As we are waking up from our Christmas Break slumber and getting back into a routine here at the Hobbs house, the topic of New Year’s resolutions has inevitably arisen. Oddly enough it was our nine year old son that brought the topic up. He proclaimed on New Year’s Day that he wants to build up his arm strength over the next year (he is a soccer guy so his legs get a lot of work, but arms not so much). My daughter immediately chimed in about joining him in the workout resolution with rounds of sit-ups each day.
At first I was a little disturbed about their plan. Had I been neurotically worrying over my body and it rubbed off on them? Sure their dad and I try to stay active and fit, but I’ve never made a new year’s resolution about my arms or abs. After further inquiry, it turns out they have a big comprehensive fitness test complete with push-ups, sit-ups and laps coming up in a few weeks in P.E. and they are worried about passing it. I think it has to do with some national push to fight childhood obesity. It sounds like their teacher has taken this quite to heart (and shoulders and abs). I guess elementary school ain’t what it used to be.
As the kids were planning out their fitness routine they asked me what my resolutions would be. Last year I went Paleo to aid in treating my allergies so they wondered if I had a health related plan again. At first I honestly couldn’t think of an answer. We’ve cut a lot of the junk out of our diet already and I don’t really care much what I look like in a swimsuit.
And then I remembered. Around Christmas I had gotten a mental health massage and chatted some with my massage therapist about my jaw problems. It is often tight and sore and sometimes makes way too much noise when I open it first thing in the morning. She asked if I was a clencher and I admitted that I was, bite guard and all. She compassionately mentioned that sometimes people clench their jaw if they are working too hard to hold their tongue. Oh . . . Bullseye.
I’ve always leaned towards quiet and shy. When I first started school, some of my classmates actually wondered if I was able to speak I was so silent in class. Also, I grew up in the deep South where girls are expected to mind their words. Always be polite, never rude. Don’t talk too much or know too much or else others won’t like you. Just smile and be sweet.
All of this cultural conditioning worked very well on me. When we are having trouble with customers at the coffee shop where I barista, I am often nominated to talk to the problem party as I will be the least likely to offend them or make them mad. Me and my honey coated words.
But with that gift of diplomacy also comes a price. I still hold silent far too much. I weigh my words until they are so heavy that I cannot get them out of my mouth. I just hold them in with a tight tongue and clenched jaw.
So I’ve decided for 2014 my resolution will be to let loose my tongue.
I’m not exactly sure how it will go. I hope it will manifest in some good ways like books written and classes taught. Honest and meaningful conversations had with friends. More and deeper connections with others in the world.
But it might get a little messy too.
My husband offers that when people are finding their voice it sometimes comes out squeaky and uneven.
Like when I just couldn’t hold silent after a woman zoomed through the pedestrian crossing I was in the middle of with my kids while shopping recently. When we saw that Lexus drive round by our parked car my tongue found its way to sharing with her my words of frustration. The kids were a little scared. The driver eventually apologized. My husband called me Tiwanda and promised he’d keep some bail money on hand just in case.
And me? Honestly it felt pretty great to speak my mind for once.
So hopefully you will all bear with me as I go through a late adolescence of finding my voice. I am so grateful to have this place to write and share and say what is on my mind. And as I loosen my own held tongue, feel free to join in. I love to read your comments and hear your thoughts on matters far and wide.
Oh, and my second resolution is to have more fun. Thereby making this basset my official loose tongues, fun embracing symbol for 2014