Things I say…

If you live any amount of time in a place you pick up the local lingo. I’ve lived a lot of different places but certainly never lost my native lingo and have often found myself trying to explain what I’m tawkin’ about.

Our local mini-mart is owned by Hindu people, country unknown, and when I bought my lottery ticket the other day the gentleman said “Don’t forget us when you win”. I said “From your lips to God’s ears”. He looked at me funny.

Having worked in an American Embassy, and being married to a government employee, I learned to speak acronym and military. My favorite is “wheels up” which means that a plane has taken off. I could tell you a funny story about that but you never know who is listening. When people would ask what my husband did for a living I’d start rattling off what I call “alphabet speak”. Now I just avoid explanations and say he works for the government. It’s easier.

Here’s an interesting (to me anyway) language usage whose origin I am unsure of, tho I tend to think it’s Italian. The set up: an adult talking to a child, the child is distressed in some way. Adult says: “What’s the matter mommy, come here” See, we have the adult female appearing to be calling the child “mommy”. What is that about? I even say that to the cats. I’ve only heard other Italian-Americans use this but I could easily see Hispanics using this phrasing as well.

Then there is “don’t start with me” which is always answered by the other person with “you know how I get”, like a call and response. This phrase goes back decades with me, a friend even had a t-shirt made for me with that on phrase on it. My husband was initially puzzled by it but he quickly learned the routine. This has got to be a common saying, I’m sure I’m not the only one using it (incessantly).

Because I am a NY’er my speech is heavily laden with Yiddishisms and they don’t actually travel well, What I find truly funny is when they fall trippingly off the tongue of my Boston-Irish husband. No wonder my husband’s family is unfond of me; I have turned him not only into an IBM (Italian By Marriage) but a New Yorker as well. Ah, the shame of it all.

I had a list of things I say floating around in my head and now I can’t seem to retrieve them, the most fun thing I wanted to share is the way I pronounce the word “floor”, but I can’t figure a way to describe it. When I am very angry or very tired my NY accent is so thick you could cut it with a buzz saw. Then again, there are times when I slip into a Southern accent for no apparent reason. Which is off-set by a slight British accent every once in a while.

Sometimes I think I am not only a little manic-depressive but have a slight case of MPD.
Everybody does this kind of stuff and I’m just as normal as apple pie.
Thank you, I thought so.

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A streak of madness

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen and form words but in my mid-30’s I went into therapy; it was needed and necessary, and I stopped writing. Perhaps I got sane enough that I didn’t need to write, or I learned to share my thoughts and feelings face to face. Once I thought in poetry and was constantly scribbling, it was a NEED, I needed to write. Three years of therapy and the need was gone. I missed writing. I felt I had given up my creativity for a modicum of sanity. Ah, but there was an upside.

I have always been a person of words, not pictures. I was never a visual person; I still skip all the descriptive bits in stories other than what the people look like. But having lost the need to write; to immerse and surround myself with words I became a more visual person. I could close my eyes and watch the stories I used to write. It was then that my “psychic” ability started to manifest itself. I traded one type of creativity for another but my need to write is greatly missed. And I’m not so sure the trade was a good one.

I have spent some time re-reading my “stuff”, all written between the ages of 10 and 35, and some of it is damn good, I mean damn good. Even the prose, the diary entries – some interesting thoughts, well written. I coulda been a contender!

If I had known that therapy would take away my need to write, and consequently my “talent”, would I still have gone through it? My first reaction is to say “Yes”. As messed up and neurotic as I am now I was way worse before (I know, I know, you are all reading this and saying to yourselves “Good grief, the woman must have been certifiable back then”). My second, more considered reaction is also “Yes”. I had a knack for words, nothing more. And joking aside, I am way more sane now. The words are now pictures; now I hear and see. But still I miss the poetry.

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Who do you believe?

As children we trust the adults around us and we see ourselves through their eyes. “Good boy; good girl” “Aren’t you pretty” You’re such as smart little guy” We overhear people say “oh, maybe he’ll grow out of it” “Wait till she’s older, maybe with braces” We are told “Why can’t you do anything right? ” “Why can’t you be like your brother” Some of us hear only negative things, some of us only positive. We believe what we hear. But often, even as a child, we hear this voice in our head that contradicts what we are told. Who to believe?

We go to school and all of a sudden the kid who is so stupid at home is a star at school. The teachers gush, gold stars all around but then the kid goes home and hears “You’re useless”. Who to believe?

We get older and we begin to see that what we can accomplish and what we were told we could are very different things. Sometimes that kid who has been told he’s the greatest thing on the planet discovers he’s not the smartest kid in the room, maybe not even close.

And still that voice – “How stupid can I be if I get such good marks at school” “If I’m so terrific how come I always come in next to last?” Our little voice has a better grasp on the reality of who we are than the people around us. But who to believe?

Tell the lie often enough and it becomes the truth but wait. It can be a lie of love, which builds false expectations. It can be a lie of hate that crushes.

Some people never learn to listen to the little voice. They believe what they are told by the people around them. It’s sets some up for a fall and leads others to never rise.

We can only see ourselves truly from the inside. No matter who someone tell us we are, unless we believe it from the inside, then it is not so. Unfortunately there are folks who believe what they are told, and never listen to the voice in their head and never see themselves from the inside out.

Who do you believe?

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Found in my files

I thought of that old saw “opportunity knocks, temptation kicks the door down” which is similar to the concept that the bad things in life are flung at your head like rocks from a catapult, the bad things in life are heat seeking missiles – you can run but you cannot hide but the good things in life you have to earn – no one hands those to you on a silver platter yet the shit in life comes served up on a cheap paper plate that soaks thru and lands on your foot and you drag the smell around with you for rest of your life…

(I have no idea what prompted me to write that on December 3, 2004. It appears to have been part of an email I sent someone.)

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