Reclaiming Words

Sparrow Kelley


1. petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart
2. an instance of spite

in spite of: 
in defiance or contempt of without being prevented by


2. a. informal,  often offensivea malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman  b. informal,  offensive — used as a generalized term of abuse and disparagement for a woman

You know that saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? What a load of bullshit, right? Words have power. Power beyond just their dictionary definitions. Words evolve, like living things, twisting out of our hands, our mouths. Sometimes they flow like rivers, pouring forth like gentle rain. Other times, they carry sharp edges and stabbing points, leaving wounds that bleed emotion.

Words can be weapons. Ones we use, and ones that are used against us. My favorite words are the ones that were once a weapon used against me, but have now become a shield. Armor, to protect us from the ones who hurl their words like sticks and stones, with consonants as sharp as swords. We melt them down in the furnace of our hearts, and repurpose them. If being this, being me, and standing up for the things that I believe in makes me this thing, this monster, then so be it. I will be the monster. I will be the bitch, and I will wear that crown with pride. I will swallow your words greedily, and spit them back as banners under which we gather. A fury of women who are not intimidated by you. And I will do it all out of spite.

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