Sunday, January 23, 2005

Regret, Dani

I'm sure that you are familiar with that feeling of walking out of a room and knowing deep inside, on the tip of your tongue, the insides of your lips, and the forefront of your very thoughts...that you have said the absolutely wrong thing. There is something so admirable about knowing what you have said was wrong even if after the fact.But like it or not, you have gone and done it, and for me that statement always ends in "again". I say admirable, only because I honestly believe if that I didn't have faith in the idea that the recognition of what you have done is half the battle in ensuring that maybe next time you may have a bit more tact than I would probably drown in a sea of unintentional comments that will forever plague my conscience. Ahh, tact, sometimes I think I lack it altogether but I would like to think that as I get older and with each "stick my foot in my own mouth experience" I am learning slowly how to keep my trap shut or in recent cases at least mindfully filtered.
What I regret in my life has never been a question of what I have or have not done. In the words of the great female vocalist Beth Orton, "What's the use in regret, its just things we haven't done yet." If you don't believe in that, good luck with pursuing optimism as a general disposition. However, when it comes to what you say there are so many levels of "what if I had said" and "what I can say now to fix it" that one might go truly crazy trying to contemplate them all. All I regret is having to always learn the hard way when it comes to what I should and should not say to persons. Humor that is not particularly appreciated, things they don't want me to share, and of course topics of discussion that I cant help to want and squeeze every juicy bit out of. Now, please do not take this as a sincere apology for my having said something less than appropriate in your presence, but please know that I probably would have taken it back if I could have.
I am not speaking of particularly venomous reproaches because I never seem to be capable of those. In fact, I think that I may be incapable of speaking to those I am angry at, much less approaching them with a slew of well executed verbal attacks. Nor, would I want to be endowed with such a gift. What it is that I regret is that I often make people uncomfortable when I am. If I say something crude it is usually because I am looking for an easy laugh in order to make myself feel at ease. If I hit someone "below the belt" with an unkind observation it is probably because I feel attacked by them and all I have is my limited wit in which to assault them back. Along those lines, so on and so forth.
While I am on the topic of speaking and its effect on others, I suppose it may be appropriate to take a moment and reflect on my experiences with Political Correctness. Like all things I only believe in it in moderation, and I often have a hard time trying to figure out how much is moderate in which crowd. I will be the first one to glare intently when the racial slur pops up... but the "c" word has decidedly been overtaken by woman as empowering or at least that is what the Vagina Monologues seem to drill into every young college girl's brain. Why is this? Better yet, How do I figure out what and what not to say? The answer is that I don't and no one can. I'd love to say that if I say something "off key" than I don't really care how those around me are reacting to it after the fact. But that would be lying. This is NOT insecurity. This is what being a sensitive person means. I know if I've said something wrong the moment it comes out by the look and or the movement of the person I am speaking with, but most of the time there is no way to judge what their reaction will be before that point. So I try to assume that they will be offended until I know them better and then test the water from there. The testing the water is where I back myself into rather unfortunate corners. I'm not saying that I cant talk to someone without being obscene, I just would rather not offend them with some of my views of the world and its people until I get to know them better. But once I do, I cant help but take the ice pick and drive right in. There you have it folks, my most unbecoming quality,point blank. So All I can do is accept it and try ( and I do try very hard) to correct said problem.
In conclusion I think that all we can really regret is words, outside of murder and the like. In the same vein words are also the worst way in which we can hurt others. But in most cases the opposite also holds true although this reversal can easily be forgotten. Words can mend, words can create,and words can develop and give new life to all sorts of relationships. Obvious, I know, but important nonetheless. So I give up regretting even those things which I shouldn't have been so free in spouting and move on to a cleaner happier world where I can speak as though every sentence is my first.

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