What’s the most foolish thing you’ve ever said?
I started saying foolish things early, and it wasn’t entirely my fault. I regularly told people I had the milkman’s ass before I had any idea of what that meant because that is what my mother told me I had. And who doesn’t believe their mother. When my high school English teacher invited the class to offer names for her new VW bug, I mentioned it at dinner that night, and my father suggested she call it S.O.B. because she was going to sooner or later. So I raised my hand the next day and stood up, because that’s what we did when we were called on in class, and told her, my very proper teacher at my very proper girls’ school, what Dad said. You could feel the temperature drop in the room. I also repeated a few ditties my brother taught me which I will not pass on here. Okay, okay, just one: Beans! Beans! The musical fruit! The more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!
It turns out I’m terribly naive and hopelessly trusting. I had no idea what I was saying or why it got the reactions it did.
I’m older and wiser now. I know what it means to put your foot in it.
Sadly, knowing has not been enough to keep my foot from going in: foolish words still find their way out of my mouth.
The point of this, shall I say, self-expose, is that we are responsible for the effect of our words. If we have done damage with them, we are as liable of thievery as any other robber of goods. We take away self-esteem, trust, hope, love.
As powerful as is our capacity to hurt, we are capable of, if not healing the wounds our words cause, offering a balm that may be the beginning of restoration.
Say it. Say you’re sorry, say you were foolish, say you didn’t know what you were thinking, say you would take it back if you could even though you know you cannot. Not expecting that you will be forgiven. Only honestly hoping what you give with your words will make some difference.