Growing up Black and Southern, I've been privy to a lot of distinct expressions.
Some of my favorites are ones that, as a child I completely misunderstood, but the were so colorful the sent me in to peals of laughter. Now, as an adult, they make a little more since ( some of them) and still often move me to laughter.
My grandmother would bark these lil' gems out randomly in conversation. Some times just trying to get our attention or sometimes they were "pearls of wisdom" and more often than not character assessments( and soooooooooo accurate.)
One that would come across often is the title of this blog. "Speak ass(hole), Mouths' gone on vacation."
Getting past the shock of having that tossed in the middle of polite conversation or content silence, which of course means she had spoken to you and was awaiting your response or you'd entered a room with out acknowledging the people already present, you'd do as you'd been bade. As long as you didn't respond with "huh" or "what", which indicated you'd "lost your mind and your home training." and surely "must want your ass warmed up, today."
It is a simple phrase really and artistic in it's delivery. It's designed to shock you into paying attention and then to trigger a response. You're shocked and confused by someone demanding that your anus talk, as if your mouth literally looked at it in a board meeting of all your body parts and said " so I'm slated for Fiji for the next three weeks, Anus your going to need to take over all vocalizations until I return." I mean, what does that even look like? Would I need to bend over and my butt cheeks would move? Would I be flatulent? Was my grandmother fluent in farts? How the heck did that work? ( and as you can see I was always a very imaginative and literal child. The other term that bothered me was similar to this "talking out your ass(hole)". Really, how the hell does that work?))
The purpose of my blog isn't exactly the same, but none the less when I was contemplating recent situations I heard my Mu( grandmother) clear as a bell. The thought had actually been swirling in my mind for several weeks, but I'd put off writing it. I mean last month I was pretty out there with the introspective. I felt like if I put this thought in the universe, I'd undoubtedly be faced with some other thoughts that needed to come out.
And then it happened. Someone mistook something I said or didn't say and again Mu came to me. This time she hooked me around the waist with her trust cane and spun me to look her in the eye. "DIDN"T YOU HEAR ME?! WHAT SUDDENLY YOU'RE DEAF AND DUMB?! YOU WHO ALWAYS HAS SOMETHING TO SAY?! SPEAK, I SAID!"
What Mu was urging me to do was more in common with the last blog. Telling people when they'd hurt you. Saying exactly what you think and mean. As adults we don't speak often enough. We just assume people know what we need. What they mean to us. That we are or are not talking about them when we do speak.
Sometimes when things are bothering me I just don't speak until I'm pushed, but when I'm pushed I say all the things I would never say. I forget to be tactful. I don't see in shades of grey. Or Violet. Or Rose. I only see the colors in my spectrum. In whatever emotion I'm feeling. And people tend to be shocked. They either are expecting the placid "oh, no nothing is is wrong" or a meek " I'm sorry let me get it together and attend to you." But what they get is ...well they often end up hurt. Sometimes I am sorry they are hurt. Most times I'm not, because its likely that I've needed to voice what ever has come out, albeit probably in a more tactful way, for a while.
So If you follow me on FB, you know I tend to have "code blacks". It means I'm off the grid for any number of reasons. Typically if its for a REASON aka someone hurt my feelings and so i'm gonna go pout, or i'm sick I'll state that reason. I have said many times that I share... A LOT. But I'm selective about what I share. I share just enough, I share exactly what I want to share. Even when I am sharing something that is seemingly deep. I've calculated the exact risk, and know exactly how much and what level I am going to share. From my comfortable space in my colorful office, I can still protect the core of me, while sharing "seemingly" everything.
In my mind, I've developed a system. Code Blacks that are triggered by "something" are normally proceeded with inexplicable outbursts of " you know what's" and/or " emotional revelations". Those code blacks are really just about me needing to embrace my introversion. I need to be away from the world. I need to re-evaluate my place. I need some quiet time. I need to be in my cocoon and only hear the sound of my own heart beat dancing with the sound of two super needy puppies. In those times even the closest people to me are shut out. I am truly deaf and blind. I honestly have scare alarm tones that my husband can set off remotely to remind me to check in with him. I have a couple of people who are alerted if I'm going to leave my home and travel to be alone. ( yeah sometime code black means that i leave the state of Texas and hide away in a place that is OFF the grid). This people are in place because I do have medical issues and sometimes my introversion is driven by the compounding of those things. And I need to make sure that even in my seclusion I can receive medical attention should I need it. In those cases, cases where I am sick, I promise you the people who need to be there for me are! And most likely I'm home in my sleeping bag in my closet with an Alpha approved baby sitter.
But there are so many people close to me that I tend to say, look I'm sick right now. So I'm going to go dark for a while and I'll be back soon. Because people worry and I understand that.
Other times code black, just means that I am busy. I have two new retail businesses aside from a day job, writing( and all that comes with it) and baking for select customers.
Those code blacks are ...just code blacks. It just means that I am a busy person just like every other person. But because I make it a point to be so available to so many people all the time I just want you to know that I have to pull back for a minute or two. Nothing is wrong.
Maybe Alpha is home and we have something special planned.
Maybe I have twenty cakes to bake or 20k words to write. Maybe I just need a moment to sit in my closet with my sleeping bag to decompress before I have a "i hate the world code black".
