I screwed up.
My mother and I were talking today about how easy it is for us to be hurtful with words, and how we sometimes have to apologize for comments or “jokes” that have slipped out inappropriately. Mama told me she sometimes hopes that, if she were to get sick, she would contract an illness affecting her tongue so she could know for sure she was incapable of hurting people with her words. I was taken aback by the example, but at the same time I understood completely, especially in light of an experience I had today.
Generally, I like to think I’m pretty good with words. I love to write, I consider myself pretty articulate, and good conversations really excite me. But lately, I have been feeling that “I-wish-my-tongue-would-just-rot-out-of-my-head” feeling, as I find myself being incredibly hurtful to the people I care most about, including, at the moment, C. I am in that joyful early stage of a new relationship with C, where butterflies and endless late night conversations abound and the slightest brush of our skin sends giddy chills down my spine. Yet, the inevitable insecurity that goes along with the awkwardness of anything new has led me to say some really hurtful things. I made a comment today under the guise of humor that wound up really hurting C, to the point that we spent the remainder of our day at the beach in near-silence. We have since resolved the issue, but it made me wonder: Why is it so easy for me to allow myself to be ruled by my insecurities, liberally distributing criticism, judgment and other deprecating language? What I really want to say to C is how in awe of him I am; first of all, I look at him and wonder how someone could be so handsome. Beyond that, he has found his passion and actively pursued it, and is habitually open-minded and interested in learning. He is not boastful, nor is he distracted by material things. Most importantly, though, I feel great when I’m around him. But, the combination of advice from girlfriends (“Don’t be too available!” “Make him work for your affection!” etc, etc) and the remnants of the scathing humor that often defined my last relationship have made it all to easy to be downright rude because, hey, its safer than showing how you really feel.
But I need to stop. I’ve been really working on judging less, but its time to pair that with loving more. it’s time to muster up the confidence to be loving and say what I want to say without worrying about being too available or whatever else my friends advise me to do. Luckily, knowing I’ve hurt someone is enough for me to do whatever I can to ensure I don’t hurt them again, but hopefully I haven’t done any permanent damage…