Chardonnay Beaver - Words of Wisdom
Influential Speaker, Storyteller, Creator of
WOWbyChar, and University of Washington Student.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". As a child, I would often hear peers say this in elementary school. It was used to ward off the kids who spoke words to tear others down, stir the pot, and create drama on the playground. For example, if a kid used a “your mama” joke to tease their classmate, the classmate would respond saying “sticks and stones...” to portray an unbothered persona. Overtime, I witnessed a culture of anti-vulnerability and poor communication skills amongst my peers. There are two factors to consider: 1) we were inner-city school students who weren’t taught the power of language and 2) most of us formed a persona to shield ourselves from being vulnerable.
Inner-city youth are often encouraged to mask their pain. Boys are told to “be tough” and to not show emotion. Girls are told to “be strong” and to be pretty. Before the age of 10, these youth are more proficient in fighting than using their words to communicate their feelings. How do I know? I was an inner-city youth. However, I learned not to subscribe to such messaging. I dared to be different. I knew that words had the power to tear others down or build others up. As an adult, I must be mindful of the words I use to describe myself and others, especially when Black and Brown people are already stigmatized due to their complexion.
I was recently asked “what is your favorite quote”. I quickly recalled a scripture "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Proverbs 12:18). The main purpose of this scripture is to highlight that our words matter. As a writer and influential speaker, I've learned that the words we speak have the ability to transform others. I understand, through this scripture, that wise words bring healing. I choose to write about topics that promote healing and facilitate change one reader at-a-time.
Words of Wisdom by Char of The Week: It’s time we change the narrative. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words CAN hurt me. The words we speak have the ability to heal and hurt. We can intentionally create spaces for vulnerability and healthy communication when we choose to speak from a place of healing.