I am a blurter. I admit it. Clever things have a way of popping into my head and shooting out my mouth before I have time to realize that they really aren’t all that clever.
I’ve been told it’s part of my ADHD, which apparently causes problems with impulse control. To me, “impulse control” sounds like a problem with overspending or kleptomania, not about saying idiotic things I have no business saying.
It has more to do with the fact that I can’t stand silence when there are other people around. Silence is uncomfortable and awkward, and I feel like it’s my inherent responsibility to fill that silence with words. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to feel that same inherent responsibility toward thinking about what those words should be before I blurt them out.
When I was a hairdresser, clients loved it. They thought I was saying outrageous things to earn better tips. “My husband won’t let me cut my hair,” a woman would say. “Tell him to sleep with a wig,” I’d retort. “Does this make me look sexy?” Another would ask. “I’d do you myself,” I’d assure her.
I talk about my sex life or my husband’s annoying habits or the most recent argument with one of my kids. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because the reality of something I said earlier in the day has just hit me, and I can’t go back to sleep until I’ve confirmed it with my husband.
“Did I really tell the neighbor she’s nagging the hell out of me?” I’ll demand, shaking him awake.
“Not in those exact words.”
“What were my ‘exact words’?”
“Something along the lines of ‘I’ve got a set of anal beads that haven’t been as far up my ass as you are right now.”
Basically, it boils down to a problem with filters: I don’t have any. I’ve been told that most people are able to think an idea through, turn it over in their brain a time or two, and then speak. If that’s true, I really envy those people. For me, by the time I think about saying something, it’s already out there.
My doctors say it’s because of the head injury that I suffered when the tree landed on me, but my family members all know I was like this before that night. Kind of like the short-term memory issues and difficulty focusing. If they want to blame our friendly neighborhood maple tree, they can, but my family and friends know I’ve always been like this.
It can be summed up by sharing the conversation that took place in the recovery room after the neurosurgeon rebuilt my spine the next day. I remember waking up feeling grumpy and scared and sore and when a visitor leaned in a little too close, I let her have it with every bit of pent-up anger and bad feelings I had ever felt toward her.
“Oh, God,” my husband said; “Her filters aren’t working.”
My sister looked at him in surprise and asked, “She has filters?”