vitriol (noun) :

harsh and angry words

1. a sulfate of any various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate

2. something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially : virulence of feeling or speech

(source Miriam-Webster Dictionary)

I once read a story in one of my favorite books about a girl who threw oil of vitriol on another girl because she was jealous of her beauty. Though the story is simply a side note in a much bigger story, it has always stuck with me. Yesterday, my gal Joules’ post had me thinking of that story again.

I often feel like the words and attitudes of people are like throwing oil of vitriol into each others faces.

Think about it-

For every look that judges when I use the motorized scooters while shopping, for every angry word yelled while driving, for every time we call one another fat, skinny, obese, ugly, fake, plastic, lazy, {insert derogatory phrase here}…

It costs us nothing to sling this vileness from our lips, but the damage it causes others is much like an acidic burn, though we can’t see the scars it leaves. And we each carry our own scars, yet still…the burns fly from our mouths with little to no thought.

I’m just as guilty as the next, though being continuously judged these last few years has had its impact on me. Still I catch myself casting a sideways glance, and hear the unsavory thoughts that pass through my mind. I’ve often said I don’t judge based on appearances, I judge on actions. But who am I to pass judgement? I don’t know another’s story until they share it with me, and even then, who am I to pass judgement?

I firmly believe we must be the change we wish to see in the world. It’s why I started Spoons 4 Spoonies, and why I agreed to be a contributing writer for How can I complain about the world without doing my part to change what I don’t like?

And so, I am challenging myself to be the change, to be the good I wish to see in others. I’m challenging myself to carry kindness in my heart. I want to be the kind of person who leads with compassion and understanding. I want to be an example for my son, to show him that it’s okay to be a gentle adult in what can be a harsh world.

And maybe, just maybe our kindness will soften the world, even if it’s just a little bit.

What change would you like to be? I challenge you to go after it. BE THAT CHANGE. I’m giving you the power, you can do it.


4 thoughts on “Vitriol

  1. I’m so inspired. I know that when I was younger, if someone pissed me off and they happened to be overweight, would I have thought to myself the “f” word? And not the one that rhymes with duck.
    I would hope not, but.. youth and all.

    1. We’ve all done it Tamara. I was a beanpole in my youth, and I had a horrible mouth on me. Even as recently as last week, I was less kind than I would like to admit. Which is why it was so important for me to write this. I need to hold myself accountable to be setting a better example. I want to see more compassion, therefore I must be compassionate.

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