Why are we so careless with words? These things that so easily break us. These things that have the power to change a heart, a future, a faith in an instant. And after, we can never return to the place we were before those words were said; we may forgive or move on or sow something beautiful in the soil of our wounds, but we will always remember.

The words we didn’t want to hear, whether sharp or flat or waning, slither under those inner layers of skin and burrow in. Over time, they are absorbed or absolved but their outlines will remain, faint etchings, tattoos of past hurts done and felt. We only realize their power after they have left our tongues, after they have ushered in the pain or the anger or the stagnant death of something precious and begun making their way below the surface, into those hard-to-reach places.

It is only then, when we have slipped off the edge, when we have lost or, worse, caused another’s loss – it is only then, with those caustic words echoing in our ears, that we manage to bite our tongues.

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