I use words all the time without knowing their meaning or spelling. Is it really necessary to know that information for EVERY single word that comes out of my mouth? Honestly, it would be very limiting because English is not my first language and also, I didn’t pay attention in school after first grade. I decided around the age of six that learning was too labor intensive. Why couldn’t I just chill at home with my ma?
When I brought up the idea of quitting school, my parents said, “Fuck no.” Then, they went back to watching TV like we were still going to be the same family after that, but something hardened in the middle part of my chest. Years later, that hardness took on a name (Sadness). Was I not worth loving? Why didn’t my parents want me around? What was my mom doing with all that free time while I was at school? Was she going to Montgomery Ward without me? I used my school hours to roll these questions around in my head. I didn’t have time for stupid shit like “learning” and “cooperating.”
Whenever people cast judgment because I can’t spell a word or I don’t know the techniques to solve multivariable calculus problems, I just stay silent and accept the blame. I want to protect my parents even though it’s solely their fault that I know nothing about everything because I spent so much time pondering their lack of love for me.
I’m making an effort to learn more these days even though it’s hard and it takes up most of the time I formerly devoted to Candy Crush. I no longer assume I know something just because it’s familiar to me. If I come across a word I’ve used many times but can’t define immediately, I’ll look it up. Urban Dictionary is my go-to source but occasionally I will use the rest of the internet just to shake things up.
When I saw Elsie de Wolfe’s words on a store wall (pictured above), I realized that I had no idea what Gracious really meant, so I looked it up. Definition: courteous, kind, tactful, compassionate, merciful, showing good manners
I didn’t go to the trouble of looking up antonyms for Gracious, but they were right there, so I took a look. Antonyms: cruel, crude, rude.
I am prone to: bad behavior, talking before thinking, making big decisions based on temporary feelings, being vicious and spiteful, always needing the last word, using brute force to convey my anger, and refusing forgiveness.
I want to become a Gracious Person. I want this so badly that I changed my 2014 Theme Word from _____ (I’m saving it for next year) to Restraint because I realized that if I can’t take care of base level matters like controlling my actions and my temper, I will never be next level.
In 2014, I am taking it back to basics. Instead of focusing on lofty ideals and goals, I’m going to spend the entire year rooting through Basic Rules for Good Living. For starters, I quit smoking. Again. I’ve been smoking on and off for the last 18 years. Mostly on.
I haven’t had a cigarette in 139 hours and 17 minutes. I really, really miss those bitches.
Happy 2014, y’all. This is going to be a magnificent year for you. I just know it. Hopefully, it won’t be half-bad for me either.
P.S. In case you missed the New Year’s Day post…..
Would you please take my Flourish in Progress Reader Survey 2014? I tried to be brief. I want to find out more about you, what you love (or don’t love), and why you read Flourish in Progress.
P.P.S. I hang out a lot on Facebook. Let’s hang out together.