The past few weeks I have been thinking about the English language, and how many times people use pronouns in their everyday lives. Everything I say, everything I write…hell, everything I think is dominated by their presence. Even, this writing is filled to the brim with pronouns. They are what hold our thoughts together.
Last night, my mind floated across each of these words one by one, grouping them by their meanings and relationships. They all fit together one way or another. I and me focus on my own story and feelings, like when I write about my childhood. Them and they are used when I tell a tale of people who live only inside my head. You is often accusatory, and him or her are just substitutes for characters. Yet, out of all the pronouns, two stand out to me as having more meaning: we and us.
All my best memories begin with a we. We destroyed an abusive jerk’s car after he hurt my friend. We danced under a clear moonlit sky our last night together. We built a fort out of cardboard and scrap metal to smoke weed away from prying eyes. We is a shared adventure, or a treasured experience. I live in the memory of we.
Along with we, often there is an us. An us is a we with more feeling, more emotion. You have to make an us. Us is my family. Us is my best friend and me. Us comes from work and time. An us is love and the ability to open yourself up to pain. That’s where my best stories come from…somewhere between we and us. I hope you feel that too.
©2019 Nancy Lehmann