False Steps

I wake up every morning to the mockingbird singing a variety of sweet songs. 

I stand and watch the birds from the patio door, and they seem to know just what to do year after year. It's like they are programmed to do these things. 

I wish I was programmed to do the correct things. Life would not be nearly so hard.  

Look how fast Goldilock's hair is getting. Just planted it last week, but she's already got a full head of hair. 

The other day I walked down to the first patio home (I am the fourth at the end) to take my trash out. I lifted the lid of the big dumpster, swung the bag around and lost my balance. 

Fell to the ground, twisted my ankle a bit, but it seems okay now, though at night I'm applying ice. And I'm sporting two knobby knees that are a mess. Thought it would never stop bleeding. 

I was always a clumsy person. As a child, I consistently had big band-aids across my knees or elbows. I was always tripping and falling.

I should buy stock in band-aids, for I order a box pretty much every month.

With my daughter, I'm starting to let some of the pretense fall away. Not that I was good at it to start with. But there are lots of things children (adult or otherwise) accept because it is what they want to hear. 

Last weekend, her back was to me. She was bending over doing something. And I heard her ask about various friends I've had. 

"I can't keep friends long," I told her. 

She straightened up and turned to me. After a pause, she said: "Why?" Though I think she already knew. Was beginning to figure out how things really are. 

"Because eventually I say the too-wrong thing," I said to her. 

She just stood there looking at me with the saddest eyes. As her mother, I've tried to protect her from a lot of what is. But she is 36, and I've never been a good liar. I don't want to gloss over things. I just want to tell it like it is.

It is true. The story of my life. Some people meet me and figure out right away that something is wrong, and I never hear from them again. Others hang on for awhile. But I don't have adequate social filters, and most of the time I blurt out exactly what I'm thinking. 

And there go friends. 

Children do this, and of course it is acceptable. But when you become an adult, it is expected that you have figured out the ways of being sociable without offending. And I never quite learned that. 

I don't mean to offend. But I don't seem to know how to lie when it would be better to lie. People don't always want to hear the truth. 

I remember my grandmother was the same way, very childlike. My mother, the three times I met her, seemed the very same way. It was like their bodies grew but their brains never caught up. 

I have a hard time judging what is appropriate. I can be exceedingly perceptive in some ways, and very childlike in others. I don't know why this is. 

I wish I could wear filters. I wish they were like my glasses that I put on every morning. 

But there is no such thing. And thus, friends don't usually stick around long. Or even family members. 

I castigate myself for this, for not knowing how to be. But I'm tired. And life as it is is hard enough. So I'm just trying to take it hour by hour. Day by day.

I feel very strongly about things. I worry about the birds come winter and whether the male cardinal has found a mate.  

I often answer questions with the full unbiased truth when I apparently wasn't supposed to. I am very literal. 

I don't get the whole social "don't tell the truth about certain things, because people may ask you for the truth, but they don't really want to hear it."  

When I ask a question, I really want to hear the answer.

I tend to want to give the coat off my back. Kay says she has to stop me or I'd give her way too much. I do give away things on a whim. I want to please people. 

With Volare, when he comes to fix something, I typically send him away with a present for his wife. Last time it was a big painting I'd had since 1985. 

I don't miss the things. They are, of course, just things.

And since I can't always please people in conversation, I think I should at least send them away with something to make up for my social faux pas.

Did you know that faux pas is French for "false step?"

I seem to make a lot of false steps. 

I don't understand subterfuge. 

Duplicity and dishonesty sail right over my head.

I wish I was programmed like the birds, to just act instinctively. 

The world is a tiring place when you don't comprehend the rules.


  1. I did not know what faux pas meant. But I do now. I do not have many girl friends. I have co-workers, but none that I would really want to tell my secrets to. I am however, very close to my female cousins. I can tell them anything. We are each other's sounding boards at times and of course I trust them with my life. I have had friends, mostly co-workers over the years and I trusted them....but when that trust breaks more than once, I get rid of them. I toss them aside. If I can keep a secret, I expect the same from the person whom I am telling intimate things to. So, over the years, I am more guarded of what I say especially to any co-workers. I had a friendship with one co-worker for over 15 years....not anymore. And I still have to work with her. I think family is the most important thing on this earth, besides health of course. Keep those beautiful flower photos coming! Have a lovely weekend. And no more falls for you! It is supposed to be 80 on Sunday!

