If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are words worth? Can a single word be worth a thousand pictures?
As Patrick Rothfuss says in The Name of the Wind, “As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
In a nutshell, words have the power to do some thangs to ya, yo!
A while back, one of my friends challenged me to write 100 words that describe me. Daaaaang, 100? Yes, 100.
It sounded like a lot but I took the challenge cos I’m a G like that and the writing began.
It was easy at first, especially since my thoughts ran with all the happy and fun words.
10 words. Boom!
20 words. Bam!
Okay, I got this. This is easy!
40 words. Blad-ow!
50 words. Uh oh, starting to slow down…
55 words. Pregnant pause
56th word popped into my head. I assume naturally so since #55 was Good Girl. I know I can also be a Bad Girl. 😉
Then the “other” words started flowing. You know, those words I don’t say aloud to myself or others…those words I don’t even want to attribute to myself.
But here’s what happened.
With each word in the list, I saw a picture, memory, situation, time when I behaved that way.
And I guess it’s hard to call yourself something you wish you weren’t, but hey, I wanted to be real with this exercise. I didn’t even know what would come of it or if my friend was going to publish my words anywhere and still, I sought to be completely honest with myself and let my mind and hand do the typing, daring to describe me in ways I’ve never even said aloud let alone admitted to myself!
Then, after seeing the list, my friend said, “Mean, bad girl, selfish, lazy, pensive…never would I have imagined in a million years.” Me and you both, B. Me and you both. 😀
One of my mentors, Vasavi Kumar, wrote an article entitled, “Yes, your sh&t does stink” (a must read y’all!) and it is here that she says:
Loving myself means loving all of myself. That includes parts of myself I don’t want you (or anyone) to see.
So true right?!
Looking at this list, I see a girl I know and one I don’t care to admit to know. With these words, a thousand pictures were released. A thousand references. A thousand situations I can’t take back – whether it was for better or worse.
Well, I tell you this, some of the words people view as ugly and negative, I wouldn’t get rid of if you paid me to.
For instance, I like being Selfish (this word gets a bad rap but you should try it sometimes). My middle name is Mean (to some people, mainly family members, but that’s a whole ‘notha story!). And I have fun being Dirty Minded (speaking of which, have you ever played the game Dirty Minds. So fun!). 🙂
In the end, what I’ve learned from this exercise is not to be so judgmental with myself, not to beat myself up, just yell “Plot Twist” and move on!
At the time I wrote these words (which took me about 10-15 minutes but seemed like a lifetime!), this is how I’d describe myself. It was such a revelation though that I’ve made time since then to pick out a few words and change my story. If I don’t like it, I must change it! Other than that, this is all me…
Words Worth A Thousand Pictures
My 100 words…actually 99 since I didn’t realize until writing this that I had listed one word twice. Do you see which one it is? Maybe that means I embody it doubly well! LOL
- Good girl
- Bad girl
- Conspiracy Theorist
- Loud laugher
- Mediocrity Escapologist
- Aunt mommy
- Wishy Washy
- True Pisces
- Cat lover
- Forward thinker
- Smarty pants
- Avid Reader
Over to you…
So you know what I’m going to ask you to do right? Yes, you do! I challenge you to write your 100 words. No need to share with anybody; it’s just for you. But come back and let me know what you learned from this exercise and how many words, if any, surprised you. How long did it take you? What number did you start to slow down? As you can see, I’m VERY curious!
Note: Incidentally, I invite you to check out Stephen Palmer’s blog of the same name, Words Worth A Thousand Pictures, as I love what he’s doing over there. He chooses an interesting vintage photograph, then limits himself to 20 minutes to write the “story” of the photograph. How cool is that? 🙂