There is a lot I’ve left unsaid- about India, about being back, about feeling outofplace and belonging at the same time, about realising what makes me happy, about loneliness, about hipstertown, about careers. There’s a lot I’ve left unsaid because I’m not sure I have the words right now. I’m not sure I know what it is I want to say.
I’ve been told for years to not speak unless I know what it is I’m saying, to always be sure about what I want to say; the words I’m using; and the ways in which I’m using them. To always be sure, because I can’t take them back.
There are no ‘take backs’ in adulthood.
It isn’t a warning I’ve heeded much- or well. It’s a lesson I’m constantly forced to learn.
I say things without thinking them over, words bubbling out before I can stop them. Sometimes they’re sharp, and mean; sometimes they’re silly. And more times than I care to admit, they are stupid. I react to things, without always stopping to think things over, to think of repercussions and impacts and long-term. I react. And almost immediately, I regret.
I imagine I’m not the easiest person to talk to. I’m told I’m much too serious, much too sharp, sometimes sarcastic when kindness is required instead. I react in anger, when indifference must be feigned instead. I never know the right words, the right gestures, the right kindnesses. I never know what to do with myself.
It has been a tough couple of weeks and I am tired. I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll ever learn my lessons. I often think back to my transgressions, my unkindnesses, my unthinkingness, my cavalier cruelty. And I am at a loss because I don’t know how to make it better, what to say to take away the hurt. It seems I can only make things worse.
I’ve always shrugged off this inability to say the right words, or do the right things as a part of my awkwardness, as a chip I wear defiantly. As something that is what it is; something I won’t apologise for. But it chafes; it gets harder to wear with every cutting remark that trips off my tongue. Words I can see falling into the space between us, and ringing; ringing; ringing long after I’ve said them.
They tell us that words can never hurt us, but we learnt at a young age that even that was untrue. Our words are swords on playgrounds and prick us even years after.