Anndi's Luggage: The power of words - a rant... be warned!
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The power of words - a rant... be warned!

Why is it people seem to feel an urge to give advice to others? Why is it they take the power of words for granted?

Be warned I’m going to rant… this is not a funny and light post… I’m not in a funny light mood!

I’ve witnessed comments that reflect double standards, people not minding their own business offering advice when it is unsolicited, and opinions given where they are unwarranted and it annoys the hell out of me.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’ve not actually been the recipient of said comments, but I’ve witnessed them or have been told of them. And there’s nothing wrong with words of encouragement in response to a post about what one is going through, be it by sharing experience or just offering support. They are godsends and are a reflection of the truly caring nature of the human soul.

It’s one thing to offer words of encouragement when one of our group or someone puts something out into the bloggosphere. We’ve formed little groups and communities of folks who although many have never met, have become as close as possible without physical proximity… and in some cases closer because the little bit of anonymity that is preserved through that absence of contact allows for declarations, confessions of things we might not actually say to those around us at times.. So many of the people I’ve met online, either through Soul Patrol or my adventures in blogging have become touchstones when I just need to get something out (an urge that does not happen very often). I cherish the support given by those who venture to comment when I decide to put something personal out there.

But when we seem to get it in our heads that we have the answers to questions that aren’t even asked of us and proceed to dish out said unwanted advice, it makes me want to throw my hands up in the air. And after I do, I feel the need to don the Riot Pants that some are familiar with.

It’s not that it isn’t well meaning, but some comments can hurt as words are very powerful and should be used wisely.

We all make mistakes... but when someone asks us to drop a subject... drop the subject.

On another note… here’s the double standard rant... Sorry, but when I get in this kind of mood.. I can’t help myself. This is a weight issue is if you’re sensitive to this you might not want to read on…

Let’s keep this is mind…

Anorexia and bulimia are pervasive and life-threatening illnesses. Just as it can be deemed inappropriate to make “fat” jokes people need to be careful about “give the girl a sammich” comments.

As I wrote this I was sitting in my mother’s room. She was nothing but skin and bones…Why? Not because someone didn’t feed her a “sammich”... but because she was dying of cancer, as my regular readers know.

Thyroid problems, addictions, cancer, and stress are all medical (and the list is not exhaustive) causes for dramatic weight loss… It’s uncomfortable for some people to see someone that falls into the “too-thin” category. The scope of this category is different depending on your mind set.

I am the mother of a young girl, and I hope to build her self-esteem to a point that she realizes her worth has nothing to do with her weight. Now maybe if we all worked toward this goal we wouldn’t even care if someone is a size 2 or 22. You know that “society” we like to blame for being responsible for these body issues? The ever present “them” and the infamous “they”? Well guess what.. WE ARE SOCIETY.

I want my daughter healthy. Believe me I’m VERY aware that without health, NOTHING matters. As long as she is at a healthy weight for her bone and muscle structure... and not at an extreme of the weight scale with the medical issues it brings on, then I don’t care.

I’ll smack anybody who tells me: “easy for you to say… you’re thin!” My frame is in great part the result of genetics... and a very nervous metabolism… is no where near perfect (cause that doesn’t exist) but I’m healthy and that’s all I care about.

People who are “too thin” may be in that state for a plethora of reasons… if they are ill the last thing they need to help them with their recovery is to be saddled with body image issues… (for some reason the issue gets more attention in relation to women – I’m leaving that alone for now).

If the illness is one that has important psychological causes (anorexia, depression, bulimia), then how are you helping them by making comments like “give the girl a sammich”?

If you are a close friend.. maybe it is your place to comment if it can help save their life.. if you are a stranger… it can be hurtful and falls under the none of your damn business category. And is just as rude as a fat joke… By the way, such comments, if they come from concern, should be made privately… public finger pointing and humiliation and harmful.

And now part three…

This one also falls under the “words are powerful” category.

Humour can hurt. Recently, as I was sitting at my mother’s wake, one of my dear friends was deeply hurt by what one person meant as a “harmless” joke in a chat room. The upheaval that ensued is something I’m glad I missed. It lead to e-mails, hurt, anger and a chat room closing. All because of two words that when put together should not, in my opinion, be used as a joke. The person who signed on using that particular moniker ( that I shall not repeat) had no idea that it would cause so much hurt.. it’s nothing to be laughed about regardless, but it’s potency was amplified by the recent events a member of my “family by choice” has gone through. (Sweetie, I heard about your loss and I keep you in my thoughts.)

Some comedians make a living off topics that are “offensive” and it’s their right, and if you don’t like that particular brand of comedy then you don’t go to their gigs, you don’t watch their HBO special and you tune out. But people have a choice about whether or not they wish to subject themselves to it.

Does it fall under the category of free speech? Maybe… Should someone like Michael Richards be drawn and quartered for using the word he did in a comedy club? I’m not going to decide that… Who is the keeper of the moral barometer to which we can hold words up to? Not me.

All I can say is… think before you speak or write and ask yourself: Should I? Can I hurt someone? Is this too important for me to let be? Do I really need to say this?

I know I asked myself these questions and you must know the answer since I’m posting this.

I feel much better now. If you made it this far and aren’t offended, thank you for reading.. If this post upset you… maybe you should have paid attention to my warning… and you should have clicked the “next blog” button but, thank you for reading. I won’t apologize. It’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it… this is my space after all and not a public forum or chat room.

And if someone says something that hurts you personally, you might want to tell them privately and resolve the issue without dragging others into it and making them feel uncomfortable. I normally wouldn’t post this kind of public rant, but the purpose is to provoke thought… feel free to agree or not. But be respectful.