I am pretty tech savvy...well modestly so. I use a few programs to condense things into one or two dash boards that filter, file and separate so that I can see everything by toggling between to windows. Its complected ( because those more tech savvy than me are like you know you can condense this even more and those not tech savvy are like "wait, what the feck is all this"), But It also suits my needs of introversion, because depending on the level of code black I can easily assign things to be filtered and ignored with out actually logging out of things ( Drives alpha MAD that I am ALWAYS available and logged in to EVERYTHING, even when I am NOT available. Which is another reason I offer code blacks. Because of my dashboard, people think I'm being rude and ignoring them but honestly, your talking to my laptops sitting in random places around my car, house, hiding places and the only persons who could possibly answer you might be my dogs, they don't have thumbs and they cant type and frankly, if your not in the room to give them treats and belly rubs well they don't care about you.)
This next little bit is about to be harsh and there is no way to say it without being that way. There is no one that is special enough to me right now that I will ignore code blacks for. Code blacks go across the board. Especially if I leave my home to achieve one. Don't get me wrong. I love lots of people and they are very special and important to me. There are some built in work arounds for code blacks. But Its all up to me if I feel like responding. That sounds bad right. Or does it only sound bad because I'm saying it. Everyone functions this way. I'm just flat out saying it.
I probably shouldn't have responded. But the compulsion to "speak" as my grandmother thumped her can across the dinning room table louder than that damn heart buried under the floor boards drove me.
Of course I'm sure... more than sure that my response hurt and offended. And while the tender parts of me regrets it. There is a part of me that is showboat-y and callus going "you asked for it. its not like you weren't warned to let sleeping dogs lie."
Which brings me to this. Sometimes, I don't speak when I should not because I'm obviously riddled with more issues than the a rabbit shot with a buck shot has holes. Some times I don't speak because it is you. Not me.
Sometimes my silence is in deference to our relationships. Because despite my anxiety, my need to fight what could be a very cold and uncaring side of me is greater. I am not so evil that I don't want to be wanted. I just don't want to be clung to.
I know that is hard for some people. They don't understand how someone can be so selfish (and me be honest, I know that my introversion is very selfish. I function on a level that is different than anyone i think I've ever heard of. I've had way to many doctors with lots of letters behind their names to think any differently. Somethings I can't control, but the way I manage is completely self designed and self important no matter what way I spin it). The fee like every code black is a cry for help or attention. And eventually, they let me know they feel that way. I get frustrated with those people, because THEY are the reason code blacks were invented. There was a time I'd just slip away. Stop talking. Cancel accounts change phone numbers and reject all mail. I walked off the face of the earth for a year once. It was peaceful. But it drove my mother insane. She was royally pissed to be getting random postcards with no return address. Hell, I can't even say they were random. I prepaid for them and there were only three.
In my "need" to be normal, I developed a false meekness. One that forced me to defer to others when I really didn't want to. I want to be loved and accepted, but I understand its hard for people to deal with me and my moods. Other people think they are introverts but they really aren't. They are just regular people who happen to enjoy alone time. Other people think I am not and introvert ( and they'd be correct, introversion is a Part of me, but not the diagnosis as a whole) and that if they stay close to me they can understand.
Staying close isn't what I need. I'm just like everyone else. I need only to know in my heart that you'll be there when I need you. My very best friends. Jennifer, Aniece, Tawania , the six Muses, Have all mastered this. They know the difference in "someone better go check on Drea" and " hey, when's the last time you heard from Drea." They understand the value in seeing that "available" Icon, next to an online symbol as opposed to " the number you're calling has been disconnect or is no longer available."
Sometimes, when people are too much for me in particular, I shut them out. Systematically. I just develope avoidance skills pertaining to that person until I decided I can handle them. A lot of times I can't ever handle them again. I cut them off. Completely. And I find the peace that I was looking for.
Other people mean that much more to me. So I have to have moments where I just can't speak. Because what I want to say is, "You're actually getting on my last damn nerve."
What I mean is " I really love you and I don't want to hurt you but I'm reaching my breaking point and even though it has nothing to do with you, you're too much for me so I need to not talk to you in particular or anyone in general until I decompress."
But people are sensitive. So I can't say either of those things.
I also can't say "Ok, you're really getting on my nerves, and its not me its you. You're doing xyz and the third and it is truly bothering me."
All three of those things can be cutting and cause irreparable damage. But so can be silent.
Because sometimes when you don't speak, people take liberties with you. Sometimes they are unintentional based on your past actions or reactions or lack or either.
They assumed because you didn't speak before, that you didn't object to their treatment.
Or if they are being intentional they assumed that because you didn't speak you are submitting to their authority over you.
Some people think that because you reacted a certain way with someone else, your reaction with them will be the same way.
Their are differences between those intentional and unintentional people. You just have to keep your eyes open and listen to what they say in your silence.
With people who unintentionally take liberties, be gentle with them ( yeah I am actually talking to myself.) They are only dealing with the cards you handed them. Sometimes you have to snap and then take a breath and say "Ok, wait. Lets get this straight."
I deal with intentional irritants in two ways. I go into silence or I snap. Same way I do with those that i I know or come to know, mean me no harm. But with these people I look for clues to their motivation. and when I discover it I treat them the same as the others. But I know in my heart who they are. And Its not long before they remove themselves from me. One way or the other.
Loose tongues will reveal you.
Don't sleep on my silence, its not me...its totally you. Don't speak, I already know what you're thinking. Besides, you're always talking out your ass.