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Weight of words

Words are such a tricky thing.

We say actions speak louder than words, but I feel like sometimes we hold onto words more tightly. They may be quieter, but they linger.

I think about words often.

The ones I say to myself. The ones I say loudly, the ones I say quietly. The ones I try not to say at all.

I think about the words others say to me, around me – either about me or about themselves.

The words we choose to use says a lot.

Language means something.

I can’t pinpoint when I started realizing how important words were to me, but I know it’s because of how they were used against me. Words meant nothing growing up. Only the words I read in books were meaningful. But fairytales are just that.

The National Eating Disorder Association posted last week to remind people about NEDA Awareness Week for this week. They’re kicking it off by inviting others to share a photo describing what they like about themselves. Their theme is Come As You Are.

According to my favorite supervisor from what feels like a lifetime ago – I’m terrible at just talking about myself. I’m sure some of you laugh because it seems like that’s all I do, but she said that I was always great at saying how we did things as a team, a partnership – how collaborative we were, but that in reality it was because of me that we were like that.

So in true fashion, I suck at saying things about myself that are good and really emphasizing them, but it’s something that I’m working on.

So I thought about this idea of what I like about myself and words. I thought about perception.

So, I posted on Facebook and Instagram asking for one word to describe me.

I thought I could go through those words and see if those perceptions met my own view of self.

I was terrified because while I’m sure most words would be positive, you just never know. But I’m not hiding.

I set the bar high for myself, sometimes higher than the expectations of others and sometimes lower – so this was to see where we could meet.

And here’s where we are.

  • Inspiring
  • Open
  • Unstoppable
  • Beautiful
  • Supportive
  • Empowering
  • Relatable
  • Young
  • Honest
  • Real
  • Genuine
  • Strong
  • Determined
  • Courageous
  • Knowledgeable
  • Authentic
  • Purposeful
  • Self-disciplined
  • Intelligent
  • Caring
  • Encouraging
  • Driven
  • Persistent
  • Ambitious
  • Understanding
  • Empowering
  • Brave
  • Determined
  • Unapologetic
  • Affable
  • Conscientious
  • Outgoing
  • Confident
  • Compassionate
  • Passionate
  • Fun

Some of these words were hard to read because I don’t know if I feel comfortable using them myself. It was a weird feeling.

I do feel strong. I know I’m passionate and can show compassion. I try to be understanding and I want deeply for others to be empowered. I have self-discipline and I work hard to be knowledgeable or seek knowledge about subjects I’m still ignorant in.

But it’s hard to be unapologetically me. Sometimes I catch myself about to apologize for something that doesn’t need explaining – we all do this.

It’s hard to be outgoing, but it’s something I do out of survival.

I don’t feel brave and I think that’s the one that threw me off the most – I don’t know what’s brave about telling myself story. To me it’s part of healing, it’s part of learning, it’s part of growing.

The words that I choose to use not only have to do with my personal history, but the society that I have grown up in. Having ambition can be good and bad. I’ve been told that my ambition makes me threatening. I have also been told that it’s inspiring. I also have an issue with inspiring.

I was talking with a friend about this last week – words, perception, how to sell yourself and how to believe in yourself. He said, when I read your bio I can see that you’re good at what you do and that you care, but I know you and I know that this isn’t all that you do or can do.

I reached out to a few friends to write their own descriptions of me and that was eye opening, but the words that I have a hard time using for myself were blended in the sentences that they wrote.

I’m trying to get better at using words and making sure that the ones I use have an appropriate amount of weight.

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