When words speak louder

When the piecimg_11732.jpge of Date an Illiterate Girl became viral, it inspired a lot of versions of “who to date” write-ups. We have Date a girl who Reads, Date a Girl who Writes, Date a Poet  and moreI wanted also to write my own adaptations like  Date a boy who Reads, Don’t Date a Boy who Reads, or Date a Boy who Writes. They are just so fun to write and read that I have a mental draft for these but I throw them in my trash bin of thoughts. I do not want to promulgate an idea that we like people based on eloquence and rhetoric. Putting weight on person’s linguistic ability does not give justice at all. Language is not equivalent to intelligence. It is just a means to express.

They say, action speaks louder than words but sometimes words have a triple effect. Words are not only combination of alphabets, characters, and syllables. It fuels discussions and I think most of the arguments we have are largely based on definition of terms. Hence in every formal debate, it begins with a definition of terms.

Once you release a word, it has a life of its own. This is the reason why Shakespeare ends his sonnets with a promise of immortality. As written in Sonnet 18:

 “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

The words we utter go beyond our intention. It communicates more than it should.

Hence, never underestimate what words can do. If we could change the world with words,why not? As what Marius said to dying Eponine, “If only words could close your wounds with words of love.” As written  in Proverbs 16:24 said:

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb. Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

When words speak louder……

hugging wordsWords create image
You may not notice it but sometimes people build their image by playing with words. Note the difference “I sing” is different from “I’m a singer.” “I type” is different from “I’m a typist.” “I love him” is different from “I’m his lover.” “I nurse him” is different from “I’m a nurse.” “I write” is different from “I’m a writer.” I cannot help but think that sometimes verbs are more accurate than nouns.  It’s just a simple choice of words yet it makes a difference on how we make impressions.

Words add layers of thoughts
Words evolve as we grow old. We interpret words differently. For instance, the word, “’sexy” or “hot.” Sometimes we like to receive this as compliments but trying to contextualize these words in pop culture can lead to another level of thought.

Words define experience
There are some things that cannot be translated in a particular language. You have to experience words to know what they actually mean. If  a certain word is not present in you language, it means it is not part of your culture.

My two favorite words are not even found in the dictionary. There are “chos” and “naks.” They serve as replacement for “just kidding” but not entirely the same. They are not actual words. They are interjections that most of the time are use in speech and sometimes in blogs, informal letters. They may sound nonsense but they change the course of conversation. The occurrence of these expressions speak of how we find the need to make a conversation light.

Words can change our perspective
“Dreams” is a better word for “delusions.” “Developing country” is better than an “underdeveloped country.”As what I wrote in my blog post: “Instead of using the word, “accept,” use “receive.” These two words may sound synonymous but they can change how you think. “Accept” is often combined with negative thoughts. “ I accept failure.””I accept rejection.” “Receive” on the other hand, is more related on positive things. “I receive a gift.” “I receive a letter.” “I receive a blessing.””

Our choice of words reflect how optimistic and pessimistic we are.
As much as words can empower, it will always have limits.

My favorite poet  Sarah Kay has stressed that in her poem Postcards

Is there a word for the moment you win tug of war?

When the weight gives and all that extra rope comes tumbling towards you.

How even though you’ve won you still wind up with muddy knees and scratches on your hands.

Is there a word for that? I wish there was.

I would have said it.

When we were finally alone together on your couch, neither one of us with anything left to say.

Still now, I send letters into space.

Why I don’t like Math

I don’t like Math with or without a calculator. When I was in grade school, I struggled to pass my Math subject. As a child, I did not understand why I had to memorize the multiplication table. To me, there was no peace in fractions, remainder, dividends. In college, I could not find significance of algebra in my life. In music, I cannot tell how many beats are there in a measure. In reading a newspaper, I choose to read commentary, entertainment section over business section because of its numerical data. If one asks me, how far is Las Pinas from Quezon city, I will not answer in kilometers. I’ll just say it feels like traveling all over the Philippines. I don’t like anything that has to do with numbers. That’s why I never love money.

Now that I’m old, I change my perspective. I don’t like Math, not only because of my mental ability, but because Math requires standard measurement and a certain level of accuracy. Forever, one plus one equals two, not slightly two or almost two.

I like to see things as relative and as subjective as they are. Because when there is no measurement, no accuracy, one can build his or her imagination and interpretation. For instance, “an endless night” is better said than  “12 hours without sleep.” And when a boy wants to flatter a girl, he might use geometry. Hence, he will say, “You are mathematically beautiful. Your face is in proportion. The proportions of the length of the nose, the position of  your eyes and the length of your chin all conform to some aspect of the Golden Ratio

It might be a meaningful compliment but it is not as romantic as Shakespeare would woo a woman. ” Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day. Thou art more lovely and more temperate… But thy eternal summer shall not fade. Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade. When in eternal lines to Time thou grows’t.”

In practical application, numbers might be involved in relationships. Imagine a husband asking his wife, “Do you love me?” And she will reply: “ We’ve been together for more than ten years. I cook your meals. I wash your laundry. I clean your house. I press your clothes. “ Is it not sad to know that love can be measured by length of time and by number of deeds?

With measurement comes perfection. People become obsessed with numbers. A perfect female body has a vital statistics of 34-24-36. As I watch beauty pageant, I wonder do they really look perfect in my eyes or is it the mind that tells me they look sexy because of their vital statistics? In school, students compete to meet high grades. Academics try to measure one’s excellence in essay, art, performance when in truth these things largely depend on the nature of audience. With the world of  numbers, anything can be quantified. Numbers set the bar. Hence, there is top 1 and top 2.

The purpose of  Science and Math is to understand the world. But I’d rather leave  some things incomprehensible, unfathomable. Without Math, age doesn’t matter.  Transcript of records does not matter. Everything could have been make-believe without Math.

P.S.  I don’t like Math but I happen to love people who like Math. Happy Birthday to my mathematician friend, Sol Mariano.