Love you all more than my luggage!
Hugs, smooches and gropes!

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Comments on "The power of words - a rant... be warned!"


Blogger Angell said ... (1:30 PM) : 

Well said my friend.

How r u holding up? Please let me know if there is anything I can do.


Anonymous Travis said ... (1:51 PM) : 



Blogger Bond said ... (1:54 PM) : 

:::stand and applauds loud and long:::

You come back to us (we all missed you so) and post this brilliant rant...



Blogger Duff said ... (1:55 PM) : 

Ann, thank you for that thoughtful post. I agree with what you said 100%. I was one of the lucky ones to be busy and therefore not on Bunny the night it happened. I hope we can go back to being civil and put this past us.

I have been thinking about you. Checking your blog.. keeping you in my prayers.



Blogger busy91 said ... (1:55 PM) : 

So true Ann. People really should think before they speak. I sit in amazement at the 'jokes' that come out of people's mouths. And you know I'm not the most pc person on earth myself, so if I am amazed then it must be pretty bad! *HUGS*


Blogger Turnbaby said ... (1:57 PM) : 



Blogger Dixiechick said ... (1:59 PM) : 

*stands up and claps* BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO... very well put my dear little sis.


Blogger Maryfly said ... (2:00 PM) : 

I never understood why it's okay for someone to say that someone is skinny, etc. when the opposite is not acceptable.

awesome post!



Blogger julie said ... (2:25 PM) : 

I think I could hear you, Ann. Oh how I've missed you! Welcome back!


Anonymous damm said ... (3:06 PM) : 

dang girl...unpacking some luggage there! :)


Blogger Dana said ... (8:24 PM) : 

:short chubby Dana hugs her tall skinny friend:

Imagine if we all looked the'd be pretty boring, wouldn't it?


Blogger Jonathan said ... (10:08 PM) : 

I am sorry to hear about your mother, Anndi. If I may ask (since I'm new here and don't know), what type of cancer was it?

My grandmother died in 2003 of multiple myeloma, and there's not many days that go by where I don't think of her in one way or another. We were so very close, and I hated to see a woman who I knew my whole life as being a bubbly and full-of-life woman...go down the way she did.

Anyway, this isn't about me. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.


Blogger Twyla said ... (10:10 PM) : 

Rant away! :-)
Glad to see you back.


Blogger Tisha! said ... (8:46 AM) : 

So happy you're back even with that R-E-B-U-K-I-N-G sista! I read the whooole post and every single word, no letter you put up here is tried and true ma cherie! What I most identified with is the part about lacking tact, being terribly sarcastic in nature I often have to hold my tongue and I don't claim that I am always wise enough to know when to stop but it's a learning process and being insensitive just isn't my thing!

Also my goodness having it out in a public forum rather than privately confronting someone that is absolutely true!

You are one thought-provoking, stimulating and wise lady and you have become very dear to me Ann like you said the distance matters very little and sometimes we can't even explain why we feel the way we do it just is. There my declaration of amour!



Blogger Jonathan said ... (12:02 PM) : 

Anndi, disregard my question about the type of cancer. I read some more through your blog and got my answer.



Blogger Anndi said ... (12:11 PM) : 

Thank you all for the welcome back.. didn't mean to start off my return this way but when friends are hurt.. I step into the riot pants and let loose.. cathartic.

Angell, Travis, Bond, Duff, Busy, Turnbaby, Lee Ann, Mary the Flygirl, Sweet Julie, Duckie, Dana the precious, Twyla, and Tisha.. big kisses and hugs.. you have been wonderful.

Jonathan, so glad to have you here.. I wanted to send you a more detailed reponse , but I don't have an addy for you so here goes:

Thank you Jonathan. It started a few years ago with rectal cancer (family history it seems). We all thought the surgery she underwent had been enough to put it into remission but then they found lung cancer, and thymoma. Both of which she was operated on and treated for but the cancer was too pervasive and continued to spread, the thyroid gland being one of the structures attacked.

I'm sorry about your grandmother dear. I lost mine some years ago and I miss her terribly also. She too suffered a great deal.
The last weeks of my mother's life were difficult to witness, she had been a strong determined and active woman, and to see her wither away was very difficult. But I wouldn't give up the 10 days I spent sleeping in her room in the chair by the foot of her bed for anything in the world, or the coupleof weeks prior where I took a break from work to be with her everyday. She gave me her strength.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers dear. I've "met" some fascinating people through blogging and am pleased to have found my way to your blog.

Looking forward to many more interesting discussions. You're very insightful.


Blogger Sueann said ... (4:50 PM) : 

Sweetie! You are back! If you need to talk....I'm here. I have missed you terribly! Hugs and Love,


Blogger Gail said ... (8:45 PM) : 

So proud to call you my twin...

Welcome back. You and Alice continue to be in my prayers...


Blogger Sueann said ... (9:20 PM) : 

Hi Sis - I came back to re-read this moving post. You may or may not know that a couple of weeks ago, I too wrote a Rant, about something. of which, I am deeply passionate. I was severly admonished by a few "friends", but more importantly many "friends" supported my right to free speech and journalism. Afterall, it is my blog, thus my opinions. I applaud you for this post! I too wrote in my blog about "our" friend who has suffered a great loss. You, sweet girl, are in my prayers, as always.

Oh one more thing...I had no idea Gail was your twin! If JoJo and I are twins and you and Gail are twins...we could be quads? Wanna? LOL! HUGS!!!


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