photo by ugg boy and ugg girl
I remember when I was little, my mom used to clamp her hand over our mouths any time we asked a question involving death or hell. She always said, "Don't speak it into existence."
I hated when she would say it. Don't speak it into existence. I viewed it as a thinly veiled way of saying, "Demons are listening, and they'll try to kill you, if you say the word 'death'." I hated having to be scared of demons. I didn't want to think about them. I didn't want them to be crawling all over everything invisibly, sinking their teeth and claws into our shoulders. I didn't want to live in a world where demons were real, but I did.
I didn't have a choice. I was born into it.
I was born into sitting up at night, sure that a demon would try to crush me and steal my breath. I was born into closing my eyes on the stairs because a demon with a fox's tail chased me, there. I was born into exorcisms and possession. Mental illness wasn't a medical issue. Cancer wasn't a medical issue. Depression wasn't a medical issue. Miscarriage wasn't a medical issue. Everything is a part of The Spiritual War when you're born Evangelical.
Of course, I don't believe in demons, anymore.
I don't believe that I have to be afraid to speak something into existence.
Isn't it funny that we're still superstitious about the things we say? Maybe the devil isn't listening, but I still refuse to mention certain things. For example, I would never say the name of one of my children in a sentence with disease or injury. It's like I feel like the words might infect one another, that their meaning could bleed.
We sometimes act like words don't have power. They're just words. Some of us don't read at all. Some of us don't know what it's like to be under a spell. Some of us haven't stayed up late, lonely under a lamp, manically trying to rend a story from our guts. Some people don't have a relationship with words, yet there are things they would never say.
To embrace words, to love them and use them and let them use us... to have a relationship with words is to be human. To love writing and reading is to love breathing.
Words mean everything. Without them, we are only a mess of solitary perception, like scrawling on the walls of a jail cell. Without words, we are a universe contained within the shell of an egg. We are captors and captives. Without words, nothing exists.
I don't believe in speaking things into existence.
I do believe that by speaking, I am existing, though.
Do you have a relationship with words?