Have you ever walked into a room to find the occupants go deadly silent whilst looking around awkwardly at each other, clearly trying to destroy the residual natter that has all too soon become painfully obvious was about you?
Let’s face it, it has happened to all of us at least once. More than once for me. But I suppose that’s karma for a self-admitted gossiper. I’m not bragging about this fact, I’m just stating it for what it is- a fact. In the past I have found myself hanging lovingly off each dirty secret told about another and chomping at the bit to get out in this big bad world and spread my new-found treasure-talk to anyone who will pin their ears back to listen.
Oh how I loved the gossip, it was like a sick addiction that sustained my confidence and held all of my insecurities at bay. Because really, if others had these ridiculous, embarrassing, dreadfully sad and unfortunate things happening to them that I could talk about behind their backs then it constantly seemed like my life was doing okay.
Odd reasoning I suppose now that I take a broader look at it, but the psyche wants what it wants- who am I to argue?
So I didn’t, and my consuming and spreading of chatter and chinwag continued- only growing more fierce and gruesome with each tale spewed from my murky little mouth. I got out of control. People knew me for my gossiping ways and believe me when I tell you that that is not a pretty light to be in.
My closest friends would want to tell me something but would have to endure a painstakingly long preface of promises that I wouldn’t repeat what I was about to hear. (Longer I can assure you than the norm for such conversations.) Two different family members on two different occasions came to me for advice but before explaining their plight to me said the exact same words, “Linds, you are great to talk to but you have such a big mouth…So you have to swear you won’t say anything about this to anyone…”
I would notice my kids overhearing my blather, listening intently to the cruel words I would say in regards to names they surely knew. My husband began to ignore me when I would speak out in my hogwash ways. Me, oblivious to the fact that he had no urge to listen to the drivel coming out of my mouth, just getting my kicks in alleviating the need to talk about another human being.
I began eavesdropping in on conversations to get a juicy tidbit of info that could later be evacuated into my circle of people. Or I would straight up butt into conversations asking who in fact ‘we’ are talking about.
It was a few months ago when I began to notice a shift. This shift came in such a monumental way but at the time seemed small and insignificant. Now I could not be more relived of it.
I walked into a room and upon entering received the deadly silence. The individuals who sat there looked at me in their guilty yet feigning innocence kind of way but I knew what was happening instantly. I played it cool, pretended I forgot something I left almost as quickly as I entered.
I went in that room wanting to share some piece of delicious chatter about something or other but as I left the urge to info-spit had left me.
Over the next few months I began to note things a little more closely. Things like a friend walking in on an argument between my husband and I…And I wondered if that would be the next rumour to feed the streets of our small town. Or running into an acquaintance at the grocery store and noting their glance at my thighs and I imagined the words, “God Lindsay Brown has got fat these days…” flooding over the lips of the people I once called friend.
It finally occurred to me that if I can talk so easily about others, why wouldn’t they be doing so about me too?
I can’t say that I have completely stopped gossiping, and I won’t try to come up with excuses as to why. But I can tell you that I am making a conscience effort to control these evil conversational ways. I have come to this point in my life that I realize it simply isn’t worth it. If I have something to say, that must be said, I will say it to your face. Everything else, the things that mean less than nothing, I will keep to myself.
Because these days, I would like to think, I have much better things to talk about than how fat whatshername has got. These days, I would like to think I have become a lot more intelligent than that.