Mind your adjectives

As a child, to me adjectives were just words

Used to qualify people and objects in the world

I thought adjectives had a purpose singular

To serve as vehicles of description- it did not occur

To me that adjectives could serve as instruments

Of bias, bigotry, and pronunciation of judgment

Some adjectives were obvious, others more nuanced

Around deep-seated prejudices, some seemed to dance 

In the real world they were labels that had been assigned 

By the privileged to those they considered inferior in their mind…

**

When I was naive, I used adjectives to adorn my language

To appear more erudite, or precocious for my age

I chose words carelessly,  oblivious that they were derived

From preconceived notions that I carried inside

I never even thought about the impact of my words

I thought anyway that I was insignificant in the world

**

As a newly minted physician I had to describe every day

People- their  behavior, their complaints, their pain in different ways

Unthinking, one day I called a patient hysterical

She was in the throes of delirium- a diagnosis clinical

I am grateful to my mentor for calling me out-

The word “hysterical” showed gender prejudice, no doubt

Moreover, it was judgmental and inaccurate

And did not help in treating her clinical state..

**

As the grip of social media gets stronger every day

Polarized opinions come to light in different ways

Filters disappear behind the cloak of the internet

Describing people/ things to those we have never met

Makes the use of stronger adjectives easier still

Without meaning to, our words can kill

Someone’s morale, pride or sentiments

Unknowingly, we could come across as vehement..

**

Wise men have said- you cannot take back words once spoken

(Or released into the world wide web, or for me, in a patient chart written)

Therefore a conscious effort I now make in my choice

Of adjectives, sometimes at the cost of losing my unique voice..

**

On a lighter note, my favorite adjective I shall share here

On social media, everything is “awesome”, but I do not care!

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