Have you ever had the experience where you say something completely innocuous (or so you think) and it is taken out of context and someone winds up with hurt feelings, and you are standing there saying "but, but, but...." That's something that happened to me this week, with someone I dearly love, and it left me feeling bruised and anxious and sad. And feeling completely inept at communication.
I work with kids that don't perceive and process information neuro-typically, and my experience this week made me feel great empathy for them. They often say and do things that piss people off, and they don't mean to and can't really help it. Some of them don't have much language (if any), so telling someone to "back up", or "stop", or "I like you" is harder than it is for you and I. I think about that every day, and do my best to find ways for them to say what they need to say, because, damn, that is so important. To be able to just get it across.
And yet, even though I have the ability to do just that - I have the language and the voice - sometimes my thoughts don't line up in neat rows and what I say comes out wrong, or worse, I'm afraid to say something and wind up torturing myself with the "what if's". Things I need to say, but can't; or live in fear of saying because I might hurt someone's feelings or damage a friendship.
It might be difficult to imagine me NOT saying something, as I do tend to have a talent for TMI. But I have such a difficult time addressing things that need to be addressed. I'll process the crap out of things, and leave them unsaid, and I wish I could be braver. After all, these aren't issues that have any huge stakes: my marriage is not in jeopardy, my child is not in danger, I'm not running afoul of the law.
I'm just afraid to say things sometimes. And that pisses me off about myself.