A Cathedral of Ants

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about how I speak and how I act, who I am as a person and the things I’ve said to others over the course of my life.

In some countryside, standing proudly beneath an old farm house, built before the people in it were born, built when the dustbowl was raging, built in a time that the generation before me sometimes refer to as a “simpler time” lies an anthill.

This anthill has survived for centuries, through queen after queen.

Although, Queen can sometimes be misinterpreted. In human life, a queen rules and makes decisions regarding the status and the safety of her people.

However, A Queen Ant doesn’t have much say in the activities of her workers. She, rather, sits in the center of the maze and is used to produce more and more ants so that more and more dirt is moved, more food is found, and more ants are made.

In this aspect, there is a Queen, (Or King, for the sensitive) ant inside of your mind.

See, an ant colony is built meticulously, and despite the time it takes to do things perfectly to humans, ants can do this in a fraction of the time, developing cathedrals across the world, building homes for themselves to continue about their business as mindlessly as ever, picking up one small stone or fractured piece of dirt, driftwood or what have you to bring back and fortify the chapel, to deliver food to the queen and the other workers. Though, unlike us, they have no lunch time. They eat when the world allows them to. They live in a day to day course of venturing, delivering, and continuing their course.

I found this particularly interesting, given how many similarities we share with ants when it comes to the words that we say.

Often I find myself speaking mindlessly about something, it may be a topic I have extensive knowledge upon, it may be an idea I wish to learn, it may be something I’ve heard and I want to share. This is an especially terrible action to set my ants upon, because if I speak words which hold no truth, it will not matter to the ant colony. They will deliver it into the ears of another and the idea will root within their minds.

We must be careful in how we use our words, we must be mindful of how we speak to one another.

Once the words leave our minds they are as ants. Small morsels of gossip that are brought to the minds of other hungry colonies, begging for something to take them away from the dull monotony of their minds.

I would be lying to you if I were to say that I was always exciting, or interesting. I am a simple creature with complex ideas, nothing more and nothing less. The idea that I would chase something painful often springs to the tongues of others. I think, in one regard, gossip finds its way to our ears and out of our mouths because we can’t understand others.

Obviously, there is the popular thought that gossip is spread because of jealousy. This is true in some cases even. I once heard that I had an STD (Even though I was a virgin.) and that women should be careful around me.

Obviously, the gossip couldn’t have been started because someone was jealous about how much action I was getting, I wasn’t getting any. I wasn’t even really thinking about that.

Of course, I don’t know the truth behind that small line. It could have been a simple message mutated down a seemingly endless line of other ants that eventually reached my ears and was entirely different from the initial comment.

This cements my thoughts on this subject even further. We have an immense power within our words. We say things that can uplift another’s soul, or we have the power to utterly destroy them with words alone.

I haven’t spoken much about reputation on this blog, because I never felt as if it was important, but I have come to see things a bit differently.

My stance hasn’t changed, my reputation doesn’t matter much, because those with harsh words hell bent on my soul will likely never reach me, those that do will slide between rows of ants I have sent out to adjust my own thoughts. Of course, this is a dual edged blade. You can see me for who I am by simply reading this blog. I have published the good and the bad, left and right on this blog. Those who have read from the beginning up until today have been with me through four years of good and bad, four years of lessons learned and victories celebrated. They have read about my dances with everything that may have been the death of me.

I say this knowing, however, that the whole world does not have an outlet or a place to vent as I do. I know this, and it only further proves to me how important it is that we select our words carefully.

According to my faith, gossip is considered something to avoid. Saying that the human tongue is evil and full of deadly poison.  I am sure, though I haven’t looked, that other religions and simple moral compass guidance would say that it is not wholesome as well. It is not something to be looked upon with glee and it is not something to be proud of, but, if that is the case, why do we still seek out the gossip and the misinformation in the world?

Because it is easy.

It is much easier, to say that we know someone, or to spread something vital about the life of another, than it is to accept that someone would be willing to trust us with something dear to them, or something frightening to them.

It is easy to tell your friends that Karen is pregnant, it is difficult to tell them that her life is not their business.

Of course, gossip doesn’t come only in the form of spreading truth that wasn’t meant to be spread. It comes from lies slipping over the stone barrier and poisoning the well.

One by one, with everything we whisper to one another, ants will crawl from deep within our throat carrying these tiny stones of information, true or likewise, and deposit them over the edge of the well. Deep below, a sound so faint we may never hear it, the pebbles splash in the water and it begins to turn black.

See, I have been witness to and spread much gossip over the course of my life. There are things that feel so important that I can’t wait to share them with someone. This is the problem, with these cathedrals full of ants. They are autonomous. They act without notion. There is no billboard that orders them to carry your words. You simply speak and they do their duty, in subtle, stoic service to their Queen, resting on her throne, meant for breeding more division, more pain, more untruth.

Consider the abilities of this colony. In the midst of a flood, did you know that ants bind together and are capable of floating? They link their legs together in formation and float atop the flowing water.

This is not the only attribute granted to these tiny cities beneath our heavy feet and heavy hearts. If you remember biology class, or any science class in elementary school you may remember that ants have super strength. They can lift up to three times their own weight. Communication through chemicals and an overwhelmingly powerful hive mind are just a number of things that leave me in awe about the intricacies of ants, and in the same way…

The things that we say.

We may not consider the weight of our words, but they can carry much more than we anticipate. I realied this as I was speaking with someone the other day, making jokes as I do, and I hurt their feelings making a comment that wouldn’t have harmed me at all. I didn’t’ realize the punchline of the joke directly attacked them, and so I sent it off with a pack of ants into their minds.

We have a responsibility to be better with what we say, who we speak to and where our ants go. The longer we spend poisoning the wells around us, the farther we will have to travel to find clean water and a refreshing break from the gossip that permeates everything around us with every tiny slip of the tongue.

I have heard much gossip about who I am as a person, I have even spread my own about others. I have mistreated the ant colonies around the globe, and I am here to ask forgiveness publicly for those who I have effected by what I have said, know that I am apologizing for what I have said through the messages my ants carried.

We are meant to do better. So let us do better. I will keep untruth from my tongue. When trusted in confidence towards another’s secrets, I will keep them. The colony within my mind will spill out with only encouragement and love as often as I can. The unnecessary things we say will rip apart everything we have been building, it will bleed hot mercury into our colonies and it will eventually be our undoing. I forgive you, for the gossip you may have spread, whoever you are, wherever you are. It is okay. I forgive you.

you can’t get enough of the blog, right? Right? Well, good news! I have the updated compilations coming out on Amazon over the course of this week. The First Volume is available now + Volume Two will be out in a few days!

If you grab the book, maybe you want a cool way to rep the message? If so, I have a shirt available on Teespring. Go cop some sweet, happy, inspirational shirts or hoodies for your grandmother for Christmas. She’ll be down for sure.

Looking for more? Check out my website for updates on upcoming projects and action I’ve been putting down behind the scenes. Youtube is seeing weekly updates, I have four big projects due out next year and there will be more poetry on the way.

Life is not meant to be awful, friends.

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