Words are my life. Period. Throughout every facet of my being, I believe in the power of expression through the basic ability to transform thoughts into action through words. They are the concealed weapon that has sustained me through puberty, adolescence and adulthood. Words have been my starting point, my journey and my destination. From 5th Grade Spelling Bee Champ to Junior High School, where I was dragged into the fabric store with my materialistic sisters, I began to carry a notebook and write down my frustrations. I crafted stories of monsters, holding me against my will under a ream of fabric and threatening to kill me with knitting needles because I wouldn’t embrace their ruffled and plaid philosophies. As an adult, my own words have comforted me through my first love, the joy of motherhood, the pain of divorce and aging parents. I’ve always been able to put pen to paper to find an indescribable peace which has served as poetic justice to me in times of desperation. No matter what needed to be said, or how it needed to be delivered, I could do it, with ease, gratitude and finesse. My diverse careers in Management, Operations and Radio, all were dependent upon me having a strong delivery, an oral presence and conversational speech. Done. Regardless of my small frame and unassuming presence, I had a voice to be reckoned with, and it was a good thing. Ten years left to retirement and the freedom to choose what I want to do versus what I have to do, and I am faced with a dilemma. Speaking to hundreds of people daily, making decisions for them in a crisis, and still in training, I am told that I need to tone it down. “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” trainer boy says, and I am crushed. It isn’t because I am being told that I have to make a change, but because I am being attacked by the venom that I am made of, and there are no words to fight back.