If You Have Nothing Nice To Say...Sit By Me
People say cruel things.
Unmistakable, unjust, rude comments.
We as a society try to ignore that words can hurt.
We recite sayings like "Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt" trying to convince ourselves that the only true harm is physical.
Robin Williams' daughter decided in the wake of her fathers death to delete her social media accounts because she was receiving too many negative and cruel comments.
In a time where she should have been focused on healing and grieving she had to-gracefully and tactfully may I add-deal with rude, inconsiderate people who only had cruel words to say.
I cannot even imagine having strangers, many of them, tear apart someone you love when all you are trying to do is make it through a surreal, life-altering week and trying to figure out how to cope.
I can only relate if it was friends tearing apart my loved one.
Years ago I lost a friend to an accidental overdose.
She had one hell of a go at life, with shitstorm after shitstorm plaguing her.
There were many nights we drank too much, sang too loudly, did questionable things, were brutally honest with one another and made unforgettable memories.
The people who came to party were questionable at best.
Her family was aloof, cold and distant at their warmest.
She had adopted my mom as hers as her mom had committed suicide when she was a teen.
She was smart and funny and giving.
She was inappropriate, crass and loud.
We loved her.
But she started going through a phase I wasn't comfortable with.
She dropped out of school, started hanging with crowds who used her and did not appreciate her.
She was using drugs and drinking constantly.
I stopped visiting. I rarely talked to her on the phone.
My mom would ask about her, call her occasionally but she would not answer my moms calls.
At the time she passed away, we weren't the closest in our relationship.
I had ignored her invites to 'crazy parties' and 'so much fun'.
I ignored her cries for help.
I was one of the many factors she passed away.
I should have answered her calls. I should have been a lifeline. I should have dealt with my uncomfort and been a friend.
Yes, I know, everyone makes their own decisions in life.
I get that.
But as a friend I should have said what no one wants to hear, You need help.
That is what friends do.
When I got the phone call she had overdosed and had passed away, I was shocked.
I thought one day we would patch us up.
I thought someday we would go back to movies all night and talking about soulmates and blackholes and poetry.
I thought that this was a silly phase, that she would get her shit together, that I would pull the stick out of my ass and we would look back on that time as a 'learning experience' and laugh and shake our heads that she made it through.
That we made it through.
That never happened.
I had many 'friends' make hurtful comments.
That it was her own fault.
That's what she deserves for doing drugs.
That she was going to rot in hell for essentially killing herself.
That the world was a better place without trashy people like her.
These were our mutual 'friends' who's closets were brimming with their own skeletons but found it necessary to pick apart someone who was no longer on this earth to defend herself.
So, I did. My mom did.
Ignoring cruel words does nothing.
I can appreciate the attempt to convey that the things that hurt us only hurt us because we allow them to do so.
I also know words can cruelly cause damage more accurately than any physical attack can.
Sometimes words can slip in our minds, amidst all the good thoughts and beliefs and slip past the bullshit barriers and saturate our soul like an infection.
Weighing on our minds and causing sickness in our hearts.
Inflaming doubt and mistrust in ourselves and our decisions.
Forcing us to search for the remedy.
Trying to find how we can appease the rioting demons in our heads, wondering how to soothe our souls from these weaponized word attacks.
Often times we are left in a confused stupor, dazed and trying to heal.
But pain from words? From verbal attacks? From mental abuse?
It tends to fester.
The words cannot be shut out or deleted or even ignored as so many people suggest to do. Rather, often times they are repeated to ourselves, by ourselves, loudly, once we shut our eyes and try to rest.
Because they now live with you, in you, in your brain, feeding off the joy in your soul and replacing it with trepidation, quietness and self-doubt.
We have to give in.
Acknowledge that words hurt us.
They can hurt us.
But we have to rise above them.
You have every right to say what you want.
You can say every nice thing you want to say or any malicious word you can think to utter.
But so can l.
So can the rest of our society.
We can listen and agree. Or listen and not agree.
That is one of the beautiful things about everyone being different-we all have different ideas and thought processes.
Say what you want but understand you may have just started a dialogue, a discussion or a heated debate.
Many people believe if you have nothing nice to say, that you should not say it.
I do not necessarily agree.
I want to hear the ugly, the cruelty, the meanness.
And l want to know why you feel that way.
Want to say something cutting and cruel?
Please sit next to me.
Sit on down.
I'll sip on my tea and listen to the ugly you have to spew. l'll nod. l'll take in your words, your intent, your bias.
I'll wait until you are done and ask if you have anything more to say.
I will offer you a drink maybe even a snack.
Then l will ask you questions.
l will not attack you. l will not badger you.
I will just ask you to explain your anger, your pain, the ugly part of your soul you exposed.
If you want to infilitrate my world with your cruelty and pettiness l want to know where it is stemming from.
I refuse to sweep it under the rug.
I refuse to scream or yell at you.
If we want to change the world choosing to ignore the ugly, the bad and the mean will do nothing.
Choosing to stay silent hurts only us and those being attacked.
Perhaps, those ugly filled souls need to see another perspective.
Perhaps they need their eyes opened to love, understanding and compassion.
Perhaps, it will cause them to rethink their cruel words and adopt empathy.
And maybe not.
Maybe their souls are too far soured and nothing will change them.
But trying to plant a seed of empathy is never a bad idea.
Opening a dialogue with someone you do not see eye-to-eye with is not a silly idea.
Trying to understand anothers point of view and move forward is never a bad idea.
You may teach them something and you may learn something.
Trying to inspire kindness and failing is never bad.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter how much good intent you have, no matter how many valid points you raise people will stick to their meanness, their cranky, their painful, judgemental ways.
But at least you tried.
And if you have it in you, you can keep trying.
However, choosing to do nothing, choosing to accept the ugly and pain in this world as normal is choosing to define yourself with the ugly in this world.
It is lazy and sad and part of the reason bad things continue to happen-because we allow them.
There will always be consequences and critics to whatever we do.
So, let's keep it simple.
Make your words and your actions count as they are a reflection of who you truly are.
And be prepared to defend them and to deal with the reactions they inspire.