Sometimes I think people don’t realize how rude or even offensive their comments can be. I’m all for freedom of speech, but insulting someone? Why? What good does that do to you? Does it make you feel better about yourself if the other is inferior to you, is that it? I don’t get it.
Today I saw someone insulting someone’s work, someone they don’t even know. I often see things like that, people insulting others because of their choices, either personal choices or work-related ones. I know, you’re entitled to your opinion and all, and you want to use the internet to express that. It’s all fine. But just think about how you’re saying it, how you’re wording your thoughts. Think about how that person would feel reading what you just wrote. Think about how you would feel if someone were to do the same to you. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. In fact, it’s well known that we should never judge someone till we have walked at least a mile in their shoes. At least then you’d know they are far away and shoeless, so you have an advantage right there.
Now, jokes aside, I, for example, grew up in the backstage area of theaters, and was even in a few plays myself, and I do know that it takes a whole team to put together a play. It’s not the work of one single individual, and sometimes it does not work as you’re expecting it to. Sometimes, as an actor, you do your best but it’s not enough. You have to follow what the director tells you to and the directions on your script, and you may not agree with it all, but you do your best. And sometimes your best is just not enough. But you do it anyway. I don’t know one actor who was not, at some point or another, disappointed or even embarrassed to do something. But they did it anyway, because that’s their job, and because not all are pretty flowers and sometimes we have to do something unpleasant in order to get to where we want to get. No job is perfect. No one is perfect. And we don’t always make the right choices, at least under someone else’s eyes.
But what I think people people don’t realize is that a blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword. Words hurt. A lot. And unless you have no flaws yourself, do not go throwing rocks at someone else, because you, too, live in a glass house.
I’ve recently got a new tattoo inspired by a poem I memorized when I was a child by a Brazilian poet named Helena Kolody. She’s no longer alive, but she was when I was a child and she lived in the same city I lived in. The poem goes like this:
Palavras são pássaros.
Não nos pertencem mais.
And here’s the translated poem:
Words are birds.
Do not belong to us anymore.
– Helena Kolody (translated by Carol Vidal)
I always liked this poem. It reminds me of how powerful our words can be and how powerless we are after we let them go, after we free them, after we give them life. Our words, once spoken, can’t be taken back.
Choose your words carefully, because they can come back to bite you in the ass one day.