I haven’t confirmed it with a medical professional, but there is a high likelihood that some sort of synapses misfiring happens between my brain and my mouth every time I talk. Actually, if I marinate on it a little more, it also happens when I don’t talk. I think a lot of fucked up things. Also, I’m not good at remembering when to use a semicolon. Harv says that last sentence doesn’t really “go” with the rest of the paragraph, but I told him that I didn’t really care, and then he walked out of the room like he was really frustrated. I don’t know. Maybe he just got thirsty. I respect a person who honors the body’s call to stay hydrated. Please drink some water, y’all.
Of all of the awkward mumbles that come out of my mouth, the worst offenses happen right after someone pays me a genuine compliment or says something else equally as nice. I know a lot of people walk around saying bullshit they don’t really mean. I don’t blame them. It’s so much easier to say, “What luck! I’m so happy I bumped into you. Your teal-colored ensemble really highlights your eyes!” Who wants to cause problems by groaning and shouting, “Get the fuck away from me, you bitch! I know it was you who signed me up to make blondies for that stupid 4th of July BBQ!”
I’m well-versed in responding to bullshit with bullshit. There are NO synapses misfirings there. But the genuine goodness, the words that immediately fill empty crevices and boost me from the trenches because they are so kind and thoughtful and encouraging…those are the words that make me freeze.
Kind words terrify me.
I have never been able to accept a compliment gracefully. I’ve tried to peel apart the chain of events right after someone goes out of their way to tell me that they liked the way my hair looked or how much they enjoyed a piece I wrote or how they appreciated me for picking up the dog shit on the sidewalk for the third time that week even though I don’t own a dog and that lazy neighbor better come correct.
I nod and say nothing (sometimes my mouth is hanging open too). I chuckle and point to the shit-filled grocery bag. I make a swatting motion like I’m trying to kill a gnat. I stare at my feet. I deflect. I blush.
Once last fall, after reading a personal essay in a show, a woman chased me across the street afterwards to tell me how much the story had moved her. She thanked me for being brave and for sharing. What did I do? I looked behind my shoulders to make sure she wasn’t talking to anyone else. Then, I avoided her gaze and mumbled a soft thank you. Uh, and then I ran away.
In my mind, I have replayed that moment a dozen times. If I had the luxury of a rewind button, I would look her in the eyes and speak loudly and clearly as I thanked her for being kind and for going out of her way to give me a boost that will surely stay with me for a long time.
I have watched my friends accept compliments with grace and ease. When thoughtfulness is received in the same spirit it is given, both parties experience joy.
And to you: Thank you for being patient with me. I appreciate the goodness you bestow in my life.
Hood Good #4: (T)HUG THOUGHTS MAGNETS
Production: 50 sets
Cost: $5.00 for 2 magnets and $11.00 for all 5 magnets
NOW SHIPPING TO CANADA
For purchasing info, please visit the Hood Goods Store
P.S. Flourish in Progress Instagram Peoples always get first peek and first dibs on Hood Goods. Follow along on Instagram and on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page for Hood Goods and other random shit. Like the 11 jars of pepper jelly I bought myself for Mother’s Day. BALLER AS FUCK.