Expletives can be good

I’ve always been a wee bit daffy, so the additional daffiness of pain-brain, combined with the clumsiness of my brain’s shoddy un-mapping, re-mapping, or possibly dis-mapping of my body and physical environment, leaves my daily life simply packed with faux pas and prat-falls of one kind or another.

Mr. Keaton, clearly making a decision in a moment of pain-brain.

These used to upset me considerably, and I’d try to re-normalize the situation as fast as possible out of the combined distress of embarrassment and fear about the brain-invading nature of this disease.

This morning, I turned away from the counter too fast and knocked over the oil-filled heater. Instead of dissolving in humiliation and anxiety, I pursed my lips, finished what I was doing, and pulled up the heater when I had a hand free.

My sweetie J, as usual, said (without the asterisks), “You f***ed up,” with a unique combination of resignation and relish. (Nobody says, “You f***ed up,” like he does. It’s a gift.)

The more trivial the faux pas or prat-fall, the more pronounced those syllables are. “You f***ed up” becomes more emphatic, the more meaningless the mistake.

It never fails to put things in perspective.

Something I’m going to write about, once I figure out how, is The Flinch — the way that years of isolation, vulnerability, and abuse left me twitching in fear with the least expression of displeasure or annoyance in those around me.

Last summer, my excellent hostess L, who has a magical combination of boundless compassion and ‘no b.s. thank you’, was the first to let me know that I’d become a nervous nellie extraordinaire, and helped me start to retrain myself.

When I moved in with J in October, he let me know, after a couple of weeks of me jumping and flinching and asking permission to use my own damn home, that The Flinch was back and needed to take a lo-o-o-ong vacation.

“You f****ed up” is part of his droll approach to that inescapable fact of life, frustration. It’s part of his gift for surviving with his golden personality intact. He says things like that to defuse feelings before they even start to pile up.

I grew up in New England. Do I need to say more? We don’t defuse … what, feelings? We are very intellectual in the way we admit that we even have any. The first few times he told me, “You f****ed up,” I stared at him in shock.
me, looking absurdly shocked
I’m used to it now. I laugh, or agree “I f****ed up,” or turn it around and say, “Yeah, you sure did.”

I can’t do any of that and flinch.

Long ago, I observed that a good partner was one who handed you the way back to yourself when you got lost in the confusion of life. Simply telling me it’s no big deal is not that helpful — I know in my head that it’s no big deal, but the feelings in this over-torqued, dis-mapped brain all charge ahead nevertheless.

J’s way of showing me, by making the bigness of the deal ridiculous, stops that routine in its tracks.

I f***ed up. So what? I’ve got a fresh pot of tea waiting on the other side of that radiator. And that’s what matters! 🙂

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2 Replies to “Expletives can be good”

  1. Loving the picture of your shocked expression honey!

    I just grabbed my bf and showed him this. The Flinch is me, as I’m sure it is many people out there. I was amazed at how my bf booted the self-deprecating, apologetic auto-response out of me, and it’s pretty similar to J’s way with you! I know so surely that Magic Dude loves me that I can take insults and laugh because I know they are in jest, initially I was not altogether sure how to take the “Dumbass” comment but you can hear the wink in his voice as he says it! The way he stops me from going into auto-response though is funny, he says “Oh shut-up, woman!” and I either burst out laughing or I say “No *you* shut-up” and then we both burst out laughing! It’s a breath of fresh air and really helpful to be pulled up short before I fret unecessarily! It didn’t start like that, it started with him explaining to me not to worry etc, and this is just the short-hand that has developed, tee hee! Gawsh I love ‘im. *dreamy sigh* Glad your boy helps you too, x

    Yes, sod the little things. The only important ‘little’ thing is the tea! 😉


    1. As it happens, that little knock broke the heater… so I hopped onto Ownsyourmom.com and ordered another one with free shipping. It will arrive Tuesday.

      Then I fixed a bunch of stuff around the house. I have enough credibility around here to go through a lot of heaters now.

      And, most importantly, the tea was luuuuuvly. 🙂

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