Words mean something
What is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
We live in this wonderful culture of freedom. Personal freedom, personal expression, they are wonderful things. I love that I can be myself, I can define my own life and live according to my own terms.
However, words have a meaning. Some words have multiple meanings and it is really cool that they can be versatile. This leads us to amusing situations, such as dropping puns and double entendres into the conversation but words are defined. They have to be.
We all gravitate towards certain words. They resonate. Their meaning has a meaning for us. They become labels. We wear them like badges to tell others something about us. It is a handy and useful thing. However, we have to be careful when we are selecting these terms because, well, they have a meaning. There are generally accepted definitions. Yes, it is cool to defy convention … sometimes, but when we get into a habit of it, we dilute the significance.
Who does it hurt? I hear you say. There is no victim! you exclaim. Well, there is. When we start to change the meaning of words whenever we disagree with the definition, we erode something that is extremely vital to us, to society in general. We damage effective communication. How can we negotiate? How can we make requests? And, how can we express desires and needs? None of this is possible if we cannot trust and understand the words and terms we are using.
As a writer, I will often twist words and contort them so that they serve in a context that is foreign to the definition. I like to write conceptually. I like to take the words from one situation and apply them to another. Once, I wrote a youth group sermon about the experience of feeling the Holy Spirit move through me. When I delivered the speech, the Pastor was very moved by my words. The entire thing was a metaphor for sex. 1)I really wish I could find it now, it was a brilliant piece if I do say so myself I recently wrote about licking minds and tasting thoughts. Thoughts have no taste and I wasn’t describing a vorarephilic fantasy. I took culinary words and forced them into a new existence. And, I had so much fun doing so. I took liberal amounts of artistic license to convey a concept using terms that didn’t fit, in a literal sense.
It is one of the things writers get to do.
Precise language is necessary for negotiations
However, I wouldn’t approach a serious discussion or a negotiation using culinary terms, unless I was negotiating a cooking class. To do so would introduce confusion. Here’s a case in point:
I was having a conversation with a partner. 2)Now an ex-partner because of situations like this It was one of those disclosure conversations. I wanted to know the level of intimacy he had with another woman. His answer was that it was “mostly platonic“. Okay. I understand platonic. It was used to define the relationship with a qualifier … mostly. It is perfectly reasonable that I would walk away from that conversation believing that there was intimacy, but no sexual interaction. Right? Except that his definition of mostly platonic is synonymous with occasional sex, or casual sex. You can see how I would feel deceived and betrayed when I discovered the truth of the matter. He had redefined the word platonic because he rejected the actual meaning.
And, we see this all the time. People want to use a term, word, or label, but the definition doesn’t fit. So, in an act of pure indulgence, they redefine the word to make it fit, instead of finding a more appropriate word. If we all did this, we would end up with as many definitions as there are people using the word. It makes communication impossible, or extremely labour intensive. Can you imagine having to frequently interject to ask, “What do you mean by XYZ?” No one will get any of that communication thing done. We would have to approach every conversation with our own personal dictionary so the other conversationalist can cross-reference our meaning with their own.
Dynamic definitions within your relationship
Now, I am not talking about defining things within your own dynamic. Each of us has our own idea of what Dominant or submissive looks like and how it will work effectively within our own lives and relationships. However, when you start moving too far afield from what is generally understood, you can’t take offence when someone else doesn’t quite grasp your vision. And if it works for you, by all means, keep doing it … within your own dynamic. But when you start talking to all of those millions of people who aren’t in your dynamic, it would be most efficient if you went back to the actual definitions.
There are a lot of words to choose from
When a term doesn’t resonate with you, if the meaning doesn’t quite fit you, then maybe, you shouldn’t use the term. It is a radical concept, I agree. But words have a meaning … and that word just doesn’t fit you. You can’t chisel away at it to make it fit into the hole. Find another word. There are millions to choose from.
There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
~ Led Zepplin, Stairway to Heaven
From the archive. Originally posted on FetLife, 9 Feb 2015
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||I really wish I could find it now, it was a brilliant piece if I do say so myself|
|2.||↑||Now an ex-partner because of situations like this|