Sparring with Words
A man and a woman are caught in a battle of words. The woman points fingers and blames her counterpart for something he may or may not have done, shouting and screaming spiteful slurs. The man, in defense, launches his own attack, cursing and throwing around any word he can think of, aiming to hurt. The couple’s words scrape and cut each other like the blades of swords, clashing and clanging in mid-battle. In the end, the fight is not won; neither warrior stands as the victor. Instead, all that is left is a bloody mess on the ground.
Our words are our greatest weapons. They are the blades that we thrust into one another, causing pain and anger as a reaction. The scene just described is one that has been recreated on numerous occasions with friends, lovers, family members, and that random passerby on the street. Because each person is completely unique, constructed of differing viewpoints and ideas on how to act, we have a tendency to argue. We would rather everyone we encounter agree with our opinions and behave in the same manners we do. Because this is improbable, each individual acting his own, we lose our tempers over the tiniest detail. We then bluntly point out with our not-so-blunt weapons the blunder the individual has committed. These circumstances sometimes escalate into sparring matches, where we are forced to defend ourselves with sword and shield. The injuries we give and receive are so cutting to us because they are composed of truthful elements about ourselves that we would rather not acknowledge. Our words are deliberate, so during these times they can be vindictive and heart-wrenching, wounding our intended opponent. Emerged in the passion of the argument, we don’t even notice the depths our swords have penetrated.
My words have been known to inflict wounds upon others. An example of this was when my friend Madison fell victim to my sharp weapons once during my sophomore year of high school. She had been a good friend for several years, but it seemed she only was found at my side when she needed something or someone. This happened continuously, until I finally stood up for myself, bothered by her inconsistent and selfish attitude. She flopped down next to me one day during lunchtime, appearing wide-eyed and lost. She was yearning for some sort of comfort for the sole reason that all her other friends had left for the day. I opened my mouth and unleashed a plethora of daggers, knocking down all her defenses. All I did was point out the truth in what she was doing to me, but because it was the opposite of what she expected to hear, tears fell from her eyes, shocked by how harmful my words had become. Her attempt to injure me in return was feeble at best, considering I had already wounded her beyond all repair. Since our fight, our friendship has never been the same. We talk now and again, but nothing like we used to. I keep my words to a minimum for fear of how they may appear.
Each expression holds so much power because depending on how we speak, our words can come out as hateful, angry, loving, or neutral. Only we have the control over the manifestation of our words, just as we direct the power in the thrust of a sword. The language we craft can be just as hurtful as the pierce from any sort of weapon. Because our words have “life-threatening consequences,” it is best to monitor what we say. Our verbal swordfights slash through us just as deep, if not deeper, than the sharp metal tips we warriors carry.