The difference in a moment
February 9, 2010 by aplaceforthoughts
You’ve seen the movie “You’ve Got Mail,” haven’t you? You know, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I can’t imagine that there are many who haven’t. I found myself feeling upset, hurt, sad, embarrassed and ashamed the other day after an argument. (I’m sure I could continue on but I might as well stop with ashamed) I said some evil things to someone I was upset with. They weren’t all that nice to me either but when I came back – I attacked! Nobody deserves that! What was I thinking? I said a couple of things that I can’t believe I said. Things that I don’t know I should ever be forgiven for. If I had stepped back from the argument and had some time to breathe I would’ve never said them. Never. I tried to rationalize it a little bit afterwards. Thinking “well I did ask to end the conversation and they weren’t being all that nice to me” but that doesn’t matter. I should have been stronger. A better person. I should have been the person that I would like to be. Ironically, I will be the one to beat myself up about it for a very long time. Heck, the other day I was thinking about something that I said a few years ago and still regret and obviously have not forgiven myself for. I was thinking about the argument later that day and the movie “You’ve Got Mail” came to mind. Specifically this scene:
Joe Fox: [talking via email, to who he doesn’t know is Kathleen Kelly] Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condescension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them. “Hello it’s Mr Nasty”. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about…
Kathleen Kelly: [talking via email, to who she doesn’t know is Joe Fox] No I know exactly what you mean and I’m completely jealous. When I’m confronted by someone I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning over what i should have said. For example what should I have recently said to…
[meaning confrontation with Joe]
How come I couldn’t be Kathleen Kelly? Why couldn’t my mind just have gone blank?
But if you remember later in the movie even Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen became that version of herself. Like in this scene, her breakthrough:
Joe Fox: I think you’d discover a lot of things if you really knew me.
Kathleen Kelly: If I really knew you, I know exactly what I’d find: instead of a brain a cash register, instead of a heart a bottom line.
Joe Fox: What?
Kathleen Kelly: I just had a breakthrough.
Joe Fox: What is it?
Kathleen Kelly: I have you to thank for it. For the first time in my life, when confronted with a horrible, insensitive person, I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I said it.
Joe Fox: I think you have the gift for it. It was a perfect blend of poetry and meanness.
I will tell you that there was nothing poetic about my meanness. I know that in situations like this we have to move on and hope for the best but why couldn’t I control myself? So much could have been avoided if our conversation ended about 4 minutes into it. Our apologies have been said but when will I, if ever, forgive myself for the way I acted and the things I said. I think that even in the movie Joe Fox mentions how remorse inevitably follows. That’s for sure! I’m so relieved that this argument is now behind us but I so just wish it never had happened. I wish that more than I can put into words. If I could just go back a few moments in that conversation it could have been so much better. It’s too bad that the good things about you can’t erase the bad, isn’t it?
Do you have something that you wish you could erase? Share it on the submit your story page and I’ll get it posted for you as soon as possible! Or just leave it as a comment if you’d like.