, that was a big action for me. But he easily disarmed me and beat me up. Then he told mom and dad I threatened him with a knife. My parents’ response — he probably deserved it.
But I watched as that action, not the words, not the picking, meant more.
People seem unafraid of people who are all talk. Well, most people. There seems to be this new trend where everything in the entire world is racist or sexist or homophobic or… whatever. And they’re just words. Words on the internet that get someone upset. There is no action there. There is no threat. And that’s what people have become is just words. They insult each other over social media because they know they can get away with it and because there is this computer screen and miles of wires and satellites between people, there is no action. I mean, if people said the things to me face to face that they say online, there would be some broken noses.
I remember a few weeks ago, people were out there holding signs encourages electors to change their vote. Just words. All inaction. Of course nothing was going to come of it.
Keyboard warriors take to their seats and protest with their little meaningless words online. They become more obnoxious, more odious, more harassing and wondering why things don’t get done. Because they’re only words, and they are scared to act.
I remember the first time I took action — people were scared of me. The second place I lived in undergrad, I had a bad roommate situation. One of the two girls I was living with moved her boyfriend in. At first he was nice, but then after he’d established himself, he turned into a narcissistic dick. I felt powerless in that situation — I was being bulled by two people I lived with; the other girl was two faced and took both sides, mostly theirs. I didn’t know what to do. I felt isolated, bullied.
So, I acted.
Called the landlord and he unleashed an unholy hellstorm on them. And the boyfriend magically disappeared.
They were afraid. They were angry. They knew I meant business.
Not bad for a stupid 20 year old girl.
And since then, when dealing with millennials (which I technically am one), they recoil in fear whenever someone acts. Not speaks — they deal with words and dish them out thinking this is the end all be all in arguing or making a point. But when you act, it shakes their world.
I guess it’s the difference between telling someone to stop and making someone stop.
The first time I had ever been pulled over, I’d rolled a stop sign. I will admit it. I broke the law. And I told the officer I did it and why I did it. I didn’t get a ticket, but it taught me not to roll stop signs anymore. Because that officer acted.
Conversely, I was also on the side of inaction and words. With The Psychological Abuser, there was a lot of saying one thing and doing another. For instance, “I love and you and you are special to me. You are singular and amazing” coming out of his mouth, and treating me like chopped liver, like I wasn’t anything special, like I wasn’t important. But those little words of affirmation, plus a personality addiction, kept me there being treated like shit, but still adoring everything that poured out of his mouth.
But that’s a whole different story…
Words hurt, yes. But you have to be that person that brushes it off, that doesn’t let it phase them. I look at a person’s actions, when I analyze them. Not their words. Words have power, but only so.