Words are powerful because they hold an insurmountable amount of strength. They can be used as a tool, a weapon, a defense mechanism, affirmation, or inspiration. They’re in our heads so easily, but hit the paper so roughly or r escape our mouths so contrarily.
But sometimes they’re just unblemished. They ring, they rhyme, they dance wistfully in time (no, I didn’t do that on purpose. Or maybe I did.)
But think about it for a second. Was there a time in your childhood where a handful of words stained your brain? Like, you’re just sitting in class and someone says something particular and instantly you’re plucked from your seat and heaved into the swirling whirlpool of painful childhood memories. Just a few words can take you there.
I remember I was in an after school program swimming at the YMCA with some of my grade school buddies during elementary school. Clad in a tie-dye swimsuit and preparing to plop into the deep-end, I was approached by a boy. All he said: “Your butt sticks out.”
Unluckily, I hadn’t yet jumped off of the ledge and my salty tears couldn’t be masked by salty pool water. Needless to say, my mouth turned into an upside down banana and all I could muster was a frail, “Whaaat?”
And I’d rather not go into the emotional turmoil that followed thereafter. The days, the months, the years of turning those words over in my mind and dissecting their origins and their meanings. I’ll never answer the question of that kid’s motives, but I don’t need to. I’ve proven my point. Words have power.
Even when I say a simple, “Hieee!” to my five-year-old Springer Spaniel, his nub tail shimmies so fast I often think it’ll turn into a propeller and I’ll watch him soar around the room, eventually hitting his head on the ceiling fan.
You know when you’re laying down in bed, your head hits the pillow, and your mind is flooded with everything you have left to do or things you can’t understand? Or the stream of consciousness that occurs when you’re standing under a stream of hot shower water? Even the things that float around behind your eyes as you go for a run. Those are the avenues I want to explore.
So, with the words I conjure and the memories I uproot, I want to inflame thought, discussion and opinion. I want to pave a path with concrete made from notable phrases and interesting ideas. Most of these will be sprinkled with realism and saturated in opinion, but always leaving a humorous flavor in your mouth.
By the way, I’m Emily Talapa, your latest opinion journalist at the UWM Post. I like eating my grilled cheese with ketchup. It’s nice to meet you.