Once you said a thing, it could never be taken back and would be taken up and repeated and altered and told again, no matter how misshapen and out of true. Better to say nothing.page 39, Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
This picture captures some of the feyness of the woods tin that particular spot. If one of the fair folk had appeared and asked me my name I would not have been surprised. I hope I’d also have remembered both my manners and my common sense and replied ‘you can call me Ainsel’ and been very precise in anything else I said to them. Words, after all, all have more power than we often give them credit for.
I do my best to speak out when I see that my voice is needed. I never want to be one of the people who allow injustice and discrimination to occur simply because they remain silent in the face of such actions. However I do also watch what I say very carefully because I know what pain can be caused by speaking without thought, or speaking with deliberate intent to wound.
There have been many times, especially over the last ten months with everyone’s tempers frayed to breaking, when I have found bitter, harsh, unpleasant words fighting to escape my mouth in fraught conversation or to spill from my fingers into the reply box in response to someone who has trodden on my last nerve. I have, thankfully, managed to restrain the worst excesses of such impulses because my compassion has caught me each time and prevented me from causing harm. I cannot say that I have not lost my temper, nor can I claim that I have not caused any upset at all. I doubt anyone could. I can’t even promise never to get it wrong in the future because life is just not like that. I can have all the good intentions in the world but that doesn’t mean anything if I am overwhelmed and let my guard slip.
All I can do is keep trying to remember that I will not have cause to wish something unsaid if I do not say it in the first place and that there is nothing that needs saying that cannot wait to be said once I am calm, rather than in the heat of the moment. Taking time and thinking twice is sometimes the best thing any of us can do. There is a magic in measured silence followed by careful speech that we’d all do well to conjure more often.