Wow. My last Thankfulness Thursday was in February of last year. Lately, my thoughts have drifted to dark and ungrateful places. My hope by bringing back these days is to encourage me to enjoy life in a new culture even when it is difficult.
1166. Spicy food – I never liked spicy food back in the US. To be honest, I never really tried it but convinced myself that I couldn’t take it. Here, nearly everything is spicy. It’s difficult to eat at times but so delicious. I’m realizing that I’m tougher than I thought.
The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. – Meryl Streep
When someone begins to talk about Aspergers or autism, I have learned to prepare by taking a deep breath. Whether it is to complain about a friend whose kid has that awful condition or a child who had trouble making friends for a year but now is cured, the things that people say regarding people on this side of the autism spectrum are often incorrect and a bit irritating.
There are many helpful quotes, however, that I find inspiring. Aspergers is inconvenient but brings great traits along with the struggles. Hopefully, you will see that with these quotes.
Yesterday was the best Valentine’s Day ever. Two of my coworkers surprised me with flowers, a teddy bear, and a card signed by people at work. Just when I feel unloved, something beautiful happens to remind me that I am not alone. I feel so blessed!
On that note, I am excited to bring you this list of links for this week. Hopefully, they will bring a smile to your face and something to ponder.
Words are slippery little doohickeys. Over the course of time, they change in meaning, morph into taboos, and are molded from new popular new phrases. A perfectly respectable word can became the worst swear, or a harsh insult can transform into a humorous remark. Language is a funny thing that way.
Thus, using words in incorrectly is a common mistake. We all play a role in reshaping language. Yet, certain words in the wrong context bother me because their usage is inconsiderate, ignorant, or offensive. The people saying them often do not intend for this meaning, but that does not take away from the damage that can be done. So, remember that this post is not to judge but hopefully to shed light on what we might say without even thinking. Here are just a few of the words or phrases that are used incorrectly and bother me.
My friend dressed up silly before a performance – what would it mean if I said “Your hair looks perfect”?
Compliments can be seen as a wonderful gift, an insincere jab, or a manipulative ploy. Why is it that these kind words are sometimes twisted to hurt others and aid only the speaker? How can we know the difference?
A friend related to me how a professor taught his class the difference between flattery and encouragement. The definition has stuck with me ever since. Not only does it aid me when others speak, I also use to guard my own language. Compliments mean kindness and honesty, according to my Aspergian brain. However, even someone on the autistic scale can twist words to be self-serving.
I frustratedly related to my friend how one of my school books had belittled the struggle of depression. In Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, she states that part of the culture of lies comes from using war language to describe healing. Her example is “We battle depression.”
“Depression is a battle!” I exclaimed. “That is not an exaggeration.”
“Maybe it is more like a war,” He countered. “A battle is fought and then won by a side. Wars continue on.”
Evil is a terrifying and powerful word. Rarely would I use it to describe a person. Hitler, Stalin, Attila – there are people from history that others will bring up as examples of evil. However, even then, something in me falters. Using that descriptor seems hateful and condemning even if the person did awful things. Then again, I am the girl who winces when orcs die in The Lord of the Rings because I wish they would have repented and turned good.
However, people usually declare that murder, rape, abuse, and kidnapping are evil. There are few things that we all agree upon as a society, but being against these actions seems to be one of our similarities. You can argue what that means to different people (for example, when is killing in self-defense or war justified), but the general rejection of these actions carries through most (if not all) cultures and societies despite different laws, values, and religions.
Words are powerful tools that we can use to help build up others or tear them to pieces. Yet, they are also simply words that are meaningless until we give them a definition and context. So some people contest that these things we utter have no power expect that which we give them.
However, words are so vital to communication that all cultures give intense meanings and implied interpretations to their vocabulary. Because of this, we have words that are censored on television or shameful to repeat. Nouns evoke an image while adjectives paint a picture. Verbs can make a mother gasp in worry or a child laugh with excitement. Even particles play an important role in how we understand the world and everything in it. For example, “my dog” has a much different connotation than “that dog” or “the dog.”
Today, Thankfulness Thursday’s blog is late because I am judging a national speech competition. Sounds prestigious, right, but I really just signed up simply. Anyway, one of the people in my last round spoke on how texting and tweeting is destroying our language. This is an interesting point that has worried me as well as numerous other people.
Thus, I decided to celebrate words in this post. There are so many amazing words in the English language (and other languages too but that will be saved for another post). We can use words to help or hurt, inspire or destroy, heal or bruise, elate or sadden. What an amazing and dangerous weapon we have at the tip of our tongues! So, here are some of my most favorite words – or at least some of the ones I like at this moment. Making this list was so fun that I might need to do it again.