I want to talk about a biggie of mine. A public airing might help.

Somebody ticks me off and boom, they’re off my radar. The offender’s crime doesn’t have to be that awful. Just awful enough for me to be too cowardly to confront them. (I’ve no problem with the big stuff. Call me Sheena-Queen of the Jungle when a bully needs thwamping. But standing up for myself on the little things? That’s been near impossible since childhood.)

Being human means being imperfect; I know. Yet the gavel in my head slams in judgment and the guilty party is ignored. No facing their accuser. No last words. They don’t even know there was a trial.

Crazy, right? How many times have I lived through this scenario? Hundreds?

Weeks ago, Friend made a mistake and didn’t own up. She shrugged it off, in fact. Reasonable for me to be ticked, but hey, we’re all human. Yet I didn’t let it go. I ignored her.

Friend’s husband, who is running for office, has a big yellow sign in my front yard. (Don’t you just love those beauties?) The storm we had the other day blew it apart. Instead of fixing it, I put it behind a wicker chair by the front door and kind of forgot about it, kind of been feeling guilty about it, especially since Friend reached out and left another voice mail yesterday, and sent another email last night.

I ignored both.

Then this afternoon the doorbell rang. I thought, “Crap. I bet that’s Friend. She’s gonna see the sign by the door. What if she thinks I took it down on purpose. Crap. I’ll make believe I’m not home and maybe she’ll go away and I can sneak out there and fix it after she leaves.”

Minutes tick by. Bell rings again. Crap.

A big girl would have answered the door. Big-Baby tip-toes to the front window. Should I peek through the curtains drawn against 97+ degrees of sweltering heat? Will she see the blind move? That’s when I hear a tap-tap-taping on the porch slider at the back of the house, opposite the front window. Gasp. There’s Sister, who is ill, bent over in said 97 degree heat, scratching her head at her lunatic sister.

Too embarrassing.

So tonight I listened to Friend’s voicemail, read her email, and emailed her back. Explained my feelings in plain words and asked her not to take my silence personally. No hard feelings. Life happens. I told her I’ll call next week.

I really hope I do.

Tagged , ,

10 thoughts on “Flaw

  1. KM Huber says:

    Been meaning to respond to this, Deb. Thank you, again, for making easier for me to recognize myself. I know this “flaw” so well but just as you have proved in your post, there is a time to recognize it and let it go. To me, you did that when you e-mailed her and expressed yourself. Ultimately, making a similar response to a similar situation helped me. You know how these first steps are….


    • deb reilly says:

      Hi, Gracious Karen. I want to be able to speak my mind (directly, firmly, with kindness) without second guessing myself. If I didn’t take things personally, I’d be better at it. And really, taking things personally is silly, isn’t it? Good luck to both of us, moving forward!

  2. Diane says:

    Hi Deb.

    Fear of confrontation? Uncomfortable being you? By writing it you’ve already allowed for the change. I do hope you call her. Doesn’t matter how she may feel – it’s how you feel that counts. Having ‘guilt’ over the broken sign… you can’t stuff things down any more and I’m glad for that. I’m glad for you.


    • deb reilly says:

      Thanks, Diane. I’m glad for it too. I realized after writing this post that I’m still squashing things down. I will call her; I want to keep this momentum.

  3. Chris says:

    What I like about this piece is the honest ability to describe a situation many people can recognize in themselves, a truly universal flaw. I can hear your voice in the writing. But one thing I would avoid is answering people who want to psychoanalyse you. As a writer, that could drive you crazy. It could be more humorous, if fact I thought of “I Love Lucy.”

    • deb reilly says:

      Thanks, Chris…er…Ethel? 🙂 I wasn’t feeling too funny when I wrote this, but looking back it is funny. Not being straightforward is such a waste of time and energy.

  4. Loved this piece Deb…..had me laughing. Great, sharp wit and great writing. Keep it up girlfriend. Tovah

  5. erin says:

    Big-baby no more! I like this one!

    And walking on our tiptoes to avoid confrontation on behalf of someone else’s feelings does little to no good for our own spines [figuratively & literally].
    Someone wise taught me that… hmmm I wonder who? 😉

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