From Our Readers
April 02, 2014 6:00 am

Someone once introduced me as being “not distinctive.”

Think about that for a moment. Not. Distinctive. In the background, inseparable from the general mass, forgotten and unmemorable.

It was a casual comment, thrown in with a description of my supposedly meek and quiet nature, proving how little she actually knew me. I know it was merely a thoughtless comment, not intended to echo in my brain for years after, but it has.

Suddenly everything can be read with in that framework, every failure or misunderstanding magnified. Something as innocent as a distant acquaintance not remembering your name suddenly becomes further evidence that what she said was true.

That’s the power of words; they can lodge into the corners of your mind and raise their voices at any time. They can form part of narratives of your life, a negative comment like that can snowball into an enduring lie, a story you begin to tell yourself until you almost believe it.

It’s somehow harder for the positive voices to get through; maybe it’s more difficult to believe them to be true. So it takes more, until there is a crowd to drown out the doubt. I’m lucky; I have found wonderful friends whose words drip with love and superlatives, exactly like words should. For surely we should use our words to celebrate, build up and fortify.

I love that moment when two friends meet up in the street, when suddenly faces light up and voices call out and people separate themselves from the crowd. That’s what it feels like to be distinctive, an individual worth seeking out. Loving words, genuinely spoken, can become part of that armor to wear when you are wandering around, feeling like part of the daily masses, on the train, on the bus, in that traffic jam.

These words can be used to shoot down the lies that might creep in, warriors in that battle in your mind, for your mind. You never know what a little verbal kindness might mean to someone else.

Kimberley is an English and History graduate from Perth, Australia currently working on a History dissertation. So when she isn’t buried under books in the library she can be found at rooftop bars or in cafes compiling her open notebook project, Fractured Reverie.

Featured image via ShutterStock.