The Most Damaging Pronoun

04 May

“We” is the most harmful word in the English language.

Call someone a bitch, bastard, blasphemer. Scream that they’re a cock, a cunt, incorrigible. Tell them they make you sick, you want to kill them, you wish they had never been born.

But don’t say “we.” Don’t speak for that other person. No, don’t agree with him! Don’t humor him, cater to him, cow to him! Don’t cave, don’t commit! It’s a different kind of death. An internal one, slow and yet endlessly explosive, rocks you to your heart (you know it’s all in the brain, in the head, but the heart is what tightens), makes you want to scream and punch something, break your hand against it, tear the skin from your flesh and split the bone at the wrist, snap it off.

I want, now. I want to shrink, to fade, to disappear. I want the world to pass me by, ignore me in every sense. I want to be insubstantial, I want to be non-existent. I want to be less than a pinprick, less than that one after those thousands of zeroes. I want to be, at once, nothing and everything. To see all, but to not observe any.

Every “we” is a blow, an impact to the skull, to the chest, to the throat that burns with acid and the stomach that churns. Each time I hear it, my head splits, my conscious mind is rocked and my face reddens. No more “we”s. I can’t take it. No “we,” no “us,” no “our.” None of the forms, none of the meaning. Please! I’m begging! See my knees, how they crumple beneath me? How my resolve crumbles? How my hands bleed from the walls, from the floor? How I favor my foot? Hear the popping in my knees?

I remember other moments, other times. I can’t get them out of my head, cobwebs clogging the tunnels of my consciousness. I can hardly think, I can’t work, talk, write, fight. I hate the sound of my own voice. When it comes from between my lips, it betrays me. I cut it off at the head, sever the neck and reel it back. Terse phrases,  short words. Always short words.

But never “we.”

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Posted by on May 4, 2010 in Uncategorized


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