For the love of all that is uttered, why do I say some of the things I say?
It’s one thing to say stupid stuff to my kids like “we don’t pick our noses,” which is a bold-face lie and stupid, because what do you think I do in the car the second I get a moment to myself? Yes, I’m a picker; we can discuss that later.
I also told my husband that I love his cream-colored Henley from circa 1990. Again, a bold-face lie and stupid, because I am the one who’s going to have to stare at it until the next time he purges his closet.
But yesterday I found myself saying something to someone that was not true, helpful, or entertaining. My friend is going through a break-up– the kind that requires her to move out and furnish a new apartment on her own. Even self-centered old me can imagine that is a daunting and emotional task. When I asked her how it was going, she told me how she is focusing on the bright side and that she’s excited about her new furniture.
Here’s one stupid-weird I said: “God, I can’t wait until the day I can furnish a place by myself.”
Um, what? What does that mean exactly? I can’t wait until I go through a break up? I can’t wait to cut Jeff out of the process of furniture buying? I can’t wait to be alone?
As those words came out of my mouth I felt like I was saying, “I am so jealous of your break-up. You’re so lucky.”
Back the hell up, Outlaw Mama. I wanted to be there for my friend. I wanted her to know I had her back. I wanted to say something encouraging about how proud I am of her and about how much (many?) emotional cojones she has. Somehow that all got twisted up in my brain and came out as me saying something like I can’t wait to have another slice of break-up cobbler.
When I heard myself say that I decided to listen a little more to myself.
Turns out I say stupid shizz all the time–mostly because I can’t handle silence or the prospect of not having something sage and ameliorative to say to people I love who are in tough spots. When I catch myself saying something like this, it reminds me of all the other times I said things that were wildly inappropriate. Such as:
- The time I told my thesis advisor that when she asked us to read her work in class, I thought it was a real “Norman Mailer move.” Ya’ll, not every lesbian cultural & queen studies scholar wants to hear that she’s like the arch-misogynist, Normal Mailer.
- The afternoon told my super religious Southern Baptist Grandma that I wasn’t sure that I had fully taken Jesus into my heart.
- When I told my friend who was hot that “maybe it was menopause,” even though she was only 45, but extremely touchy about her age. (It turned out to be flu, so I should have kept my mouth shut.)
- When my 44-year old boss showed me his wedding pictures, I couldn’t think of anything to say except, “I guess if you can find love, anyone can.”
Luckily, most of the people I’ve said stupid stuff to have been graceful and gracious, except for my Grandma who marched me to the Forreston Baptist Church to discuss my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Other than that, people seem to be extraordinarily forgiving of my mouth, which runs without my permission.
Still, it would be nice if I didn’t have to depend on other people’s social skills since my own are still so . . . weak.