Wednesday, March 10, 2010

4. Be Quiet

Seriously, for the love of Pete wouldja just shut-up for a minute or two already?

Do you have any idea what you have just missed, what has sailed right on past you because you were so busy yapping or thinking about what you were going to say or being reminded about something that you could add...

...or even worse, has something awful, or private, or simply unnecessary about another person just slipped from your lips?

What critical thoughts, ungenerous even if true, are you putting words on and letting out into the open, about a friend no less?

Your mouth and your words cannot be too guarded when it comes to friendship. Trust me, I am perfectly aware of the concept "you are as sick as your secrets" and I agree that if you are having difficulties in a relationship that it really ought to be talked out, and some things really do need to be said. In the right forum. Carefully. And I bet you know what I am talking about when I say that most of this stuff is NOT discussed in the right forum. So shut that mouth. Quick!

Now, most all of y'all know me, I have lived a full life and have interesting stories to tell... and I like to tell them. But last year I had something interesting happen to me, a sort of epiphany I s'pose. I was at a family gathering for Dadguy's side and one of his cousins is a cop. A county deputy type I think, and let me tell you, this woman has paid and paid to be where she is. There is a pretty serious Good Ole Boy network in law enforcement in the county where she lives and works, and that network kept her working jail detail for years longer than her male peers. She has to be tougher and harder and smarter than everyone else to be where she is. And like any cop she has stories to tell, stories that normal people listen to with their mouths wide open. Only I was in there "swapping" stories with her, from my junkie days, but it was on the way home from that family picnic that i realized what had really just happened.

I had blown it.

Here was this amazing opportunity to shut my mouth and listen to stories, the likes of which can be told by so very few mouths on this planet. Stories from someone who doesn't tell them often. I was so happy to get in there and yapyapyap, that I used up valuable time that could have been spent quietly. What tales did I miss in my zeal to Share My Great Stories?

I am still kicking myself. To be frank, when I look back on it I still just shake my head at myself and say "Sheesh, what an shmoe I am!" But at least I am a shmoe with a lesson that I (hopefully) won't need to re-learn too many more times. Learn from my shmoe-dom.

Sure, not everyone has amazing County Sherriff Deputy Type stories to tell, but they do have words and stories that only they can give voice to. If you let them. If there is enough space that is not filled up with this need you have to fill every nook of silence with your own self-ity-self.

Shhhhhhhhh. Be quiet.


elizasmom said...

This, to me, connects very much with the Here I AM/ There you ARE lesson you shared a few days ago. And with be aware. I have a friend who was being emotionally abused in her marriage and I didn't realize it until years later. I've left lousy about it since I found out because I realize now that the signs were there. She tries to make me feel better by saying that she didn't tell me. And yeah, she didn't TELL me, but I could've heard her nonetheless if I'd shut up not just with my mouth, but with my head.

bon said...

I am with your friend on giving you a free pass on that one AM. As a woman who has been in your friends' shoes, I spent a good chunk of energy and all of my acting skill keeping the truth of what was happening away from anyone who I felt cared about me. That you were her friend during AND after, even though you may not have known what was going on? Tells me you were a good friend.

Sometimes a little fiction means survival.

Mama D said...

Um... yeah. This one hits home for me. I HAVE to do this more. Seriously. I have to. I have this desire to entertain people. At work that is what I do. Part of the reason some people come to me is because they enjoy my stories and what I have to say. But when really encourage them to talk so I can listen to is when we really connect.