Why Can’t I Keep my Mouth Shut?

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a bad-ass flower, a zinnia, as she wonders, Why can't I keep my mouth shut?We’re all better off if I say nothing this week. Because these days, too many of my truest feelings and worst thoughts keep slipping out of my mouth. No, they tumble out of my mouth and flatten everyone within earshot. My most bold opinions come spewing out of me like semi-automatic gunfire. And people don’t usually react well to this.

I don’t know if this crankiness and loss of control is because of all the rain, the heat, my advanced age, the current political turmoil, or possibly just boredom from my new diet of chard and fish—but lately I seem to have zero ability to hold my tongue. At unexpected times I feel compelled to speak what’s in my mind. And I’m a stick of dynamite with a short fuse, a walking time bomb that could explode if you say the wrong thing.

Why can’t I keep my mouth shut? In the past, I was always the wishy-washy one, the one who wouldn’t take a stand, couldn’t make a decision. Teachers and friends used to beg me to speak up and be more assertive. And now, I have no patience for others’ cruelty, stupidity, or anything that does not comply with what I perceive as the truth. At the first inkling of discomfort, I’m likely to spout out,

Hey, life’s too short, and Hey, I don’t have to swallow any nonsense anymore. I’m one tough bitch with a dead daughter. So don’t mess with my head.

Photographing flowers calms me down, helps me to see sense. But there was nothing quiet about this brazen-faced zinnia. In a week-old bouquet, it still blazed brilliant among the shriveled-up blooms surrounding it. Another bad-ass flower. Sassy. Like the daughter I’m missing. Yow, back in her times I would be crushed to the pulp whenever she unloaded what she had to say.

 

What gets your goat? Or gets you to verbally attack the ones you love most?

 

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6 thoughts on “Why Can’t I Keep my Mouth Shut?

  1. RUTH W HOWELL

    Oh my dead daughter would definitely be cheering me on with my newly acquired less than pleasant & non-complacent voice. Life is too short and I’m so tired of watching what I say to people when they don’t seem to take care with what they say to me. Recently had some peeps look at me askance and wonder aloud what’s come over me. I’ll tell you sister, my bullshit meter has reached it’s all time low is what!

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yow, I wish I could say things the way you say them, Ruth. You manage to get straight to the point without wasting words or sentiments. Exactly how I feel, only I’m a wimp and my bullshit meter needs constant charging. I imagine our dead daughters are laughing their heads off at my meager efforts here.

      Reply
  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    I’ve been working at restraining that impulse, Robin. My sister and I see each other A LOT and know just the right thing to say to piss each other off, but I notice we are both trying hard to have more patience these days–perhaps because we know how much we need and value each other. Take a deep breath and get off that restrictive diet! Eating healthy food is good, but it should also be food you can enjoy.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Oh, well, sisters! Perfect place where the words fly out like daggers. OMG, talking about control when it comes to sisters? Yikes. Gonna get back to my fresh Fish Truck haddock and chard that gets personally picked daily. I promise that I AM enjoying this, simply feeling the charge of freshest fish and leaves puts a smile on my face. But I do go to the freezer afterwards for the tiniest ramekin of Valrhona chocolate pot de creme with kahlua. So I’m not depriving myself. Cheers, Lynne.

      Reply
  3. Lucy Bergstrom

    Ha! Another example of you becoming more like Marika. I know a couple of people who unload their criticism “raw and unsweetened” (a Danish expression) and they say, “It felt SO good to get that off my chest!” They walk away whistling while the recipient of their bile is left quivering. It takes fortitude to stay in a marriage or a friendship with a person like that. Or – as someone in Ithaca once said, “Before you get all bent out of shape about a rude waitress, consider that she might have two-year old twins with tantrums.”

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Good advice, Lucy. And I’m really trying. Must be that I’m short of sleep some days or just plain cranky, and that makes it harder to keep myself contained. Yes, Marika really knew how to change the atmosphere in just a few short words. But somehow everybody loved her even so and yet when I open my mouth I get in major trouble with everyone around. Ugh. I think I will set an intention for this new month: before uttering a word, consider the rude waitress who might have tantrumming twins at home. I am absolutely struck by the image that forms in my mind every time I think of that poor woman. Cheers, Luce.

      Reply

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