Friday, December 30, 2011

Boundaries and the Mills Brothers and Keeping Your Mouth Shut

Recently, someone said something to me that she shouldn’t have said.  It was a terrible thing to say.  I will never be able to get it out of my head.

I am so angry.  Now I am stuck knowing something I don’t want to know.

I get my feelings hurt easily.  I obsess over things that other people hardly notice.  It makes me leery about hanging out with people I don’t know very well.  I never know if they’re going to toss off some comment that will have me stewing for days.

Of course, this person isn’t a friend or an acquaintance.  She is my mother, and she is almost ninety-two, and she may or may not be suffering from some sort of dementia.  So I have to pretend I’m not angry and be all sweet and forgiving and good-daughterly about the whole thing.

It’s hard.

Words are powerful.  You can say you’re sorry, but you can’t unsay something. 

Part of what has always attracted me to the act of writing things down is a sense of the huge power of words, which is both wonderful and terrible all at once.  I love that words matter so much.  Writing well is a kind of hyper-carefulness.  I may not have the cleanest grout on the block, but I’m persnickety about words I put my name to.

As I’m writing, I’m listening to Pandora, and the Mills Brothers’ song “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” just came on.  (Really.  I swear to God.  Another thing I love about writing: if I pay attention, I can hear the Universe talking to me.)  One of the lines: “It’s better not to talk at all, is my advice.”


1 comment:

  1. Gina, I think this is the third or fourth time I've read this particular entry. It's a lesson to me (I'm a Big Mouth) but more than that it's beautiful writing and utterly personal and universal at the same time. And that opening sentence packs a punch.