If you can’t say something nice …


I woke up this morning feeling let down … let down by myself. I try to put my chin up and ignore slings and arrows, but every so often I disappoint myself and fire back with both barrels. While it feels good at the moment of impact, it feels less so when my temper cools.

The good news is that spring is in the air and there’s a distinct change afoot. Green blades are springing up on the lawn and a wild daffodil is blooming in the corner of the yard. I live in a historic district and I often wonder about the long-ago woman who planted it. Best of all, my Carolina Wren – the one that sleeps beneath my back-porch rafters – has returned with his puffed-up feathers and sweet, sweet song.

The change of seasons is a good time to make some changes in my life. I’ve already started. For the first time, I’ve joined a gym. And I’ve embarked on a healthier eating plan by replacing some meals with healthy juices. Although those changes are good, it’s also time to make personal changes too. After all, my mother always says that pretty is as pretty does – and lately, I haven’t been feeling so pretty. With that in mind, here are four things on tap:

• I’m going to stop borrowing trouble. I’m a stewer and a brewer; I’ve always been. I dwell on things that ultimately aren’t serious at all. (You know, the whole mountains out of molehills thing.) I’ll lie awake at night, my mind churning over issues that in the light of day amount to nothing: something I said, something someone else said, a real or imagined slight. I’m going to work on that.

• I’m going to relax. It’s not so much that I don’t like change; it’s that I like being in control. I want to decide if and when something happens or doesn’t happen. I don’t like to cede decisions to anyone else. I like to chart my own course, steer my own ship. I must learn to be more graceful and accepting when that’s not possible.

• I’m going to listen more and talk less. I don’t like silences. Sometimes I catch myself babbling just to smooth over quiet moments that seem awkward. I once watched a film in which the protagonist left silences for others to fill. The things people said in those quiet times were fascinating and extraordinarily revealing. It’s a technique I employed in my work life as a reporter and I want to apply it to my personal life too. Sometimes I get tired of my own voice!

• I’m going to be my own best friend. My husband’s job is in another state and I’m a writer who works from home. While I enjoy my own company, that kind of solitude on a daily basis can be daunting. As I mentioned, I joined a gym. I’ve resolved to take a group class at least three times per week. That will keep me moving about and active. And I’m going to take myself out to lunch or dinner at least twice per week without fail. My home is lovely and my two cats are sweet creatures, but it will be refreshing and healthy to get out more.

Finally, and not insignificantly, I’m going to work on those take-no-prisoners blasts. When I’m tempted to go in with guns blazing, I want to employ Thumper’s quote to his mother from Disney’s Bambi: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

4 thoughts on “If you can’t say something nice …

  1. Personally, I think you’re brilliant.

    In this post, you share thoughts and feelings about the relationship that you have with yourself and you’re vulnerable which is incredibly courageous. If someone reads what you have written and they’re honest with themselves, they will acknowledge that on one occasion if not several, they have thought the very same thoughts and felt the very same feelings about themselves. They will acknowledge that you’ve written exactly what they thought and felt. And so I do. I acknowledge that I could have written this myself.

    Thank you, Ronda. You’re beautiful. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

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