There was a meme on Facebook this evening about a mom teaching a middle schooler about how words are like toothpaste that have been squeezed out of the tube. Just like you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, you can’t take back your words.
I’ve learned that lesson a few times.
Middle school sucked. It sucked for most people, I suppose.
One memory sticks out to me, specifically when I said something incredibly shitty and thoughtless to a friend who was going through a hard time. It’s like I saw the knife sticking out of her and I decided to twist it. That memory haunts me. I remember the shocked look on her face. I remember crying in my mom’s van, ashamed that I said such a thing. I apologized to her this evening through a Facebook message.
But I was also shitty in other ways. I had a Geocities blog where I complained about my classmates in not-so-well-veiled pseudonyms. I stood in front of the class and joked about people, again in not-so-well-veiled pseudonyms, pointing out how they were the teacher/coach’s favorite when, in actuality, I think that myself and one of my friends were really his favorites.
My god, I was like a very, very poor excuse of a version of Harriet the Spy.
My words – specifically that I occasionally cursed – got me rejected from my best friends in between 8th and 9th grade. They went to Bible Camp and came back to tell me I wasn’t Christian enough to hang out with them. That action not only jaded me toward Evangelicism, but also lifted the lid on my cursing to where I still engage in it to this day. So… thanks, I guess.
More recently, my written words have led to the dissolution of relationships.
For example, Same Dude Different Day and I no longer speak/text. I expressed my surprise for the way he is living his life (I described it as “laissez-faire”). He took offense. Silence. I get it.
I am sure I’ve said and done other things people remember and silently hold against me. Hopefully my name is not on a list like this:
To those people – I’m sorry I was so shitty to you and for whatever it is I did or said to cause you anguish.
Except Gustavo Offely. He can still go fuck himself.