Meaning What You Say

“Let go of him, or I’m going to hit you,” I said to my boyfriend, who was playing a little too roughly with his much younger brother. The kid was choking. My words didn’t seem to sink in.

“P, I swear to God, I’ll hit you if you don’t let him go!”

Nothing. So I hit him. His little brother, having been abruptly released, immediately fell down on all fours and was gasping for air, but P was rubbing his jaw and looking at me in utter shock. “You hit me,” he said.

“A) the kid was turning blue. B) You are in my living room, not some wrestling ring. And C) I warned you, twice, that I would.”

I had never punched anyone in my life (and haven’t since then), but that seemed like as good a time as any to start. I don’t know why this took him by surprise. Even back then (this was 30 years ago) I said what I meant and I meant what I said. If I make a statement, you can count on the fact that I’ll follow through with it unless I am in a hospital dying. I don’t know how else to be.

This also reminds me of the time when I was in high school and my best friend’s boyfriend said, “You’ll never leave Apopka.” Why? Because I was so darned happy in that little redneck town? “Oh, trust me. I’ll leave Apopka.” He scoffed at that.

Since then, I’ve traveled to 22 countries, and have had 12 non-Apopka addresses. In fact, now I live in Seattle, Washington, which is about as far away from Apopka, Florida, both culturally and physically, as you can get without leaving the continental U.S. It was the two of them, now married, who never left. But they always seemed happy there. Good for them.

I don’t know which confuses me more: people who don’t believe what I’m saying, or people who say things they really don’t mean. I generally take people at their word because I know my word is good. Even when I discover that someone is untrustworthy, I have to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Trust is my default position. That quite often bites me in the butt. I’d like to think I’m extremely intelligent, but I suppose I’m not particularly sophisticated. Still, I’d rather be a straight shooter than a crooked one any day.

say what you mean

12 thoughts on “Meaning What You Say

  1. I have one scene in the newest book of the sci-fi series… where a dead head named Peace Bear knocks out an assassin that is trying to kill me with a Conga drum. It is actually extremely funny… but sort of hard to explain out of context. Sometimes, this stuff just needs to happen.

  2. Angiportus

    People who claim to know more than I do about what I want/need/can or can’t do/will or won’t do/etc. are the worst! I’ve sent several of them packing, mostly without violence…

  3. lyn sutton

    Living life by this creed while remaining compassionate and safe means you really have to think before you commit your meaning to words and be prepared for the fallout when you trust the wrong person. I too have had my butt bitten so much so that I carry a cushion now. I also think many people have auditory blinders when they don’t hear what they want to. Can’t count the times I’ve heard, “Oh, you don’t; mean, want, need, think…that.” I used to explain myself now I just walk away.

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