The past week has been defined by words. Not only have I been surrounded by the words that I am creating for my story, but I have had to face words of others' creation - gossip.
I will be the first person to admit that I delve into the gossip coffers from time to time, making deposits or withdrawals. I will not try to excuse it in any way, but I would never say anything to be intentionally hurtful. There are mainly three ways that I will gossip. In one sense, I am a 70 year old woman trapped into a much younger body - I like to talk about things that happened "back in the day". For instance, sometimes, I will tell stories (which I know to be true) about people that I used to know or date. I exaggerate and weave the stories into silliness that usually makes my audience laugh. The embellishments are obvious, and they're so ludicrous that not only does it not matter, but it makes the truth much more interesting. It is almost always extremely self-deprecating.
Every once in a while - and it is probably one of my biggest failings - I like to people watch. When I people watch, I make jokes. I make up stories about those people and share them with whatever friend is close by. I even save what I see for poems or short stories that you will never read. You may not think it is gossip, and you might be right, but if someone took what I said and passed it on - it could soon be the latest notch in the rumor mill.
I also like to hear gossip, but I can honestly say that when I hear something that is none of my business or something I know absolutely nothing about, I usually won't pass it on. Sometimes, I forget it as soon as the subject is changed. I will enjoy the story told, and then move on with my life. I guess the storyteller/storylover in all of us comes out once in a while, and we wallow in the warm gossipy juices of What Is None Of Our Business.
When it comes to gossip about me, I'm always very shocked by it. I am a very bland person, and my life is probably as interesting as that of the common garden slug. Barring the sudden arrival of Morton's girl, I'm beyond notice. I like it that way. I'm not showy like a snail, carrying my house around like I'm some wannabe turtle. I keep things simple. Why would anyone want to talk about a slug? Who cares if a slug has moved underneath a different leaf or rock. It's just a slug. Right? Now I'm not saying that I'm not important and special and blah blah blah - I'm just saying that there is not much remarkable going on in my neck of the woods. There are much more interesting things to talk about. I will admit that I have had scandals back in my day, but nothing of any significance in the past 2-3 years.
Very recently, someone that I used to know said something extremely hurtful about me to someone who does not know me. Then, through the grapevine, it ended up in the ear of a person who I care about very much. Most people can shrug these things off easily, but not me. I am not a celebrity nor was I ever even popular in school. I have never been a subject of interest. Not only am I unused to people discussing my mediocrity at all, but I am astonished by the fact that I have near-strangers saying one of the most insulting things (about a very private aspect of my life) that I have ever heard about anyone, let alone myself. I have to be honest - I did not know how to deal with it. I am aware that I should just shrug it off and not give another thought to the matter at all, but all I can do is wonder why someone would be so ugly to me. It was intentional, it was malicious, and it was done for reasons beyond my fathoming.
I want this to be a funny post. I want to make jokes about Fraggles, fry cooks, or Lindsay Lohan's short jail term. I want to be beyond the notice of strangers. I want to be able to write. I want to finish NaNoWriMo. I want to be able to get the words out, so I can fuss over them like they are children who have been jumping in mud puddles and clean them up. I want the words that are of my own making, that I get to control, that I get to manipulate into harmless lies that tells stories about people that are only real in my head. I want the hateful words being said to be taken back and forgotten. Most of all, I want to forget how much words can hurt.