Have you ever used a word without really knowing what it meant? Or have you ever learned the definition of a word and thought back to all the times you used it wrong? For me, being such a literal person, I grew up having difficulty with words that sounded like they meant one obvious thing, when really they mean another. For instance, suffrage sounds like something I’d feel if my dogs got taken away. But it’s not. And homely sounds like something I’d be if I preferred to never leave the house, but to stay home and bake cupcakes all day. You know, a baking homebody. But it’s not. And don’t even get me started on all the whacked out words that we use under the money umbrella. Escrow still sounds like a bird to me.
Well, when I was sixteen, I participated in a mission trip to Brazil with a team of about 30 or so other teens. We all got to know each other for two weeks during training in Florida before embarking on our mission. One girl in particular, Hannah, became a good buddy of mine. At first she seemed to me to be a little quiet, maybe even sheltered; but she really came out of her shell in those two weeks. Before I knew it, we were dancing to the rally music in the evenings. That’s not something a reserved person would do.
So naturally, me and my big mouth had to tell her how my opinion of her had changed and how different she was to my first judgement.
I believe my words went something like this: “At first when I met you, I thought you were homely. But then after I got to know you and we were dancing…”
Would you believe that she never bat an eye? Not only did we remain good friends through the summer, she NEVER revisited that conversation! It was only when I heard someone else using the word homely that I realized its true meaning. I. Was. Horrified. I hadn’t called her sheltered! I had called her plain and ugly!
I promptly revisited this conversation with Hannah and she shrugged, laughed and admitted thinking that it was bizarre that my opinion of her attractiveness had changed when she was dancing, as we were all filthy and dripping in sweat.
(By the way, if you’ve been enjoying a post or two of Square Piece, look on the upper right sidebar on your screen. You should be able to enter your email address to subscribe and receive a notification every time that I publish a new post!)