Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mincing words?



So, how does a person reconcile the elation of a great day with the total frustration of having someone pick apart your words?

Okay, I know that's just random, but here's a little explanation: Years ago, I would just say what I was thinking. I didn't take care that my language was precise or exact. My conversations were peppered with well-turned phrases and little idioms that rolled together to create a beautiful flow of verbal pictures. Then things changed and I tried to be clear about what I really meant with a sentence. "Today's the best day of my life!" became "Today is one of the best days I've had so far." My exuberance at everything became subdued and diminished and I began to really despair. It got to the point where I would take a sentence apart in my head several times before uttering a word aloud and what finally came out was clipped and devoid of any of the original brightness.

I found myself disliking the person I had become. Where was my chaos? Where was my freedom? Where was my love of words? They faded. Over time, some of that has come back and I am "recovering". Eventually I feel certain that I will regain even more of that spontaneous spill of words that I once had. And yet, there are times when someone I'm close to questions or tries to correct the things I say. And it pisses me off.

So, tonight I'm a little mad. Why? Because I had the nerve to say, "And you call yourself a vampire fan?" to my daughter. She jumped in with, "I never called myself that!" and proceeded to tell me that she likes them a little but she's not a fan or anything like that. Fine. You're not a fan. I'll try to forget the times you spent researching various vampire myths. I'll try to forget all the details you would tell me about Elizabeth of Bathory and Vlad the Impaler. Yeah, I'll just wipe that from my head. Someone please pass the brain scrubber so I can erase months and months of hearing all about vampires.

Yes, precise grammar is important to me. Proper spelling is important to me. But I don't like feeling like I have to be so damn careful with how I phrase things.

We talked about it. Actually, I told her that I didn't want her to take apart my words. I explained to her how it made me feel and that I don't like being so careful all the time. I also let her know that it's okay for her to want precision in her life, but that she needs to not force it on other people around her. Some people enjoy chaos and letting things roll off their tongues. While I understand the need to speak concisely at times (and with some people almost all the time), I chafe under the weight of it.

I think she understands. I hope she understands. If she's going to be dealing with unique people for the rest of her life, she needs to understand.

We'll see how it pans out the next time it happens.