When my husband proposed we were in Vegas (one of our happiest of happy places). We had just seen a Cirque du Soleil show and were on the outdoor patio of the Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio hotel. We were lucky enough to snag a table facing the fountains. When the fountain show started after we’d been seated, he was smart enough to wait through “Proud to be an American” and a Celine Dion song, and when my favorite Frank Sinatra song “Luck Be a Lady” came on he popped out a box with the most glorious ring. And he sat there…looking at me. I stared at the ring…and then at him…and then at the ring again…and then back at him…and finally, when no big question or speech about his undying love for me seemed to be forthcoming, I asked “so…is this a gift?” After which he promptly asked me to marry him.
I knew he was proposing. He was verklempt, and it’s a scary question to ask (especially if this is round two), but I wanted to hear him ask the question damn it!
Growing up in a party of the country where we’re known for our “nice” I think we’ve rendered ourselves silent in many cases where we should be vocal. There are instances where I want so badly to say something and I just don’t. Sometimes, it seems like something is so obvious that I shouldn’t have to say anything. Other times, what I want to say may not be what the person with whom I’m speaking wants to hear. And then there are times that what I’m thinking may not be appropriate to say out loud. And yes, sometimes it is in fact inappropriate and shouldn’t be said, but seriously…wouldn’t things be so much easier if we all just said what we meant? The good, the bad, and the ugly?
I told you a while ago that I’d had a friend who had been going through a hard time this past year. I said that I’d given her some doses of tough love and didn’t feel very kind afterwards. I believe the highlight was when, talking about this horrible guy she’d been seeing, I said something to the extent of how great it would be if they got married and had kids and he killed someone else in a drunk driving accident and went to jail so she could raise her kids by herself while he sat in jail for manslaughter. Ahh yes…gentle, kind, and supportive, aren’t I? At the time, however, I was flabbergasted as to why she didn’t see what everyone else was seeing in this guy. I felt like I needed to just spit it out so she’d maybe (hopefully) snap out of it. In retrospect, I sound like a complete a-shole, but we’re still close and she knows that I was talking to her out of concern and love.
There is something to be said for speaking your mind, albeit respectfully, regardless of the outcome. If I had kept my mouth shut with my girlfriend she wouldn’t have known how incredibly concerned I was about the guy she’d been seeing and I would have regretted it. I’ve also had the devastating experience in which someone very dear to us passed away far too soon and I’ve dealt with the regret of not telling him things prior to his passing. The truth is…none of us know what will happen next in our lives…and I’m starting to think that sugarcoating, trying to be “nice,” or keeping quiet because we think our thoughts are obvious, isn’t doing anyone any favors.
I emailed my brother yesterday. A “come to Jesus” email if you will. I wasn’t trying to be discouraging or hard on him but I wanted him to really think about some of the things he was doing and planning. He responded really well and told me things I wasn’t aware of. It allowed us to have an honest conversation about his plans and I think those kinds of conversations are what keep us tight and remind us how much we love and care about each other.
It’s just as important to have the tough conversations with those we love as it is to have the really great encouraging conversations. Telling people how much they mean to me, or that they look great on a particular day, or that they are doing a remarkable job raising their children, or simply to keep on keeping on is incredibly important. I can’t tell you how much it means to me when my friends are supportive and encouraging. Or even, when my husband tells me I’m a babe, I know he feels that way but hearing him say it is incredible.
I also appreciate that my friends are willing to call me out when I’m being ridiculous, or running full speed down the wrong path, both of which I’m apt to do from time to time.
I think life is too short, and I’m surrounded by too many remarkable people, to keep things to myself. It’s time to speak up when it’s necessary!
TODAY: What if instead of keeping things to myself I spit it out and let people know how I feel? What if it not only strengthens my character but also strengthens the relationships I have with the people I adore?