The conversation, actually several of them, keep playing over and over again in my head. It keeps me awake at night. It occupies way too much space in my brain. And, it's so old and boring I don't know why I bother, other than it still really bugs me.
I'm talking about the "I coulda-shoulda-woulda-said" conversations that I just can't shake-- The ones when I regretted the words the moment they crossed-- or rather didn't cross my lips and I knew I'd be replaying them for years to come.
95% of the time, I was "being polite" to the person I was talking with instead of really speaking my mind. The other person was usually telling me my business but I either kept my mouth shut or I made light of the load of you know what they were shoveling my way.
The other 5% of the time, I was just too stinking slow to think of a good comeback line. Damn!
Countless times I've rerun these little chats with myself, remembering every detail of the original conversation, only this time, in my head, I find my mojo, my voice, my nerve, my attitude, my balls-- whatever you want to call it, and speak up for myself saying what I really mean.
Like my sixth grade teacher-- The meanest woman an 11 year old ever met. Every single conversation we had for an entire year started with her saying some less than encouraging remark like "I knew you'd get it wrong." Oh yeah, she was a real inspiration. But every time she blasted me, I was polite, and frankly, I was afraid of her, so I didn't let on that she was a mean old battle ax with bad breath who didn't know squat about my academic potential.
Imagine having that conversation with yourself for the past 40 years! Like I said, some things take up too much space in my brain, but I still remember each instance and know exactly what I should have said.
My last conversation with my high school sweetheart rattles around my head too. In short, he wanted to get married, I didn't, so he cheat on me. Yes, the same guy that was going to marry a virgin (aka me!) slept with somebody else. And then he told me it was all my fault-- To which I responded...
"Oh Bob, I am so sorry, I didn't mean to make you cheat on me."
You can only imagine the talking to I've given myself over that one! If I had it to do over again, I would bitch slapped Bob until he begged me to stop and then I'd slapped him some more.
But the conversation repeating in my head is not to the teenage boy, it's to the grown man of today, who is why I have never made apologizes for a man's shortcomings ever again.
Some of my other conversations are too colorful or just plain ugly to repeat but suffice it to say, I would have taken a whole lot less hatefulness and fired way more attitude back in my defense.
It only takes a song on the radio or seeing a particular style of clothing to spark a memory that rewinds a conversation. Other times the taste of a certain food or the smell of a certain scent is so powerful it gives me pause-- Until the I-coulda-shoulda-woulda-said conversation starts up again.
The good news is that none of my original conversations on instant replay have happened in the last 25 years, rather they are conversations from "my youth". And in each case, they were a significant life lesson that, although painful at the time, shaped in part, who I am today. At least that's how I justify it....
But let's face it, I talk to myself way to much.
Do you have I-coulda-shoulda-woulda-said conversations?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins