“There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together”


I think I may be losing my touch, literally and figuratively. First off, back in the day (when I was a practicing psychotherapist) I paid some attention as I chose my words. I also stayed pretty focused on the other person. Twice now, in recent months, while my editor is what- sleeping? checking into senior housing? I’ve let words come out that, upon reflection, left me wishing I’d bit my tongue off instead.

The first time, I got into sort of a hurt feeling pissing match with a friend but the point is, she was and is again, one of my very dearest friends. Many years, book club, travel together, all of that. Someone I really love. But life got in the way and with no other excuse than that, I hurt her feelings deeply. The worst part was that for a number of weeks, I didn’t even get it and felt like I was the one entitled to be all hurt. Nursing that along, you know, while I was busy pushing away reflections on my culpability. About the time you start scoring points in your head for what was said, what wasn’t said, who has bigger worries, who is more entitled to their hurt- well, that’s just so much crap and excuse and doesn’t fly with real friendship. I love this woman and we pushed our way through it. The pain we each felt before that happened and the relief we have felt since reminds me daily of how lucky I am to have such a friend. It also reminds me that, in fact, I have a number of them, and I should be very careful about protecting such valuable gifts.

Then yesterday, in a much more benign but still insensitive and thoughtless way, I left a sort of cynical-trying-to-be-funny remark on a friend’s facebook post. It had nothing to do with what was going on with her and was totally glib and stupid. I felt crummy about that, big time. I really really don’t want to become an inconsiderate klutz with me at the center of my world. That would be lonely, dreary and a major bore.

Later in the afternoon, Rich and I went out to celebrate our anniversary; we saw a fun action film and then went to a quiet romantic dinner in Gulfport. Over dinner we talked about the evolution of our relationship and our love, the kids-always the kids, how they are growing and what we hope and wish for them. We reflected on all their strengths and the things that cause them to stumble and then we got back to remembering our life as children and the things that shaped our personalities. Rich asked me if I had always been a person who enjoyed such good friendships and communicated so comfortably with others. I hadn’t discussed any of the first part of this post with him at anytime; he was making an observation based on our company dinner the night before and then a visit from a new friend in the morning. I felt sort of smacked by his question and recalled a childhood where, absolutely, children were to be seen (if it was not possible to hide them) and never heard. And later, a childhood that had relatively little to do with the children and everything to do with how the grownups were feeling or behaving. And an adolescence of total geekiness-awkward and clumsy and shy. That persisted through my first few years of college away from home and then, I sort of changed. Although I’m still more shy than people think.

I’m not sure what changes people, even after so many years of trying to help people change- their approach, their perspectives, their responses. I think that probably becoming a mother changed me the most and secondly, becoming a therapist. Becoming Rich’s wife fairly late in life has changed me in the way that feeling solidly and securely loved and in love increases your patience, your tolerance, calms you down.

And finally, last night I was trying to knit on a lace shawl I started with baby fine mohair as fine as a hair on your head. This is utter madness. I probably won’t live long enough even if my right hand wasn’t screaming at me with tendonitis and yet it’s so beautiful, knit up. I went to make a scrabble move against friend, Kenju, and my right finger yowled. So I typed in a google search for tendonitis and found the usual hysterical bulletin board type responses where people had achieved effective relief after 8 years of agonizing pain with cervical spine fusion and lots of oxycodone. I suspect the cure for me is a closer check on my words, written on Facebook and spoken aloud and this may be Somebody’s way of poking me about becoming lazy, thoughtless and self- indulgent. Or, it’s just the goddamn lace.lace


17 responses to ““There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together”

  1. I ❤ you, Vicki. Please keep knitting. I LOVE fine mohair. I have a couple pounds of it dyed with english walnut hulls. Gonna have a fine shawl for fall I hope.

  2. That inner editor sometimes falls down on the job. It’s always a bummer when that happens. Loving friends who really love, can forgive and still love you. That’s one of the sweet things about deep friendships, they can endure the occasional malfunctioning editor.

    I leave comments on blogs and facebook that often make me cringe afterward. It’s amazing how much regret I live with on a daily basis.

  3. “It’s amazing how much regret I live with on a daily basis.” Laughing still after several minutes. This may be one of the best comments ever.

  4. Don’t ever go on Topamax. The things that come flying out of your mouth and off your fingers when you are typing!!! whooooooooo boy! That’s when you can remember the words you actually wanted…

    What restaurant in Golfport? 🙂

    Again, Happy Anniversary to the both of you. What a lovely and reflective post about friendship and love and life. Oh how I wish my brain were capable of such reflections anymore… But that would probably require being off this med. heh…

  5. My prescription… for the tendonitis…. anti-inflammatory medication… Advil or Aleve… and perhaps gloves… those elastic gloves with the finger tips cut out. They really helped me when I was smocking and the small fine motor functions were going nuts with tendonitis.

    As to words, I do believe our tongues and therefore our words do more to cause pain than any other torture device. We have this place in our brain that takes our thoughts and organizes and filters and gives us a hint as to whether or not we should let the words out of the mouth. Most of the time it works great… but everyone has those moments when it seems the thought bypasses the stopgap area and simply comes flying out the mouth or off the fingers. When it happens… we hurt someone, we hurt ourselves.. but hopefully we learn… and grow. Just think of it as a time of growth…

    Oh.. and happy anniversary!

  6. I should have read the comments above.. someone else knows about that secret brain place… so I will just relate one of my… breakdown of filter moments. This must be prefaced with the fact that in this case.. I really felt no guilt at all… you had to know my ex to know why.

    My EX had a pilot’s license and a small Czesna 150 trainer plane.
    He was in Dallas, I was in Mississippi.
    He had been to an Eastern Meditation retreat where he learned to chant and where some were trying to learn to levitate. He described this to me in detail in one of those irritable bowl causing calls he inflicted on me at times.
    With this in mind, the conversation went…
    EX: “Wow, I learned so much at the retreat!”
    Me: “Mmmmm”
    EX: “Yes, it was quite good. Then yesterday, I went flying with my meditation instructor!”
    Me: “With or Without the airplane!!!! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! (hysterical laughter over the phone)
    EX: smoke coming through receiver
    Me:Mmmm, sorry.

    But I really wasn’t. Not in that instance.
    So, this was probably not a really good example of the menace of the failed filter…. just a fun one.

  7. What a lovely apology. I hope that your friend accepts it and understands.

  8. I had to smile about Robin Andrea’s quote… So very true.

    Hang in there, Vicki, and continue with the mohair lace project. You can always bring it to the cottage later this summer. I’m certain someone can get you nine inches in a hurry!!! 🙂

  9. Whose nine inches???!!!

    Vicki, I cannot imagine you ever offending anyone. That’s been my thing for years. In my attempts to be funny, I offend without realizing it. I (like Robin) live with regret…. for things not spoken as well as blurted out in moments of sheer stupidity. I hope you and she are all better now.

    Sorry to be the cause (through Scrabble) of your pain.

  10. Seeing Amy’s comment I SO wanted to jump in with some inappropriate thing of my own. I’m glad Kenju beat me to the punch! LOL!!!

  11. amarkonmywall

    Hah! ‘Nine inches’ is a BCMA line because Kristen, when asked how close she was to finishing a project said, “nine inches” and then turned to Audrey, the club speed knitter and asked, “How fast can you get me nine inches?” And, of course, that struck certain people as funny. Go figure.

  12. I’ve noticed people invariable forget hurt feelings eventually if you feed them enough sugar. Captain Crunch, anyone?

  13. As someone who goes around half the time with her foot in her mouth, I think that taking the high road and apologizing is always the best thing. Though I have apologized to people ALOT for offending them only to find out they had no clue what I was talking about. Then, you should see me backpeddle with both feet in my mouth. But, at least I can sleep at night. Most nights, anyway. That yarn looks a little scarey. What are you going to do with a fuzzy scarf? I think you should beat it into submission and felt it.

  14. I do like FB comments because I can go back and remove them. I left one on Older Daughter’s Facebook that was a little TOO personal, so I deleted it. Blog comments are a bit more problematic. My mouth runs away with me sometimes, but teaching school has made me VERY controlled. Otherwise, I could have lost my job decades ago!! In my personal life, I have put both feet in my mouth at times…

  15. “The worst part was that for a number of weeks, I didn’t even get it and felt like I was the one entitled to be all hurt. Nursing that along, you know, while I was busy pushing away reflections on my culpability.”

    This made me reflect on my own damn self. I hate it when you make me think.

    Kidding. I love it when you make me think. xoxo

  16. Dang, I missed your progeny again. NOMO opened the Top of the Park summer festival here in Ann Arbor on Friday. They’re a group I’ve been trying to catch for years, but life happens and I missed them again.

    Glad Bud is doing better. I had no idea that you could bond with cats like that.

    I’ve been trying to get my father to sign up for Facebook, as we have several family members in the group. But he read some story how a hacker stole someone’s Facebook identity, then posted an urgent request for money, to which at least one person generously responded–wiring money overseas to the scammer. So my dad says he is going to wait a while before Facebooking.

  17. I thought SRP’s response was really clever and a clear LOL moment.

    Glad you sorted things out and sorry that your tendons have itis.

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