What We Say vs. What We Mean

I use euphemisms all the time.  If I make a major mistake or am unsuccessful at doing something I yell at the top of my lungs, “FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!”  This phrase replaces any expletives I had in mind and opts for the G-rated version.  For me, it works because I find myself more and more ridiculous as time goes on.  So it alleviates the feeling of guilt attached and makes me laugh at my silliness.  Nothing is ever that bad.  Nothing.

I had actually thought about writing this post for a long time.  I was waiting for a time when I was creatively fresh out of ideas of posts to put on my blog.  Well, the time has come as I am empty on what I want to write about.   

Euphemisms are in my blood:

I don’t like hurting anyone’s feelings and can’t quite understand people who don’t get the “don’t-bug-me-I’m-busy” vibe that I give off from time to time.  I value my alone-time as most writers do.  You can often spot me contemplating life and observing life around me.  I have to always be in that meditative space in order to be creative.  Non-writers see this as an open opportunity to tell me about various events in their lives or comings and goings that may be prevalent and interesting in their minds, but come off as self-indulgent or rude.  I run the risk of investing so much of my personal contemplative time  to giving others advice and opinions, that I lose track of time and my commitments.  I want to be giving, but timing is key.  So if you really want to know what I feel about your new ideas or family issues that need sorting out post-haste, don’t approach me at my lunch hour or when I’m silently reading a novel on the train…just don’t okay?  I’m not charging for my services and it ruins my happiness to devote all of my free time to you.  Every one of us at one time or another has felt the impending doom at the approach of a colleague, say, or a next-door neighbor. You know, the chatty one with nothing but time on his / her hands? It’s not that we don’t want to listen, it’s just that their needs aren’t always as pressing as they initially let on.  Most people just want a sounding-board, a person who they can get feedback from, or push their responsibilities onto.  I am not that person.  So, shove off, matey.  Puh-lease.

I Love You, but I Must Leave You:

It is therefore, given what I’ve just written, to easily pass judgement on me.  I seem a little to standoffish.  I keep to myself.  I’m an enigma, or worse, a snob.  Think what you will, but if your stories and tales of woe are draining me like a vampire, I gotta turn you loose.  Friendships may die, but at least I won’t resent you.  Let’s just say we called it quits before it developed into a disaster with me feeling as though I’ve given too much of my precious time listening to you rattle on and on about your ex-boyfriend  and how much you’re so over him.  Face it, if he’s still the topic of your conversation, you’re probably bitter that you’ve been burned.  But if he asks you to take him back, you would.  I know.  Believe me.

So I gathered up some of the common thoughts that run through my mind when I am saying something to be polite and thinking something totally different.  This isn’t a post to suggest that everyone start telling the God’s honest truth all the time because that’s an impossibility.  It is also non-pc and very selfish to spout your opinions with reckless abandon.  That magic only works when you’re a kid and incapable of letting people down gently.  It is an acquired skill, after all.  Anyone who says that they don’t lie ever is a liar.  We all do a little lying so as not to hurt people or ruin their lives.  There are subtle nuances to human beings and their feelings.  You have to be aware of that.  So go ahead and think all you want.  Just be mindful that it isn’t okay to “spew negativity”.  It’s fun, but it isn’t okay.

Here are some examples that you probably have done yourself or experienced firsthand from someone else.  Enjoy!

What We Say:   “That person’s laugh is so contagious.”                                            

What We Mean: “I hate her witchy cackle, I wish she’d choke on her own spit.” 

What We Say: “Oh, what a cute baby!”                                                                   

What We Mean: “Get that drooling, spittle-ridden snot-nose brat away from my Gucci purse!” 

What We Say:  “Omigosh, your child’s getting so big…”                                            

What We Mean: “You’re kid’s as big as a house…you should stop feeding that poor child Mickey D sandwiches and french fries!” 

What We Say: “That Armani suit makes you ten years younger.  Go ahead, girl!”        

What We Mean: “You old battleaxe!  Oil of Old Age got you by the cackles and ain’t letting go so you best stop trying to dress up the ugly.  I got one word for you: BOTOX!”  

What We Say: “Of course I’m not too busy for you…”                                              

What We Mean: “I was so looking forward to Calgon taking me away from you.”

What We Say: “I’m so sorry you broke up with your boyfriend…”

What We Mean: “Thank God that sexy piece of chuletas is finally free!  Now let me see if I can score a date!”

What We Say (when someone steps on our foot): “That’s okay.”

What We Mean: “Thank you for ruining my pedicure!”

What We Say: “You look great…are you working out?”

What We Mean: “…your mouth? Weight Watchers better watch you!”

What We Say: “That was a bad fall.  Are you okay?”                                                

What We Mean: “That’s what you get for trying to be Naomi Campbell and work it in Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels!”

Well, that’s all that I got. Just for fun, think of a couple of your own and pass it on…Remember, don’t be mean-spirited.  Okay, you can be a little mean.  Go on…


About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
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