Big Mouth

(I only open my mouth to change feet)


I have an unwitting ability to cause trouble (mostly for myself) with my great big gabbing mouth.

The painful part is that I never actually intend to cause trouble of any kind, for anyone. I just do.

I remember clearly the first time it ever happened. I was seven years old. It was the first day of grade two (we used to call it Sub B back then) and I had just joined the “big” school that my sister attended.

The whole frigging school was gathered in the hall while the prefects sorted us out into houses or something. I don’t really remember. I just remember that the hall was crowded with kids.

My sister, who was in standard six (grade eight) had a terrible crush on one of the older boys. His name was scrawled all over her note book. I knew that she was painfully besotted and she wouldn’t so much as talk to him out of shyness.

I loved my older sister and wanted very much for her to be happy. She was perfect in my eyes and I couldn’t imagine that anyone would ever reject her, if they only knew she liked them.

But on this fateful day I saw him, in the hall. I was so excited, so enthusiastic about her upcoming jubilation that I ran up to him and said “My sister is in love with you!” or something equally horrifying. He asked me who my sister was and I told him. I couldn’t understand why his friends started laughing. Never had I imagined that a matric boy might not want to have a grade 8 in love with him.

My sister was devastated, humiliated and furious with me.

I remember the cold, sinking feeling that I had in the middle of my chest as I realised that I had not only made a fool of her, but that she was furious with me. I had stuffed up. Badly. In my over flowing enthusiasm for my sister I had caused her trouble when I was trying to help.

I wish I could say that that was it, lesson learned, and I never put a foot wrong again.

Alas that was only the beginning of a lifetime of stupid things I was to say to people.

If I was less empathetic, if I cared less and wasn’t always so worried about the feelings of those around me – I probably wouldn’t give a crap. I wouldn’t be haunted by my stuff ups. But I do and I am.

Over the years I have unwittingly caused more trouble than I’m worth.

As I said before, the most painful (and I feel it like a physical pain) part, is that It is usually when I try to be good. It’s when I take it into my head to do something out of love or kindness or compassion for someone else that I end up putting my foot in mouth. I suffer from terrible “foot-in-mouth” disease.

Sometimes I am trying to be funny and I say the wrong thing. Sometimes I am trying to be helpful. Sometimes I am just straight up not thinking past the end of my nose.

One thing that is always true is that it’s never intentional. I never mean any harm.

Anyway. I am getting better. I am learning to fight my instincts when it comes to opening my mouth and JUST SHUT UP! Most of the time I am pretty good about it and the world thinks I have nothing going on inside my head at all. Ha! If only they knew.

I am hoping that there are others of you out there who share my affliction, that I am not alone in this particular stupidity.

We can only hope that the people who truly matter to us will learn to love us for our good intentions rather than loathe us for our shortcomings.

I am not sure what the lesson is to this post – or if there even is one.  Maybe it is simply that we all need to learn not to think with our mouths open – me most of all.

Now I am going to just shut up.




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