Words. There’s something about words that just leaves more scars than any physical wound would. Being brought up in a family where violence wasn’t tolerated, I learnt how to use my words to do the same damage bodily harm would.
For a long time I advocated for that and I haven’t changed my mind, but if you can’t rethink about your past you are no different than a blind dog leading a blind man. I went to a public school so it wasn’t anything out of the normal to get corporal punishment from teachers. I was beaten so many times I forgot how it felt to stay without pain.
I got accustomed to the pain and the pain didn’t change my character or affect me psychologically. I would almost always look the teacher in the eyes with the, “Are we done here?” face. It was something any normal kid would get used to over time.
But words! Words are not things you go throwing around without thinking of the repercussions. Tell a kid he’s dumb over and over again and one way or another it’ll get into his head. Tell that oversize kid in your class he’s fat and monitor how his esteem and attitude towards anyone mentioning their physical appearance changes over time.
Walk over to that girl who’s slept with three different guys at the office the past three months and tell her how everyone thinks she’s a slut. You don’t even have to tell her people say that, just the thought of it. Words. I can give more scenarios where words would do more damage to a human being than a blow to the temple but I won’t.
I write opinionated pieces. All the time. People will tell you, but the facts say so. According to whom? That sample size a social marketing research firm gave to university students to fill? I’m not any more innocent than the next writer. Nothing close to that. I’m as guilty as a man found flipping through channels in boxers at his best friend’s house with the wife in a t-shirt in the kitchen.
The online space has brought with it the much sought after freedom most people clamoured for. What they didn’t count on was nobody would be accountable for these actions. I won’t delve into how many people have taken their lives because of cyber bullying or a simple photo. The worst bit is that the same people that played a role in the psychological torture have the time to go on your social media and typing out RIP.
What rest? What peace? Had that person had a peaceful time online they’d have been resting somewhere on earth, not ‘A better place’. As I said earlier, I can’t absolve myself from these things. I’ve played my part in making fun of people online. I can’t say I won’t do it again. One high school literature book with the character of a certain Dr. Stockman, preaches moderation.
When I read the book, I didn’t think I’d apply it to my life. I’ll partake in drugs if need be, take part in orgies if I’m in that state of mind. But to what end? The thing about being young is that you dodge responsibilities on the fallacy of youth. True, you’ll be young, but only for a while.
Unlike in a controlled environment, on the digital space everyone thinks they know more than the next user. True, google may only be one tab away but you can’t google how to respect opinions and not defecate on everybody’s head just because you think you know.
At times, some people have it coming their way, but even then moderation works. Being old enough to operate an email account, you also need to be mature enough to know when to let it go. The internet never forgets. You may delete your browsing history or use incognito but you’ll have to account for your actions at one time or another.
Also, don’t put your affairs online. Your husband cheating on you or getting laid isn’t information the internet needs to know. Unless you’ve slept with a first lady or your divorce settlement is in excess of $1 billion then nobody really cares. People will empathize with your post but text your man as they type, “He’s a dog.”
Why did I write this? I’ve seen people I know say things they probably meant but shouldn’t have said to each other. You may apologize and say it’s cool but it’s never really cool. The only cold thing between the two is the attitude they have towards each other. It’s good to be honest but whoever said the truth hurts was only one philosophy away from starting his religion.
I don’t want to start a revolution. I go to the internet for laughs so I’m dependent on some of the content that may be offensive. All I’m looking at is a generation that can’t solve anything because they believe hashtags will create social change. Actions and words are like Tom and Jerry, one without the other looks familiar but really doesn’t drive the point home. You’ve probably heard this countless times but you are the difference.