Finding Yourself… by Nancy Brophy

Police officers will tell you that despite movie bravado, if you taunt someone who is holding a gun to your head it is probably a mistake. Sentences like, “you’re not man enough to pull the trigger” turn out to be incorrect most of the time.

Taunting is big in novels, but saying to an IRS agent, “go ahead, I dare you to audit me” opens the door to solutions that you might regret.

A friend of mine and I were discussing today, how easy it is to get sucked into someone else’s emotions and suddenly you become a bit player in their drama. I once fired a man who was quite angry. His behavior pushed my buttons and it soon became a shouting match. I accomplished my goal, but all I felt was awful. I completely lost control and my words were not well considered.

There are very few things I can control in my life, but my emotional responses combined with my attitude should be number one on that short list. It is painful to admit but I have a hot temper that cools quickly, but once hurtful words have left my lips, I can’t call them back. Even if the other person simply shrugs and goes on with their lives, you never really forgive yourself.

I am quick-witted, which is both an asset and a liability. When I was in my 20’s, my mother once asked me why I engaged in a battle of wits with another woman who hadn’t come to the party as armed as I? She pointed out that even if there was no physical violence, my behavior was as mean as kicking a puppy. I have tried to remember that going forward and restrain myself from flinging poisonous barbs.

Last weekend an old friend and I got together. Twenty-years prior, she and I had been roommates briefly at a time when she was just learning to make her way in the adult world. Apparently among the numerous things I taught her (the theory here being I was older and wiser) was the dubious art of hanging towels in a third-fold on the rack. While that is a minor example of role modeling, we never know who ends up mimicking our actions.

I remember a quote from my youth. “Please Lord, let my words be sweet and kind, today, for tomorrow I may eat them.”

The thing I love about writing is the ability to edit and re-edit until everyone makes the perfect response. And if one of my characters ever said something as clichéd as, “you can’t handle the truth” he was probably talking to the author as much as delivering a line of dialogue.

As I piece my stories together, my characters are creating me as much as I am creating them. With their help I am becoming the person I always wanted to be.

Posted on February 9, 2013, in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nancy said: “The thing I love about writing is the ability to edit and re-edit until everyone makes the perfect response.”

    I agree! If I only I had someone writing my lines when I’m in a pickle. I always think of the I-should-have-said-that response hours or days later.

    I also need to remember your quote above for when I compose emails in the heat of emotion. Though I do try to re-read and edit my response until it doesn’t express the livid emotion I actually feel, I am not always successful. That need to press the send button with a vengence sometimes wins out.


  2. Nancy,

    I do believe you crept into my brain. . . hot-tempered, quick to cook, witty. . . I can verbally filet someone (unfortunately, have done so) and leave them every bit as wounded as if I’d used a physical weapon on them.

    Thanks for reminding us about the power of our spoken, as well as written word.


  3. Oh, man, were you really talking to me? LOL.


  4. This is such a fantastic post Nancy, can I post it over at my blog? I’ll link back here


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