And to imagine a language means to imagine a form of life.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how much words matter. If any of you know JSC, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise as this has become a major point of interest for him, particularly throughout his theological studies. And, as with most close relationships, JSC's thinking has rubbed off on me in more ways than one. Anyway, that was an absolutely thrill-less introduction to what I'm hoping will become a lively discussion.
When I was in high school and came to the realization that all of my female relationships were built on the sandy foundation of competition and snark, I felt like I had been tricked into acting thus. I wanted more from these friendships and I wasn't entirely sure yet how I had pinned myself against those that I needed most. In a knee jerk effort to loosen the suffocating grip of this mindset, I vowed then and there never to call a woman a "bitch" (and never to call a man a "dick," just for good measure). This is a strange conglomeration of positions that doesn't make a ton of sense given what I was trying to accomplish, but it nevertheless felt very empowering as a sixteen year old.
Admittedly all equally silly-sounding in retrospect (and great insights as to my privilege, given these are some of the biggest obstacles life has asked of me), they were still my little missions and I handled them with great thought. And I truly think I am a better woman for them because they have forced me to think carefully and creatively about how I use words. I think back to my conscious decision not to write women off as "crazy bitches" that I felt threatened by or disagreed with (that is, felt threatened by) and how, consequently, words transformed my thinking in a very private yet powerful way. That this decision forced me to explore the motives at play behind my conversations with others shows just how profoundly transformed I am, and we all are, by words.
Photo credit is due to the remarkably brilliant and talented Kate of Pressed and Brewed Photography. Thank you for capturing these!