A few months ago, out of desperation and need for help, I decided to open up to the person who gave me life. The person who loved me everyday for the past eighteen years of my life. I decided to tell my mother my worries and fears. To tell her what my soul cries out for. To tell her that I am sick.
For a couple of hours I sat with her crying from the amount of sincere emotions coming out of me, shaking from the sheer vulnerability of my state, feeling guilty for the massive load I was putting on her.
I expected nothing. But I received everything: compassion, love, empathy, help and most importantly, acceptance.
Days went by, taking with them bricks and bricks of the wall that I had surround myself in.
I started opening up to my mom, telling her what I was feeling, taking her along the journey as she had asked me to.
One day, I didn't run away when I had a panic attack, like I normally would. I was with her and I felt comfortable enough to be with her when it happened. I told her how it felt, what I was feeling, sharing the experience as much as I could.
That's when she told me a few words that were an arrow to a heart left without a wall to shelter it. She told me to stop it, because I was hurting her. I started to put bricks of the wall back up, but stopped when I realized I still needed her help.
The next arrow wasn't made of wood. But of flaming metal, shot to my heart when we were in the car and she told me to stop making things up. She told me I was being irrational and thought of her as a rock that could take everything thrown at her.
As soon as those words were uttered I hurriedly started putting back the bricks. Because it was never my intention to hurt her.
The next day, she told me she didn't mean it. She asked me to keep telling her stuff.
I nodded, trying not to upset her more. But I knew that my heart wouldn't let me.
This hasn't been my first attempt at reaching out for help. But it was the first time that I was given hope. The first time that I could actually see myself getting better, having her help me along the way. And for that picture to grow in my head for a couple of days only for it to be shattered, left a wound so deep that I will continue to hold onto for the rest of my life. Yes, wounds do heal, but they leave behind scars that will forever serve as a reminder of what happened, as a warning to not let just anyone in.
It took me years to allow myself to open up like that, to wear my heart on my sleeve. To actually talk. And then, when I finally summoned the courage to do that, I was reminded of the fears that stopped me from doing so since the beginning.
I fear that I'll never allow myself to let the people around me in, that my wounds will only grow deeper if I do. That I'll always continue to associate vulnerability with hurt and not the possibility of it. That I’ll never be able to ask for help again, no matter how many times I'm assured that I won't be hurt. That I'll always be alone, held captive by my demons. That my thoughts will forever remain behind locked doors, never to be shared.
You see mom, that's the power of words. They're a finely sharpened, double edged sword. So sharp and so precise with their target. Once they've been said, they're out of your reach. They're like intelligent laser beams shooting out of your mouth, try as you might to stop them, they'll just go right through your efforts and straight to their target.
You can never take back what comes out of your mouth. And sometimes you wouldn't want to. Sometimes it is what you have said that will spread smiles and feelings of love, kindness and comfort all around you. Sometimes it's what you have said that could make someone's day, could leave the world a better place than when you found it, could live on, to inspire and help people even after you have left this earth, it's your words that could save a life.
But that's the dangerous beauty of words; while they have the ability to save a life, they can also lead to ending one.
To me, words can be embodied as a monster that, if you mess with, will drag its victim by the hair and throw them into a black hole, where time doesn't exist. Where nothing exists anymore.
Words so carelessly spoken could leave people with only the company of their demons, filling their time with screams of agony and torture only they are able to hear, the echo traveling through their body to paint a smile on the surface of their face.
Words so carelessly spoken could be the boat that holds within it the entire human race, leaving behind someone in a stranded island. Alone. Looking on as the boat swiftly becomes smaller and smaller until nothing can be seen anymore. And that image feeds the demon inside until the screams are no longer echoed as smiles, but as heart wrenching, glass breaking screams clawing their way out of a broken soul.
The thing about words is that you can never take them back. They’re forever wedged so deeply in the soul of its target. So have care in what you lace your swords with. You could lace them with venom, you could drag your victim down and doubt their ability to ever make it back up, you can tell them they're failures, tell them their dreams are too far fetched, and then watch your victim fall, then struggle back up while keeping pressure on the wound.
Or you could lace your swords with love, tell your targets they're enough, tell them they're loved, tell them you understand, and watch your target's soul glow and flourish, blanketing the heart with soft and cold snowflakes. Putting down the fire and spreading the love all around.
But before you give me a clear glass of water I ask you not to follow it up with a drop of ink that will render the water useless. I ask you not to ask me to let my guards down if you can't guarantee you won't attack me.
Because even though my ears ache to hear those words of love and encouragement, they have repercussions and my heart is still wary. It will fight my brain and it might win, it might choose to trust you. So please don't give my heart hope, only for you to take it away, ripping a piece of me in the process. Please, don't give my brain more reason to lose its faith. Don't give my heart more room to be crushed, because I don't think I'll be able to mend it this time.
I'd rather you remain a silent bystander that watches me as I break, than for you to have a hand in breaking me.
Nadia kamal is a senior in high school. She aspires to leave her footprint in this world by leaving it a better place.