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Stumbles & Blunders Caught in Real Time

My friend and I often send each other audio recordings in lieu of texting. In an exchange a few months ago, the topic was sushi and, pacing my apartment, I enthusiastically began speaking about my favorite vegan sushi rolls. Speaking faster than I could think, I said something about how good sweet potato rolls are. I followed that by raving about peanut avocado roll–.

My friend is highly allergic to nuts. Of course I know this. But in this moment of excitedly sharing my lunch plans, I completely disregarded this in my brain. Or rather, I simply spoke before I thought. I sent the message anyway and we both laughed at the way I have a real time recording of putting my foot in my mouth.

I’ve been thinking about this recording since it happened. It feels like a rare gift… to see the mistake as you’re making it.

It made me wonder how many times I’d said something I regretted and not caught it in time. Something worse than a simple, “I forgot you can’t eat the food I’m recommending from a state away.”

Would I stop the recording? Would I play it back? Would I double down on the mistake? On that last one, I like to think not. Ah, but certainly I have before.

It’s a strange thing, to know what you’re doing, saying, thinking is wrong as you’re doing it.

Perhaps a part of growing up is getting better at identifying the mistakes before they’re vocalized. Dissecting the situation and pausing before it becomes a full blown mess. Thinking before acting. Listening before speaking.

I like to think of the peanut avocado roll recording as a little gift. It was a reminder to slow down. To take a deep breath in between sentences. To not bulldoze a conversation with only what I have to say. To think, for a moment, about someone else’s lived experience before shouting my own.

No harm was done on the day of the peanut avocado roll recording. But perhaps it is a lesson for the days I haven’t been as lucky… the days my stumbles have caused harm. Perhaps it is a gentle reminder—not everything need be a rushed audio message. Sometimes moving slowly, moving thoughtfully, and moving kindly is the best way to communicate.

You’re not in a race. Take a moment. Clear your head. Prepare what you need to say. And do so with grace, love, and understanding. But more important than that, be prepared to listen. You’ll surely still stumble and blunder and flail and slip. But a well-intentioned word goes further than a rushed frenzy. May you have the patience to move delicately through your week.


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