Holding back

There’s a lot to be said for self-control, tact, mincing words, thinking before you speak. The tongue, the Bible tells us, has the power to encourage or destroy. Words have power. Restraint is a sign of a wise person.

I have never had much restraint.

These days I tell others since I hit middle age my filters have worn out. I speak my mind. I am getting better but it’s taking a lot of work. Somehow it seems there is so much that needs to be said and, face it. None of us knows how much time we’ve got.

My son and I used to use movie lines to describe feelings or circumstances in any situation. Something was confusing, we quoted from “Fletch!” (1985 based on Gregory McDonald’s novel), Chevy Chase as Fletch: “Well, there we’re in sort of a grey area.”

His editor: “Ok, how grey?”

Fletch: “Charcoal.”

Or from “The Princess Bride” (1987 William Goldman screenplay), Westley says to Buttercup in the fireswamp: “Well, I wouldn’t want to build a summer home here but the trees are quite lovely.”

Somehow the combination of movie lines from films that made us laugh and not having to use our own words would lighten any situation.

Oliver Platt to Meryl Streep in Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards from the Edge” (1990, novel of the same name): “You’re holding something back…”

Well, sometimes it’s called for. Other times, no. We can’t pull any punches though. We have to air things out. Otherwise the truth stays buried and everybody continues along in a fantasy parallel universe where no one is accountable, nothing matters except what we decide matters, even if it’s not truth. Since we’ve created some sort of reality to accommodate how we want things to be then we make it up as we go along. Like Jim Carrey’s “The Truman Show” (which I never saw… too depressing). Only by the time we run out of imaginary reality discourses and come out of our self-made tunnel we find reality has continued and we may be so out of touch we never catch up. Or get it, or catch on.

So it helps to stay close to truth. It’s essential, actually, for our own sanity.

The hardest part is holding to truth when someone close to you is living a fantasy, even a partial one. For all intents and purposes it looks like reality but it’s so far skewed from your reality that you either have to drop everything you know is truth and real to stay with them, or let it all go, keeping a distant watch to see where things go, or if the fantasy comes to an end. When paradise becomes rotten it’s hard to make it paradise again.

Especially when it’s all in your mind.

So, either have plans B, C, D, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, or be prepared to bite the bullet when it’s over and move on.

If this makes no sense to anybody, it’s ok. Lily and Lulu, my rescue dogs have been following along with me. It’s hard sometimes, to keep up without a score card.

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