“You have a way with words,” I’ve been told.
While the world is home to libraries of books that house centuries worth of literature—romantic, tragic, fictional, and truthful—written by men and women who’ve had their own ways with words on a page. The average human being uses about 14,000 words a day. Today we send texts, emails, instant messages, and make calls as much as we’ve been talking to the next person since the beginning of time. But out of all the senseless rambling and chatter-filled hours, how many of these utterances are more helpful than hurtful? How many people have we kept up at night because of the unnecessarily mean things our mouths couldn’t hold back? Have any of our words ever made someone else’s day?
We all have our own ways with words. I just hope we use them well. Better yet, to say things with love.
Love doesn’t have to be classified into romantic or platonic, it just has to be real. And real comes from a solemn place of sincerity which is somewhat hard to find nowadays. Finding sincerity is the diamond in a rough in a world where everyone’s building up an image, edited by filters, hidden behind walls. We spend more time thinking about photo captions for our next posts, instead of scribbling a good old thank you note or browsing Hallmark cards. There’s no need for grand gestures and pricey gifts to show love. Set aside pride because there’s a lot more dignity in showing the true colors of raw, honest feelings. Set big words like, “I love you” and more nerve-wracking words like, “I like you” or “I’m sorry”, aside for the mean time, to make way for the two words we all need to hear every now and then. “Thank you”. A small “thank you” and even a genuine “I’m proud of you” can mean so much more than the bit of effort it takes to show appreciation for the people around us—strangers and loved ones. The words may just fly off, but the chances of making someone’s day may even be higher.
I want to have a way with words that will let people know they’re worth it.
Call it old fashioned, but here are just some of the thank you notes I never sent.
To my barkada,
I read somewhere that “being bad never felt so good,” but I’ve always felt being myself is risky when I’m around other people. Thanks for letting me just be all the crazy sides of me. Thank you for sharing me your food, your stories, and your honesty. I never had sisters, so if what we’ve been through is close to what having sisters is like, then I’m grateful to call you girls the closest I’m gonna get.
To my best friend,
We’ve known each other for a while. We’ve seen each other with all sorts of haircuts, acne, braces, and weight gains. But I still think you look the same and that means great. We’ve out grown extra long texts 24/7 and prom gowns. We’ve survived high school parties, college, and internships. Heck, we’ve outlived the skinny jean to see the revival of the boyfriend jean and the bell-bottoms that will never suit us. You saw me through every struggle and still stayed. Thank you for never turning your back on me and making 11 years go by like it was nothing and everything at the same time. You make me feel so old, yet you stay young with me for every rom-com rerun and pack of Cheetos. And although I’m still on my young and stupid spree, thank you for never loving me any less. Thanks for being you.
To the friends I’ve ran to when I needed it the most,
Thank you for keeping me sane and on my toes whenever I was stuck in a rut, even when it meant calming me down and listening to me at 2am. Thank you for keeping my secrets safe. I’ll never forget you and I will have your back and wholeheartedly do the same for you guys, always.
To the janitors I didn’t get to smile at,
Thank you for constantly keeping my surroundings clean at best. I noticed a lot of people just walk by like you’re invisible and expect you to do your job just because it’s your job, but I hope you remember you’re more than the uniform you wear. And if they’ve never put a nametag on that, well I think they should because you have a name too. I’m sure it’s a nice name. Thanks for smiling back.
To the people that have hurt me,
Thanks for the memories. Thanks for making me stronger.
To a rare breed of teachers and professors,
Thanks for making school something I looked forward to whenever you were teaching a class that I would claim “changed my life”. Instead of playing favoritism, you’ve opened up a world of ideas and opportunities for me. Thank you for being brave enough to lead unique lives that I could look up to.
To my editors and mentors,
Thank you for believing in me despite my insecurities and giving me the creative criticism when I needed it. Thank you for never giving up on me and seeing my work and me in a different light, during the times I couldn’t. Thank you for your constant encouragement.
To my big brothers,
Thank you for protecting me and annoying me since the day I came out of the hospital. Thank you for still never spoiling me to the point of raising me to be completely helpless and weak someday in the real world. You guys have had the biggest influence on me.
To my adorable grandparents,
I know I inherited a lot of qualities from the four of you and I know I don’t go out with you or call you enough. But thank you for giving me more than I could ever give back. Thank you for teaching me values I wouldn’t trade for anything.
To my folks,
I’ll keep it short just because you guys deserve the longest one and still I never say it enough. THANK YOU. I’m sorry for being stubborn. I still can’t thank you enough for loving me, but I love you too.
Although we all have different love languages and writing a letter or a note isn’t for everybody, it’s just one of the many ways to brighten up someone’s day and lend a smile. If the world had more grateful hearts and there were kinder, sweeter utterances of those 14,000 words we use in a day, well- you be the judge of the kind of world we’d be living in.
We can choose our way with words. I want to have a way with words that’ll make people smile.