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  • David Cotti

Words are Powerful

I am the second oldest of five children. Born and raised in the beautiful city of San Jose, CA, where in the '80s and early '90s, it was red vs. blue, low lows, and great fucking music! Growing up in my family was, at best weird, but primarily FUBAR. Our household was a lord of the flies' situation that created an environment worthy of a million views on my favorite YouTube channel, Mr. Ballen's Strange, Dark & Mysterious!


We were the quintessential Hispanic Pentecostal family – going to church five times a week: twice on Sunday for early morning Sunday school and evening Sunday service; Tuesday was bible study; Wednesday was Royal Rangers - think of it as a religious alternative to the Boy Scouts; Friday evenings was youth night, where rehabilitated gang leaders would preach about the power of god and all of the miraculous blessings that have been bestowed upon them because they gave their lives to Jesus(!), which even at a young age felt too transactional for me. The overarching theme at church was that we would all, unequivocally and most certainly, burn in hell unless and only if we gave our lives to god. Let's not forget the almighty also needed ten percent of your yearly pre-taxed income.


My brothers and I constantly fought as if we were training for the UFC before the UFC was even a thing. I'm actually surprised that each of us made it to adulthood. During one of our battle royals, my older brother knocked out my younger brother's front tooth by stepping on his face - ouch! That tooth wasn't nearly ready to come out, so it took a while for that jank to grow back in. We were trained to solve interpersonal conflicts with violence at a very young age. That training soon became problematic because interpersonal conflicts were never in short supply. I'll never forget when my bio-dad broke a broomstick over my older brother's head the first time. Yes, that did happen one other time - damn! However, today is not about all of the shitty things that happened. I also have great memories from childhood - I just wanted to share a bit of flavor for what it was like growing up in the 408 before getting into the actual topic, "words carry power."


The year was 1985, and my uncle, who shall remain nameless, was visiting his sister - my mother. My uncle brought along his two daughters to this particular visit. In Cuban fashion, he began to boast about how brilliant his eldest daughter was and that she would eventually attend a great college - something that, up to that point, only one other person on my mother's side of the family accomplished. Boy, he was laying it on thick with how wonderful my older cousin was doing in school. He said something like, "she's getting straight A's, on the honor roll, the captain of the debate team, and she's on the brink of a new revolutionary cure for male pattern baldness!" OK, maybe he didn't say the bit about the debate team, but you get the point. But the only thing I understood was the excitement I felt. At that moment, I also wanted to be a part of the excitement. I, too, wanted to go to college! And mind you, I was about five years old at the time. So, as young and excited kids tend to do, I jumped into the convo headfirst. I said, "Tio (uncle in Spanish), Tio, I'm going to college too, just like Tio %$#% did at the University of Arizona!" Shiiiiit, my uncle looked hard at me and said, "You! What makes you think you could go to college? You're never going to college!"


I am unsure what could cause an adult to imprint that unwanted identity onto their five-year-old nephew. But I do have a few theories. 1) My uncle was upset and took his anger out on me because someone legitimately pissed in his Cheerios - like a lot of piss - the type horses produce. 2) The probing received by extraterrestrials affected his brain, causing him to shit all over the dreams of five-year-old children. Or 3) He was projecting his feelings about his sister (my mother) onto me. Either way, it took me decades to mentally work that unwanted identity out of my belief system. Throughout my academic experience, his words remained imprinted and attached to my self-image. My uncle's words became a constant ich in my head that required years of small academic wins to overcome.


The words we wield carry power that can build or destroy. Every one of us has the opportunity to impact the next generation profoundly. The question is, will that impact be productive or counter-productive? What self-image will we help foster in the lives of young children? I guess the story's true moral is - avoid extraterrestrials because you might end up shitting all over the dreams of five-year-old children. Stay calm, and never drink horse piss.

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9 Kommentare


MICHAEL GOLDBERG
MICHAEL GOLDBERG
30. Sept. 2023

Dave, you're a great writer and Kevin, love your commentary. Six months old and you're writing still reads fresh and insightful. Hard to stay positive in a competitive world. Seems like you never know when and where the "dig" will come from - sometimes the worst attack comes from those you trusted who betrayed you. Only thing you can do is believe in self/believe in God (same thing bc as you believe in God, he believes in you even if you dont). So hanging tough in a tough world is doable. But you truly have to believe without reservation. And God is open for all.

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David C
David C
01. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you for sharing your insights, Michael. I hope to see you on Ranch.

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Kevin Larsen
Kevin Larsen
17. März 2023

First off. The piss comment was classic. Well played. I completely agree that words are powerful and can have a lifelong effect, especially during childhood when our self-worth is often tied to the opinions and words of older generations. Your experience with your uncle's words imprinting on your self-image is unfortunately not unique. Children are very susceptible to the dark side of words, and if they haven't learned lessons of self-care and self-love, the impact of negative words can last a lifetime.

It's crucial that we train out self-image to create a triad state. By doing so, we can help others develop a healthy self-image that's resilient to negative words and experiences. As adults, we have the opportunity and responsibility…

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David Cotti
David Cotti
18. März 2023
Antwort an

Thank you for your insight. Could you please tell us more about the triad state?

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jeffd
17. März 2023

Brother thank you for this post. As you know, your words have always had a deep and powerful effect on me. I appreciate you!

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David Cotti
David Cotti
17. März 2023
Antwort an

I appreciate you, Brother!

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jeffd
17. März 2023

the BAY AREA! Story/King road, Alum Rock, Eastridge Mall...man San Jo is part of my soul...for better or for worse.


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David Cotti
David Cotti
17. März 2023
Antwort an

What you know about that Newberry's!?

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David Cotti
David Cotti
13. März 2023

Our church was named John 3:16. Those were some interesting times for me.

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