Month: June 2015

I’m sorry. I’m stupid.

Once upon a time I made what I had NO IDEA was a stupid, hurtful comment to a struggling friend. She was telling me of a newly-discovered battle she was choosing to keep private – a diagnosis of a child on the autism spectrum. I said what I thought were the right (supportive) things, and then I said something idiotic about her choice not to “wave the flag” about her kid’s diagnosis.

— Here is why I said that. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are fighting remarkable battles every moment with special-needs kids, and I applaud their parenting AND I LOVE THEIR KIDS. Having said so – I have occasionally heard acquaintances speak about their children with special needs as the need: Like, “I have my hands full with this CONDITION who also happens to be my child.” I am a huge supporter of parents who advocate for their kids, and an even more huge supporter of those who help their kids advocate for themselves. Something hurts me when a person is placed behind a diagnosis, as  opposed to the other way around. I think the human being should come first, is all.

Now, I know that what I said hurt this friend. I didn’t know it for a long time. Naturally, as soon as I realized that I had been stupid, I apologized. I recognize that what I meant and what she heard were at vast odds, and that it may have driven a fatal wedge in our relationship. I do not fault her for this in any way. I was stupid. I said something vague where (hello) even if I’d been specific, it would not have been useful or helpful. I caused hurt. The fact that I didn’t mean to? Not relevant. The fact that I apologized? Not enough. I am not here to try to fix all the dumb I’ve been responsible for in my long, long life of dumb. I am here to say that sometimes I say things that are categorically stupid, and that when I offend I am sorry. I try to keep the stupid to a minimum. I really do.

This is an event that I think about on an almost daily basis. It happened YEARS ago. The thing is, I deserve to think about it. I deserve to have it on my mind. That bad decision I made might make me slightly less stupid in future discussions of that sort (or of any sort – thoughts about that mistake enter my mind in nearly every critical conversation I have). And I think it helps me choose to take offense less often than I might, because I consider that when someone I love (or like, or simply don’t despise) says something stabby or hurtful, I can – from personal experience – choose to assume that what I hear isn’t necessarily what he meant to say.

 

Nourish and Flex

My words for the summer: Nourish and Flex.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually. This is what I want for me this summer. Nourishment and Flexion.

I want to nourish me, but I also want to nourish other people. Specifically the ones who live in my house, but also other ones. A friend of Kid 2’s came for Taco Tuesday last week, and it was fun to hang – all of us – around the table for an entire hour for a dinner that could have been eaten in fifteen minutes. It was nourishing to eat the food (he told me I make the best tacos in the world, and Kid 3 laughed at him and said, “You make the taco,” and she was totally right), but it was maybe more nourishing to tell the stories and to laugh together and to Be There.

I need to recommit to being flexible. This is a thing I have previously used to define myself, and somehow I’ve lost the ability to bend in some of the ways. So I’m giving it another try, out loud, here and in my heart.