And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. ~ James 3:6-8
Ed’s note: Interesting verse considering Damon means “to tame.” Well, it’s time to put that definition to work on my tongue.
To Whom It May Concern:
This may concern you. Actually, I’m certain that it does.
I have to turn my fingers back at myself for this finger-pointing, letter-writing thing to work. This is definitely one of those “throwing stones at my own glass house” moments. Hopefully, you don’t judge me by what follows.
In recent weeks, I’ve taken a few necessary blows from some people I respect and a few others I consider to be my closest friends. The body punches all came in response to me mixing in a few jabs with a haymaker or two of my own over time. The words I’ve thrown have done damage and knocked a few people down.
But now it’s chin-check time for myself: I talk too much. So much that one of my good friends recently told me “that’s part of who you are.” Another friend said that I need to better separate my professional and personal lives. See, even that friend knows that a journalist with more than five years in the game is probably nosier than Owen Wilson.
But those quoted words in the previous graph, my actions and my friends’ humbling reactions rightfully left my face watered.
I choose not to claim the title best associated with talking too much because it’s not me. It’s something I’ve done in the past. But I’ve allowed it to rear its face again via careless chatter boxing. See, I’ve been tangled in some webs I don’t belong anywhere near because I’ve passed — harmlessly or not — some information along through channels via a friend or said something in jest that I had no business saying.
Most often I just shrug my shoulders because everybody talks. We all do. There’s many a time I say something in confidence to someone and it comes back to me or someone starts a false rumor about me. I almost never fret, especially when someone tells my business to their significant other. That’s life. Besides, a secret is something you share with no one. You can only trust people to be human — and err.
Well, in some people’s eyes, I’m that flawed person who talks too much. That shakes me at my core because I’m a better person than that, a better friend. If you know me well — or have been reading this blog — you know I have good intentions. But I’m nowhere near flawless in the execution of my intent.
That’s not good and must change because I strive for perfection, understanding that I will fall short. I’ve beaten myself up — not like Ike, though — and been hammered by the words and actions of others. I’ve taken some serious and sincere reality shots laced with humility from some of my closest friends.
Now, I know what needs to be done. It’s going to take work and time. And I know writing this letter won’t solve the problem. What will? Righting the issue itself. I’m off to a good start. I’ve decided to be extremely cautious about what I say about people outside of my immediate circle of friends and to not talk negatively about people I genuinely care about, those I know or any associates.
There’s nothing to be gained except a false build up similar to splurging on an unaffordable shopping spree. A fake sense of self and overpriced clothing items don’t replace failed friends.
Anyway, here are my only bits of advice for anyone who reads this and goes through similar circumstances:
1) Know that people will talk about you, around you, over you, to you, through you and under you — maliciously or not. The best reaction is a non-reaction. Be still and slow to anger.
2) Be careful who you talk to. Know that you can’t trust people to hold your water. They’ll drink it, and upchuck it at someone else because it’s not theirs.
3) When you royally screw over — with or without intent — good friends, and they choose to look you dead in the eye, force you to own up to your wrongs and still tell you that they love you … stop screwing them over. You can’t and won’t find better friends. If they respond with silence, that usually means it’s over.
I’m just thankful for my real friends. Without their forgiveness and brutal honesty, I’d likely be at Macy’s trying to put useless Band-Aids on my wounds.
I know I’m a good person, but I’m that beat up right now. Don’t worry, though. I’ll be fine with time.
PS2. “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant,” but “Can I Live?” ~ S. Carter