I was recently talking to my mum about how children can react when you say no to them. Throwing things around, screaming “I hate you!”. And she said I never did that. I never told her I hated her. She thinks it’s because I always took words very seriously – I wouldn’t use a word that meant something so horrible just because I was angry.
In a similar way, my dad argues that the reason I refused to use curse words when I was little – even though he bribed me – was because I didn’t know exactly what they meant. And I wanted to know what it was I was saying. When I told my mum this she commented that I might not have known precisely what the words meant – “But you knew they meant something bad”.
I think they were both right. And I think I was pretty right, back then.
Nowadays I frequently throw around words without giving careful consideration to their true meaning. After all, I’m a student. I have to write (and sometimes speak) academically.
I occasionally do it in arguments, too. Trying to describe something which I think is closely related to some other concept I’ve heard of. Wanting to use the fancy words instead of my own, ordinary sounding words. Or sometimes simply for the effect certain words have, as a last resort in a frustrating argument.
I don’t think using a complicated word in an incorrect way is as bad as yelling “I hate you” to the person you love most in the world, but I do think I could learn a thing or to from the old me. Maybe not by completely stop using words I don’t fully understand the meaning of (how will I ever learn to use them, then?), but by at least thinking carefully about what I do know about their meaning before I use them. Because even if I know that I don’t mean exactly what the word means, the people I’m talking to, or who are reading my text, don’t. They just hear what I’m saying. So I need to think about what it is that I’m saying.
With that said, there will probably be a lot of blog posts here where I misuse words, either because I don’t know the precise meaning of the word, or because I’m exaggerating. That happens when I’m upset, and since I get upset about things I care about, and tend to write about things I care about… Well, you get the picture. Lots of feelings and words flying around.
I hope I manage to make myself understood anyway.