In Which Ella Can Fit Both Feet Inside of Her Mouth

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.

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10 thoughts on “In Which Ella Can Fit Both Feet Inside of Her Mouth

  1. You know that song by John Mayer? It suddenly played in my mind while I was reading this entry.

    Don’t worry, the most important thing is you apologised.=B

    • I don’t know anything by John Mayer except that he was once on the cover of Rolling Stone and the article made him sound a little sleazy. Apparently, he likes to chat girls up by identifying their perfumes. What song were you referring to?

      • I think the title of the song is my st*pid mouth (please note that I am not implying anything…) the line goes “…my st*pid mouth/has got me in trouble/I said too much again/in a dinner yesterday/and I can see/she was offended/she said–we’ll anyway/just dying for subject change/….how could I forget/Mama said/think before speaking….”

        Anyway, the only thing that I love about John Mayer is HIS VOICE and SOME of his songs.

          • Oh my. I could not agree more. The authors that I did not like ‘later on’ (upon my discovery of their true self) seems like they assume a different persona when they’re writing.

            For novels that have very amazingly intricate plots, I wonder how the author thought of it. My friend suggested that it takes a ‘complicated background’ to come up with that story. But I’d still hold on to Ariel Gore’s statement that it would not be a problem if you have a *gasps* happy childhood. Anyone can come up with a good story.=)

          • I always feel uncomfortable and a bit betrayed when I discover that the person I thought I liked isn’t the person I assumed them to be.

            I think that anyone can come up with a good story, but at the same time, I also believe that the best stories build upon the author’s own experiences. Unfortunately, often the experiences that shape us the most are the most negative ones. But that is far from the rule when it comes to literature, and the main determiner of a good story is the quality of the writing and the author’s imagination.

  2. Best policy when you’re caught in a mistake – admit your mistake. Remind yourself that people “in the know” will regard you as even more of an “idiot” if you don’t. If you acknowledge your error, you will come off as a thoughtful person who is still learning – as we all are. Making mistakes is part of the learning process. And as we know from certain TED talks, admitting mistakes is a sign of strength – not weakness – and helps connect you to others — which is the point of life, after all. (All of the preceding advice learned from hard experience & very much a work in progress.)

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