Lessons Learned While Biting My Mouth

Look. I’m a thinker. Sometime the thinks come to me when I’m pondering profound mysteries of the universe. Sometimes they come to me when I’m failing at a task I’ve done every day almost since I was born. Right before my vacation, I bit my mouth. My lip, to be exact. Hard. And then I bit it in the same spot the next day, and once more time that night.

It was a bad bite. Bloody. Painful. Hard enough to draw tears, and deep enough to hurt for about a week afterward. It hurt to talk. Hurt to move my mouth at all, really. And I only remembered this last night when I bit my tongue while eating. Not a bad bite, but enough to make me sigh inwardly. Here we go again.

So this morning as I was getting ready for the day, I wondered what I would blog about, and I thought about complaining about biting my mouth and now my tongue. (Yes. Sometimes I contemplate making really stupid blog posts. Aren’t you thankful I don’t actually write them?) As soon as the thought occurred to me, I dismissed it. What in the world would I write about? It would just be long and whiny, and what would be the point? It wasn’t like I could come up with some neat comparison to the experience that would make sense on a broader scale, right?

Except then I did, and so I’m writing the post after all.

Here’s the thing: we all bite our mouth or our tongue from time to time. It just happens. We have a ton of experience eating. We almost always successfully chew things without letting our cheek or tongue get in the way. I don’t know of anyone who actively goes out trying to bite parts of their mouth instead of biting that delicious brownie or piece of bread or whatever else they were actually trying to eat. And yet it still happens. Do something enough, and you’re bound to make a mistake now and then.

And I think the same thing happens when we speak. There are times all of us do or say something that we didn’t mean to do or say. Maybe we didn’t think things through enough before we said it, or maybe we thought it would sound one way but it came out another. But it happens.

In today’s “gotcha” culture, it seems like people want to ignore that fact. Speaking as someone who blogs on a regular basis, even the occasional blog post will go awry. Some of them don’t age well over time. Something I wrote years ago might not read as smoothly in light of changes to society. I’ve seen people’s old posts brought out from a decade ago and used to beat them over the head. It’s not right.

I believe everyone should get some slack when it comes to what they do and say. I’m not saying they should have immunity, or they should be given a Get Out of Jail Card or anything like that. If I say or do something that’s hurtful, even if it’s unintentional, I’d like to think I’d apologize for the hurt caused. But I’d also like to think that apology would be accepted, and we could all move on quickly.

This is something I need to remember. It can be tempting to get upset because of something you read or hear. Tempting to hold it against someone. But we all have those moments when our words bite us in the same way we bite our mouths.

And that’s my deep thought of the day.

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