Those who know me well know that words matter to me. This is expressed through double and triple checking spelling. I am constantly looking up definitions. I follow the dictionary on several forms of social media.
Their origin matters. I spent weeks looking up name origins for each of my children.
How we speak matters, and the words that are used matter. Not all words are interchangeable, as our culture would have us believe.
Good, great, amazing, fabulous, stupendous all are words to the affirmative but are not equal.
I once spent an extended amount of time in the presence of a man who chose to degrade an belittle those around him. In attempts to motivate, he would tear down. The building up never quite came.
This man used a few different words to describe me.
The words I would use would be independent, confident, capable, sure, strongwilled.
The words he chose to use were defiant, argumentative, negative.
The second two words did not bother me as much. But that first one. That word, DEFIANT. That one hurt. Every time I have ever been referred to as defiant, something happens inside of me.
That word bothers me. It bothered me in a way that I could not put into words.
So I did what I normally do, I looked it up.
Webster’s dictionary says this:
Definition of defy for English Language Learners. : to refuse to obey (something or someone) : to make (something) very difficult or impossible. : to resist or fight (something)
Google definitions say this:
noun 1. open resistance; bold disobedience.
Do you see it? Do you see the reason why the word sets me on edge so much?
It’s right there. Defiance equals DISOBEDIENCE. Disobedience.
This implies that the person who is being defiant was in a position of that of a lesser. A person who could be ordered, commanded, or otherwise made to follow an order, with no thought of their own taken into account.
When looking closely at it, I will gladly carry the title of being defiant, if it means that I do not blindly follow directions.
I question. I research. I double check. I think.
I do not blindly follow.
Words matter. The meaning behind them matters. The intent matters.
The two people that have referred to me as defiant in my life are the two people who tried their hardest to keep me from being myself. They are the two people who have tried to quiet my voice. They are the two who have made me feel that questioning is wrong. That the thoughts that I have are not important or valued. They are the two people who have tried the hardest for me to keep my opinions to myself.
They are wrong.
I have learned a very valuable lesson that I will take with me.
And the next time someone in my life refers to me as defiant, I will take a much harder look at them and what exactly they are up to instead of questioning my own worth.
Words matter my friends.