I was at a college interview this weekend and was asked what were three areas I need to work on. The first one that sprung to mind was my tendency to say too much, often without thinking any of it through.
It’s amazing how easy it is for me to just start spouting things that don’t make sense or that I don’t even mean. And while you can apologize and ask for a do-over when you’re with family and close friends, that isn’t exactly an option in most situations.
About a year ago, I was speaking at a Model Congress conference and somehow managed to suggest that unemployment rates were the fault of immigrants. Now, this is something that I absolutely do NOT believe. It’s xenophobic, hateful, and more than a little untrue. But it somehow managed to come out of my mouth while I was talking about problems with immigration. I don’t even remember doing it, but all of a sudden I was being asked questions about what I meant by it and how I would back it up, and I was trapped. It turned into one of those situations where I could lie or look like an idiot. I lied because it was a competition and somebody needed to be the devil’s advocate to make the debate more balanced, and later made it clear that I didn’t mean anything I had said following and including that remark.
It’s not that I can’t keep a secret–that’s never been a problem–I just have this inability to shut up when I’m nervous or excited. I know that I’m doing it, too. But the moment that I stop talking, I’m no longer somewhat controlling the situation, and on some level, I’m sure that I’m scared of what will happen. And if I’m very enthusiastic about the topic, I immediately become a little convinced that you too surely want to know every single detail about English rhotic accents around the world, no matter how disinterested you appear. But now that I’m eighteen, I do a fairly good job of catching myself before I go overboard, and I’m no longer the chatty and preconscious eight-year-old of yesteryear.
I only bring this up today, because I said something unintentionally mean, and I can’t take it back. The words seemed fine at the time, but it wasn’t until I walked away and thought about the interaction over an hour later that I realized how they were probably going to be interpreted. I feel terrible now.
So this is me, once again trying to come up with an adequate way of apologizing for saying something I didn’t mean.
In other news, I wrote well over 5,000 words today!
I also hang out at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, where I almost never put my foot in my mouth.