If I have ever offended you, I do apologize. There are very few instances where my intent has been to offend someone, but I'm sure I have done it more than those few times I meant to. I've gotten much better at keeping my mouth shut over the years, which isn't always a good thing, but is a necessary, if not slightly unfortunate part of growing up and maturing.
I used to pretty much say whatever was on my mind. If I thought it, I said it (though this did not apply to anything that was potentially embarrassing, incriminating or personal for me). There were times I know I made my parents or siblings cringe and have to resist covering my mouth and escorting me out of the room. But, as my Mum recounts, there were also times I spoke up and said what no one else would say, and was dead on in my assessment of the situation. Some adults would be appalled, but I didn't always get a talking to like people sometimes thought I should.
I started university in a place that was like another planet compared to where I grew up. People didn't always appreciate my blunt, forthright, no-nonsense way of talking. So I learned to clam up, and keep some of my opinions and thoughts to myself. At times, I felt like a cartoon, turning several colours, shaking, steam coming out of my ears- just trying to be polite and quiet. But with practice, I got better at it.
What was an accomplishment in my college days, I now see as a weakness, even a fault. I've realized recently, that I'm not as much myself. One of the reasons for that is that I am polite bordering on demure in some instances, and it feels like I'm playing some character who is altogether foreign to me. I'm all for manners, believe me, we're big on that over here. But sometimes, things need to be said. My opinions might actually be helpful, not offensive. Occasionally a few truthful, loving, blunt words are exactly what are needed. I have had 3 separate occasions now where someone has said something to me that on the surface seemed really rude or inappropriate, but in truth was the exact thing I needed to hear, and said in the only way I could hear it in that moment. That's a gift.
I don't plan on going all mean and cruel, but I am going to speak up more. I think, in hindsight, that truth telling, blunt side of me was actually a gift and talent that needed some fine tuning, not a personality flaw to be squashed out of existence. Again, I hope to not offend. Besides, generally if I mean to offend, there is little question that that is the case. But I would hope more often, since I am a grown up (apparently), that my speaking my mind and seeking the right and truthful thing will be good and helpful, to me and to others. Somewhere along the way, parts of me have gotten lost, and I'm starting backwards down a road in hopes of finding them again.
Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.