Skip to main content

Do You Understand What I'm Saying?

When I was little, relatives from Arkansas used to visit us for a week. Within just a few days of their arrival, my usual Yankee tongue would turn into an odd twang, as words became an an odd mix of Southern drawl and rhotic severity. My family used to poke fun at me for something I don't think I consciously intended to do. I was a little chameleon, soaking up all around me. I think, too, I knew back then that, "When in Rome, do as the Romans." Even if I was actually in Massachusetts, doing as the Southerners.

To survive we must adapt. I realize, with respect to communication, this is what I have done. I'm me in all situations, and most people, whether at work, home, or socially, would agree that I'm loud, like attention, am (sorta?) funny, outgoing, and bossy. They'd tell you I step to the beat of a slightly off-beat drummer but that I usually mean well, I like helping people, and I enjoy communicating. (They will also tell you other bad things, but they can keep that to themselves.) It's how I communicate, but the lexicon, or specifically, vocabulary, shifts, depending on the audience with whom I am communicating. It becomes a situational pattern, I've realized, where I use the same words, and phrases over and over, depending on the audience. Here are some examples.

Suppose I am at work. Whether writing or speaking, my days include these words and phrases: facilitate, reach out, touch base, circle back, regards, dear, engage, cohort (love!), propose, suggest, agree, disagree, implement, going forward, support, fyi,include, demonstrate, assess, and one of my faves-just checking-in (code for, why haven't you replied yet?).

Now, if I am at home with the kids, it sounds more like this: potty, tubby, focus, no, no, no, because I said so, hurry up, come on, be quiet, settle down, no, no, no, love, sweetie pie, honey, baby, that was fun but now we're done, let's go, rise and shine and Give God Your Glory, Glory!, wash your hands, gimme a smooch, nice bum, wipe your bum, I don't know where the "marote is", put that away, give me a hug. I love you.

So, if I am at home with Andy, the vocab choices are a reflection of my mood. Our communication is usually done between carrying on another conversation. Like this, "Did I tell you about no, I said you couldn't have any more gum, did I tell you about what happened at work t, no, I didn't get the mail. What was I saying? Uhh. Never mind. I don't remember."

If I'm in a bad mood, and feeling stern with Andy, it could go one of two ways. I either slip into work-speak, like this, "I'm sorry to inform you that you neglected to communicate with me about the meeting you plan to attend this evening. That is unacceptable and we need to touch base more about this issue and address how to implement changes going forward."

Or, I can channel my logger, trucker, lumberman upbringing, and say something like this, (all very loudly, of course.) "F off. F you. What the F. Kiss my A. Go to H. I'm not yelling. I'm not yelling. F you."

My favorite situation, however, is hanging with my family. Yes, I was raised in Western Massachusetts, where we like to pronounce every syllable for the most part, except the "h" in Amherst because who the hell does that? We use words like grinder, sneaker, and package store. We get gas at Cumbies. We shop in Hamp. But, I love my family for their, should I say, country charm, and so, after not too long at home, I'm saying things like, "Quit yer rootin' on the couch" or "He was talkin', walkin' and doin'". Other words are normal in this setting, like holler, supper and sloppin'. Oh, and I will always respond when called Missy. Or Mandy, or Molly. (Those were the dogs. At least I wasn't called Chubby, the name of the goat and, simultaneously, another dog.)Throw in some f bombs and it's good to be home!

So, whether at work, or with my children, my husband, or around my relatives, I'm still me. I may say things a little bit differently but in the end, I just want to talk, talk, talk-to you, or whom ever. I just want you all to understand what I'm trying to say, or write. Let's communicate!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Me V. Parental Judgement

When you are pregnant, there’s so much to think about when considering the future: what color to paint the nursery, what decorating scheme to select from Pottery Barn, whether to go with disposable or reusable diapers, what to name your little nugget, and even deciding to use a cake or a box of balloons for the gender reveal party. You quickly learn that, if you share any of these decisions with anyone, you are bound to get opinions- lots of them. And, while this isn’t the first time we get solicited or unsolicited advice (where to go to college, what to choose as a major, what profession to pursue, who to date, who to marry, what dress to wear to the wedding, who to invite to the wedding, what type of alcohol to serve at the wedding..) the birth of a child seems like the first time that SO MANY opinions are given. It’s already a time of anxiety and unknowns that the opinions of others can easily feel overwhelming.What, I should have gotten the rocker that swings from side to side ins…

It's Complicated. It Doesn't Have To Be.

I was preparing dinner the other night. I still had my coat on and I was balancing a cat dish in one hand and a frozen pot pie in the other when Charlotte came into the kitchen. She had been in her room changing into her pj's. She pranced into the kitchen wearing only her favoritest undies- with the words SUNDAY emblazoned on the rump. She called out my name and I distractedly and tiredly looked in her direction, making eye contact. "Mom," she asked me, grabbing the soft, doughy skin above her waistband, "am I fat?" I dropped to my mental knees. I barely knew what night it was, I actually couldn't have told you in that moment what town Andy was working in on that particular evening, and all I wanted to do was take my bra off and her question stopped me in my tracks. I looked at her again, really taking in her body. Her beautiful, perfect body. I have loved her body during every stage of growth- from a chubby baby legs and round bottom to the freckle on her…

The Bubble Thought

Earlier this week, my sister-in-law posted one of her drawings on Facebook. The drawing depicted an image of a mother hugging her child before the child gets on the bus for the first day of the school year. As the mother hugs her child, there’s a thought bubble above her with an image of a gun. To accompany the drawing, my sister-in-law shared that this was her thought, which popped into her mind as her own child departed for school to begin a new academic year. I have no doubt that her post will be shared time again by parents around this country as we all send our children off to school to be educated. In addition to the normal fear that a parent has for their school-age school, like their academic achievement, development of meaningful friendships, and overall happiness and health, now parents have to worry about their safety while in school. We presently live in a climate where schools are hiring guardians who are retired police officers and members of the military whose sole purp…