Madi must have been in kindergarten when she got off the bus one day in tears because some little boy had called her an idiot. I was indignant. He called MY sweet little girl an idiot? This could not be tolerated.
I immediately taught her how to spell it. I – D – I – O – T. I told her next time he said it, she should spell it out, and ask him, “Who’s the idiot now?“ Not my finest moment, and the lesson certainly wasn’t “Turn the other cheek.”
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.“ This adage appeared in 1862 in The Christian Recorder. While I appreciate the thought/intention behind the axiom, it is bovine waste, pure, and simple. Words do hurt. They wound deeply, and too often we don’t treat them like the weapons they are.
There is also another aspect to words though...
Today in yoga class - it’s amazing how many of my stories begin this way - we started with breath work, then we moved into slow stretches. All was well.. I was deeply and intently focused. Next came the balance poses.
“Ground your right leg, lifting your left leg behind you while hinging at the waist, hands at heart center.“
I crushed it. I was in warrior three pose balanced and bent yet with a straight spine. Feeling proud of myself.
The next set of instructions were exactly the same except it was with the left leg. Uh oh. I didn’t feel as stable. I wobbled a little, tried to correct myself, and hold on. I wobbled a little more and fell completely over. Then I got tickled and started laughing. The teacher smiled at me, and then I snorted. A great big snort-laugh in the midst of a peaceful yoga class.
The teacher laughed, encouraged me, and then she mentioned that it had turned me into a “giggle box.” A giggle box? I haven’t been called that since I was probably seven or eight years old, and it made me inordinately happy.
I feel like lately I’ve been able to predict the rain with my knees and joints; I get startled at the old person who greets me in the mirror. And suddenly I’m a giggle box? What an awesome way to start the day.
I think I may venture out today and do some name-calling of my own: fabulous, amazing, handsome, pretty, smart, funny. And then I may just do some more giggling.