I’m reading Use Your Words by Catherine Deveny. It is one of the books on Michelle’s schedule for the Big Time Blogging Challenge. (I’m not done yet, but so far I recommend it if you need a shove to write.) Chapter 2 is titled “Why Write?” Here is a paragraph that sums it up pretty nicely:
No-one writes to get paid, praised, published or win prizes. Yes those things happen for some writers. But that’s not why anyone writes. We write because it empties our brains, lightens our emotions, and helps us feel more deeply, see more clearly and sleep better. We write to give our thoughts order and explore our emotions. Because it makes us feel more like ourselves; it’s our way of making sense of the world. Most importantly, we write for the same reason we exercise, eat and sleep: it makes us feel better.
Today (actually Friday night) I write to sleep better, to feel better. I write because too many times in the last few days, people have used their words without thinking (or maybe caring?) about the effect…
A lady in line at PetSmart’s words and attitude prompted my son to turn to me and say, “She was kind of rude.” And then in the car, “It must be hard to have a mom who is rude.”
A man at our Beginning Dog Training class turned to Milo and said something like, “He’s a mean dog.”
Yes, he was barking at all of the other big dogs. Yes, he has Small Dog Syndrome. Yes, he he has been in multiple shelters and we don’t know his whole history. Yes, the dog isn’t listening to you.
Yes, my son, a ten year old who is so much happier because of the addition to our family, is listening to you. Yes, my son can hear and understand you. Yes, it sticks with him, hurts him, angers him.
A lady across the way, not politely, waited outside until I walked the dog back and then said to me, “You picked up the poop?!”
To which I replied, “No, he didn’t poop?”
“Someone is not cleaning up the poop,” she continued in an accusatory, disgusted tone.
“Yes. Well, it’s not us.” and I continued to walk.
I walked a way, but there were so many things I wanted to say. So many things I might have said if I was a different person. Did you really wait there for me to come back? Did you really wait there instead of walking your own dog because…why? If you want to confront someone about picking up poop, maybe you should watch and see if the dog actually pooped?! I didn’t say anything though.
I didn’t reply in the first two situations either. Partially because I was too stunned. Partially because I am not a confrontational person. Partially because my mother (and Thumper) taught me that if I have nothing nice to say, I should say nothing at all.
Now why is it nagging at me so much that I need to write it down? I’m not sure, but once again I think it is a mixture. Each incident, with the exception of the poop accusation, occurred with my son and each incident has affected him enough to bring it up after the fact. I didn’t stand up, defend myself/my dog? I don’t know if I should have said something? I am an overprotective new doggy mother?
Whatever the reason, these situations have led me to need to write. To share what is in my head, so that I can sleep and feel better.
To conclude, I will share one more conversation with my son today regarding his kindergarten teacher:
“She never liked anything I drew. The only time she ever said anything good about a drawing of mine was one time that I drew a body. That would make me so mad and sad and then mad again. One time she even took a pencil and drew shorts on my person. She vandalized my drawing!”
This is coming from a kid going into fifth grade, talking about his experience in kindergarten. The last few days and writing this blog post has been a reminder to me about how powerful our words are and how careful we should be with them.