Monday, April 14, 2014

All the things we don't say:

Do you ever imagine what your life would be like if you gave voice to all the things you only think? Do you wonder what kind of person you'd be? I do. There's so much that goes unspoken in our world, and I don't even mean the deep, dark secrets of the soul that only ever get shared with one or two safe people (or a listening God). I mean the ordinary observations that run through our minds that are never sounded because they'd label us as weird or presumptuous or just too real. No one wants anyone to be too real, right? It just gets awkward.

For example: I am so unintentionally uptight about taking liberties that I will rarely use a person's nickname if I am not directly related to them or unless I have known them forever. But that doesn't stop me giving them nicknames in my mind, affectionate little titles that reflect how warmly I think of those people. What if I used those invented nicknames? Like, actually out loud? Would the sky fall?

And what if I actually, calmly and in an extremely measured fashion, told that woman at the florist the other day that she was being rude and unprofessional, and really had not earned any of the massive sum of money that we just handed over to her?

What if I told the checkout guy at Woolies that I was having a really pathetic afternoon and was feeling exhausted and fragile, and then his chirpy smile -- and 1950s hairdo and the way he laughingly watched my brother ride off through the mall on the shopping trolley -- all made things feel about 68% better?

What if I told that father that the way he treats his son is cruel, that it's bullying and there is no justification for that kind of behaviour?

What if I let the guy at the video store know that he is my favourite shop assistant there because he asks "How has your day been?" and then seems genuinely disappointed if I don't immediately go on and actually detail what's been happening? What if I told him that people don't usually care about strangers any more and that it's a remarkable thing that he does?

What if I said to the person I am only just getting to know, "I have never met anyone like you and I am intrigued by the way you experience life."?

Maybe I'll never be the kind of person who can offhandedly say these things. Maybe I won't ever use someone's nickname unless expressly requested to do so. Maybe the world isn't ready for all of us to become manic pixie dream girls.

But there are a few small ways I am trying to say the things that remain unsaid. I am trying to answer honestly when people ask, "How are you?" I am learning to be more bold in saying, "I'm sorry; I don't know what that is," when of course I'd rather sit tight and seem smart (even if it means shocking all the older women in the room because I haven't remembered who Prince George is, for goodness' sake). And I'm trying to be more confident about saying various incarnations of, "I am really glad I know you," even if I'm not certain we're 'at that level' yet. But I am really glad for the people in my life, and I want to be bolder about expressing that.

How about you? What would happen if you started speaking out the things you don't say?


  • Emily Dempster -- it's so much fun when someone digs out a past blog post and interacts with it. I loved your list of book that have shaped who you are! Thank you so much for sharing <3 li="">
  • Asea -- how I wish I could be a fly on the wall during one of your days. Your work (and study and social) life intrigue me so much!
  • Meaghan -- ha ha, I'm not brave; I'm a wimp! And my fear of heights seems to get worse as I get older. Now I'm at the point of closing my eyes when there are scenes shot from great heights in a movie, for crying out loud.


  1. I, too, don't say so many things. Most of them keep me out of confrontations, which is usually good, as my tired self can be quite internally critical. On the other hand, it also means I rarely confront people even when I should, so that's bad. Sometimes I really really really want to announce to a class of students that if they email me a stupid question, I am not going to answer it. Like when they ask me how many pages their paper should be, and we have told them for weeks, plus it's in the syllabus and posted on the course website. But I take a deep breath and just redirect them instead. Or yell at an empty room and then redirect them. ;-)

    I love my field! I suspect you would also enjoy it. ;-)

    BTW, feel free to nickname me if you ever feel so moved. :-)

  2. Sometimes I wish I said more and other times I wish I said less! I just wish I could think of more cool one liners like you were telling me about today. ;)

  3. Beautiful post, and really just how I often wish... like, if I was more honest, in a respectful sort of way, I could put a smile on someone's face or make them feel encouraged because I was thinking how nice a person they were, or how pretty and happy they looked - why not share it and make them happy? And sometimes... one wishes to say the truth - a negative truth maybe - and just doesn't so that there will be no awkward, embarrassing confrontations... 'speaking the truth in love', as the Scriptures say, and I think we need to apply that a lot more.

    Very sweet post, Danielle. Loved it <3 God bless

  4. Been thinking of this a lot lately, because I'm a quite a thinking person; a lot like this. I wish I were more open and extroverted so that I could speak the good things I'm thinking without feeling awkward or forced about it. I envy and admire people who be and say everything they are and think without any trepidation. Completely honest and real people are often loved because they are just, you know, them. You can use their names as an adjective. I guess what stops me from being like that is the 'people pleaser' in me.

    "Would this look weird? Would I make this situation awkward? Would this somehow unimaginably mess this up? Would they not like me after I say it? gasp!"

    It can be a curse to care too much. But thanks for the challenge. It was very timely.


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