1/12/13

Sarcasm Daggers





Sarcasm (coming from the Greek sarkasmos which means to tear flesh): a remark made to hurt someone's feelings

"Cruelty is shameful-unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke." -C.S. Lewis

I sat there, like a convict with her execution approaching rapidly, with hopeless eyes as I awaited the Daggers about to be thrown at me.

The ones holding these Daggers, these stones that would no doubt destroy another part of me just like the last time, didn't do it with a malice heart. They didn't stand around throwing Darts infused with hurtful words at a picture of my face. They never sat around a table ping ponging ideas back and forth on how to inflict more pain on me. They thought these Daggers were fun. They were a part of some sort of game and I was lucky to be the victim. It meant I was "in." They called these Daggers their "sense-of-humor;" this thing they did to get a laugh all the while destroying my fragile soul.

But it was all fun and games... right? So they said. And so I said, under my breath, hoping I would just believe those words and move on with my life, as they played a sort of Scrabble with my heart, putting together letters to form words like "boring" and "weird" and "dumb" and saying it was joke so just laugh at it.

But it wasn't laughable to me; it never has been. These words had flown into my soul and made a nest. They had laid the eggs of Insecurity and Bitterness and the evil one had made sure these eggs broke through with life. He---and I---let them fly rampant, destroying all the treasures tucked into alcoves of my soul.

These words were like rough hands strangling my Personality. Suffocating me, telling me to "Shut up and sit there because no one wants to hear your jokes or ideas or dreams." 

These hands created scars that defined me and told me, every time I looked at them, that I was not worth it.

And all the while I felt like it was my fault for letting all the Daggers hit me like they did. I had an issue, a disease and it was called "Too Sensitive."

And because it was all my fault, because these twisted compliments and "funny hating" were all my fault, I let them sculpt me into someone I didn't want to be: a girl terrified of who she was. A girl who kept quiet so she'll never have to hear the words "You're not funny" or "You're dumb" or "Don't be so obnoxious" ever again.

And I knew that if I ever fought those Daggers, if I ever called them out asking of them why they were so mean, they would just look at me with their taunting eyes and say, "Stop being so sensitive, Savannah."

And maybe I do need to stop shrinking away like a little puppy dog when someone wraps up a hurtful joke in an air of humor.

But then again, maybe I don't. And I won't. Because this I know: behind every sarcastic remark made there is truth. John Haiman, a linguist at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., said that when sarcasm is used the ones using it are rarely kidding. The words they say come from a very authentic place, it's just wrapped up in Sarcasm wrapping paper and tied with a Don't-Take-It-So-Serious bow for their own protection.

Maybe this is too little, too late. Seeing us change---our Twitter feeds, statuses, words spoken---from sarcasm to grace-filled truth seems impossible. A feat that could never be accomplished.

But I know what I can change: me. I can change what I say, the words I use, the way in which I speak. And to you I promise this: I promise to try my hardest to love you like a brother or sister. I promise to try my best to encourage you, compliment you and be your biggest cheerleader in life. I promise to try and make you know how great you are, how lovely you are, how much I adore you, how much I enjoy you. I promise to try and turn from taking the easy way, turn from using the "lowest form of wit" as Oscar Wilde put it, turn from coating my words in protective Daggers because I am insecure.

 I promise to belt out Love like a jazz singer in a lonely bar at you when everyone else in your life is screaming Hate at the top of their lungs.


Here is a list of some other people talking about how sarcasm can mess you up: Craig Groeschel's book Soul Detox, Tyler Huckabee's Could We BE More Obsessed with Sarcasm for Relevant Magazine, Lauren Dubinksy's Your Jokes Suck: Why I Don't Date You and Imperfecting Parenting: You Hurt Me, Todd's The Damaging Effects of Sarcasm, Lisa Merlo-Booth's The Sting of Sarcasm Doesn't Belong in Relationships