Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Comment wasn't stupid after all

Somebody made a comment to me recently that, both in tone and content, I interpreted as belonging to the category of Stupid Things People Say to People who Have Cancer, or, thankfully, in my case, people who had cancer, but in some sense everyone who has had it remains a patient for life.

You can tend to be hyper sensitive, not just after cancer but after many misfortunes. Given a certain state of mind, you can get reactive, if not in words, then in how your body springs into over-alertness. At other times something might just float on past you, depending on your day or your mood.

The comment was more subtle than when I looked like a cancer patient. For example, it was in another class from the doozie, "You look like a concentration camp survivor" when I was bald and emaciated.

After this perceived "stupid" comment I wrote it up, leaving out identifying factors. But something kept me from posting it. Later I talked on the phone to a friend who said not to do it, it will only spread bad vibes. At that point I didn't need to post it anyway, because writing it got it out of my system.

Then, by accident, I discovered that this person had a whole other back story, and that what she said had nothing to do with me and everything to do with something painful in her life. It appeared in a new light. I don't know if this makes sense without details, but that's as far as I can go.

I can only speak for myself, but I have a sense that in these days of almost instant communication, we are too quick to hit send (on an email or text) or to hit post (on a blog or on Facebook). I can think of a couple of instances where I hit "send" on an email and then wished I had followed the advice of a different wise friend who said that when you are angry or upset, don't hit send until the next day when you are sure that's what you wanted to say.

In some cases, you have to say what you need to say.

In other cases, letting it go is better than letting it out.

I'm glad that in this case I took a step back.

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