What? What Did I Say? ~ Sunday Spotlight by Christine


What? What Did I Say?:

You've Been Warned

I turn 53 in a few days. Though this isn’t a huge milestone, it is evidence of the passing of another year, regardless of the number of birthday candles threatening to burn down the house. I am noticing changes occurring with the addition of each candle, though, some good and some not so much. One of the not-so-much issues is that of the decline of my social filter.

I have lived my entire life as a people-pleaser, a peacekeeper, a confrontation-avoider. I worry excessively about offending others or hurting feelings. I wish I had a dime for every time I have said or done something that felt completely natural and harmless at the time and then obsessed mightily over it later (like at 3 a.m.), wondering if I hurt feelings or said something inappropriate but had been completely oblivious to it. Even worse are the moments when I do say or do something inappropriate for the situation, and worse yet, when I am chastised for it. They happen infrequently, thank goodness, because I feel guilty for days on end, wishing I could take back what I said or did and fix the problem my failed brain-to-mouth connection created.

An example of this happened last January. Oh, yes, I remember it quite clearly because it still fills my chest with pangs of guilt, especially since it was brought up again last week while we were dining out with a couple of my husband’s co-workers. We were discussing the game Cards Against Humanity, and one of these sweet young ladies was saying it’s a fun game but can get quite offensive and inappropriate. She then looked at me with a rather knowing smirk and said, “Oh, you’d really like it.” I glared at my husband and demanded, “What sort of a bad reputation have you set up for me with your friends at work?” He immediately reminded me that I had done that for myself—at K’s party. The party way back in January. The party that included a small group of the Dear Husband’s co-workers, including the young lady currently at the table. The party where I got to meet Hub’s new boss. The party where the social filter failed once again…

While at this party I found a new friend in the wife of one the co-workers. She loved reading romance, and I was sharing with her some of my beloved m/m titles. There may have been some consumption of Galway Girl cocktails, but not enough to cause much of an issue… aside from the social filter thing. We were seated on a couch near the kitchen, where the majority of the guests, The Hubs included, were gathered and munching on the delectables being offered. My new friend was sharing some authors and titles with me and mentioned that a lot of them were pretty smutty. Eureka! I was so excited to find a kindred spirit who shared a passion for erotic novels, I exclaimed, “Oh! I love smut!” The conversation in the kitchen came to a grinding halt.“I have to work with these people,” I was sternly admonished by The Hubster, who rarely gets upset by anything. I had surely done it this time. However, instead of apologizing for my inappropriate outburst, I tried to recover by saying something about how open-minded and non-judgmental everyone here at the gathering was, and blah, blah, blah went the Galway Girl (though not really), while the brain was trying to catch up and figure out what kind of damage control was going to be necessary.

Needless to say, I was mortified and struggled to retain some form of dignity for the duration of the party. What was far worse was the fact that I had embarrassed my dear spouse, and there wasn’t any way I could remedy the situation. I remained under a cloud of oppressive guilt for over a week afterwards, and all I could do was pray that those who witnessed my behavior would soon forget about it. Fat chance, as was proven at dinner last week. In her attempt to alleviate the uncomfortable turn the conversation had taken, the sweet girl did suggest that my party fail had most likely occurred because I had partaken of “one of every” alcoholic beverage being served that day. Um, waiter? Can I have another order of humiliation, please? To go?

Although this is probably the worst scenario of the year, it certainly isn’t the only. Since most have revolved around my saying something sexual that resulted in the embarrassment of one or both of my adult daughters, I shall decline to mention them here. There will be many more opportunities for the social filter to sputter and die before the year does, as the holidays will bring all four of my kids (the two lovely daughters, the brave new son-in-law, and the devoted, long-term boyfriend) back under the same roof with us for several days. Oh, the joy of the season. Maybe some duct tape would help squelch my inevitable verbal diarrhea.

Yes, the social filter is gradually becoming more and more faulty. It is unreliable, regardless of alcohol consumption or situation. I am learning that the hard way, one incredibly awkward moment at a time. Yet I have some people in my life who don’t judge my occasional incapacity to staunch the flow of impropriety, my tendencies to say and do things that I will undoubtedly regret during the wee hours of the morning. I have met them on Facebook, through this blog, and even in person at GRL. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to these special people who love me just as I am: my Prism Book Alliance peeps.

Because you get me.

I don’t have to worry about my filter so much when I am chatting with you, and this rings true for all of the interactions that I have had within the LGBTQ community. The lack of judgment is liberating, refreshing, and a huge relief. Socially awkward moments certainly aren’t first world problems, but the fact that they are rarely an issue here is an example of the kind of love and acceptance that is prevalent within the warm embrace of this group.

So thank you to my PBA peeps and to my dear friends and family within the community, for getting me. Thank you for allowing me to be myself, to be awkward without judgment, to be appropriate in my inappropriateness.

My limping social filter and I wish you all a joyous holiday season. Maybe Santa will leave some duct tape in my stocking. 😉

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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3 thoughts on “What? What Did I Say? ~ Sunday Spotlight by Christine

  1. “… to be appropriate in my inappropriateness.” <<<<< that's it right there. 😀

    It's called living in the mental gutter and I'm a permanent resident. Welcome!! We always have snacks and drinks, and drop our mostly non-functioning filters off at the door.

    It makes me so happy to know you feel this way. I echo it all. Acceptance is grand. <3


    • Hurray for the mental gutter! One of my favorite fictional characters is Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Two of her quotes always strike particular chords in me: “If you only knew all of the things I want to say but actually don’t…” and “Tomorrow is a new day without any mistakes in it.” Thank goodness for the moments when the filter works and keeps me from saying everything that pops into my head, and the forgiveness of others when that perfect tomorrow gets completely obliterated by the moments when the filter falters. That’s going to be my new excuse. “Oh, so sorry. Filter falter, you know.” lol


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