It’s a busy time for some and holiday time for others. For me, it’s somewhere in between. I’d like to address my two most favourite and hated words are – ‘never’ and ‘always’. I use these words regularly and with feeling. I hurl them at people and I drop them like an anchor to root my words. I also use them as promises to add some certainty to an otherwise uncertain life.
I’ve been reprimanded for using them too because some people saw through it. Also using those two words haven’t been too successful for me. Some words in the dictionary can only be used for effect, but they can’t serve as one’s conviction. I love them because it’s rather satisfying to use them, especially as damage control.
It’s fine to use them, but it’s dangerous to believe in them. That’s when I hate them. They are the most dangerous and binding words, and you shouldn’t mess around with them. I love them when they are used in stories because it fills you with expectation but in reality, I’m waiting for those words to lose their meaning, slowly over a period of time they’re reduced to just alphabets arranged together, meaning nothing, inspiring no feeling.
An extension of ‘always’ is ‘forever’, but you know when ‘forever’ comes into the picture, you need to run the other way. It’s not just in romantic love where these words become tropes. You sometimes use them on yourself or in any relationship. In any dynamic, these words slip in. At some point, one of these words or all of them will enter your life, regardless of who, what, when and where.
I love to use these words when I am angry, they are my go-to words. It creates impact and it’s uber-dramatic. It was my sister who first caught onto it and called me out for it. She would ask me if I even understood what I meant by those words and I never really knew what to tell her. If I was accused I’d say, “I never did that,” if I was accusing someone I’d say, “You always do that!”
I constantly dread to hear those words, but now I’m better. I cautiously suggest them, only when I think it might be harmless. It has been held against me in the past and I don’t want that again. I am guilty of using those words to win a battle but end up hurting myself in the process.
‘Always’ comes with a time limit, and ‘never’ is shorter than you’d expect. These words are conditional, they come with an asterisk, fine print, dotted lines and loopholes. Language is full of these tricks, semantics make life harder. I personally believe we shouldn’t overthink them, it’s ok if we get them wrong but who’s going to explain that to the world? Neither you nor I would bother.
It would have been nice if the unadulterated meanings of these two words were real but if you look at it in reality, they should be conditional. It prevents us from prolonged pain and misery. Stories with happy endings make you believe in these words, that it’s all or nothing, grey areas are not important.
But grey is life. It’s only recently that moviemakers and authors decided that reality also sells. Even if it’s a more glamorous reality at least it’s moving towards accurate representations. If we live life thinking there’s a guarantee of ‘never’ and ‘always’ we’ll walk ourselves over the edge thinking we won’t hit the ground.
I still use these words, even if it’s not as frequent and many a time I’m tempted to believe in them. I’ve never been right about these two words, the people I never thought would be there for me, are the ones who stuck with me and the people I always thought would be there are nowhere in sight.
We live in a world that oscillates between ‘never’ and ‘always’ on a daily basis. The person who created those words would have known the trick to it. It captures the essence of our fantasies, our extreme emotions. What we say on a daily basis, doesn’t all make sense.
There’s a lot of stuff I’ve said in my life I didn’t mean and have had it thrown back in my face. Even as I write this blog, I don’t remember every single word I’ve written, I don’t know what every single person has interpreted out of it. I don’t know if tomorrow somebody will come and say I wrote something silly or made some mistake. If there’s rectification necessary I’ll do it. But that’s as much as I can do.
I guess the catch is that you can say what you want to say, but you should be gracious when faced with the consequences. Or, and I think this is the best solution for all of us today, be introverted. I mean they might come after you for the silence but at least you don’t need to justify a random thought or an embarrassing statement. Just talk to fewer people so fewer people hunt you when they disagree with you. Keep calm and keep quiet.