  2. Sorry you fell, Brenda. I hope your ankle won't "act up" again.
    We are all complicated human beings, Brenda. No one is perfect.
    I've enjoyed seeing your flowers and "goldie locks" today.. You sure do have a green thumb.
    I would like to do something in my yard today, but chose to change my clothes, in my closet, from winter to summer. I had my two, four legged, fur babies to help me.. They even jumped in my wardrobe after I cleared a shelf. I mentioned "lunch" and out they came.
    Have a wonderful weekend. Your car will be happy with two new tires on "her".

  3. Brenda, I am so glad you are being more open with your daughter about things. The truth is hard sometimes but so much easier then 'pretending', which I imagine is very hard on you. So yes, speaking your mind to friends and family without that 'social filter' is hard, but once they understand I hope it doesn't matter. You aren't trying to be mean or hurt feelings, it's just how you see the world. I am in your corner and hope your life gets better as you come to understand yourself better. Oh and I give away stuff all the time also, I'm a pleaser also! I sympathize with your fall. I fall often and for no apparent reason other then my ankles aren't strong, and I have the scars to prove it. Take care and keep sharing your lovely garden photos with us.

  4. Brenda, you are exactly like my mother. I'm not sure what good it would do her at the ripe old age of 85 to discover her is on the spectrum. But everything you do, she does. It confounds her that people get offended when she is just telling the truth. She doesn't read social cues at all. Things others find amusing she finds stupid. It's easier for her to have a relationship with her doggie. And yes, she has offended friend and family alike. The difference is that you want it to be different. That's certainly self awareness and you can always learn to do and say what does not come to you naturally. So, don't fret. It is what it is. Better to accept yourself than to berate yourself.

  5. Brenda, it is a very difficult world to maneuver through. Just when you think it is one way it appears another. It's not just you! I get confused about how to be, too. It's something I struggle with, and seems harder as I get older. I think honesty is something we all struggle with. And it's harder than ever because our culture has become one of over-sensitivity. We are all walking on eggshells these days. But I appreciate YOUR honesty, so keep being yourself, Brenda, regardless of what others think. *I* like you!

    One of my favorite people, ever, is Mister Rogers (God rest his beautiful soul). And he always tried to understand and accept people where they were. This is a beautiful example of that. He was an exceptional man, and I hope I will always be as kind as he was, although I fail sometimes. We need more people like Mister Rogers in the world, don't we?

    Have a lovely weekend, dear Brenda!

  6. Brenda, just try to say something nice. I wish you friends .we need others in our lives. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  7. Well said, Brenda, and with beautiful photos. I think you are a great friend to the birds and the flowers, and I think you are a great friend to many in the blogging community.

  8. Hi Brenda, sorry you took a fall but thankful you didn't break a bone. You are an honest and tell it like it is person. I for one appreciate that and try to be this way too but with a kind deliverance of sorts. When we really try, their is always something wonderful about each person. Not everyone has to be our best friend, but when we look for the good in others, we become like a magnet with friendships. I guess the old saying, if we can't say something nice we should say nothing at all. That doesn't mean to lie or tell untruths, it just means sometime it best to overlook. A skill not developed for all, like yourself as you say. But how freeing to be in tune to who you are and except it.
    My hubby once told me he could overlook my mouth because he knows my heart!!

    Wishing you the blessing of happiness in ones own skin and the appreciation that follows.
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs, CM

  9. Well, you will not be getting rid of me so easily, my friend. I am here for the long haul. I think it is wonderful that you finally have a correct diagnosis and that you are willing to share. Letting people know will hopefully go a long ways towards understanding. In the meantime, please be careful about falling. Before I had my knees replaced I fell a lot because my joints weren't getting the right message from my brain. I had to consciously think walk, walk, walk so I wouldn't fall. xo Laura

  10. I'm not sure being presented with a 'correct diagnosis' is always a good idea. We are all unique and a work in progress. Times change, and current events in ones life, also bring choices and changes. One day at a time, and acceptance of others including self is a motto to consider.......For the record, you have brushed yourself off from so much Brenda & I commend you for your accomplishments and talents. Wishing you continued success.

  11. I for one think we should have lots more Brendas and a lot fewer of the so called normal people!

  12. Beautifully written. Just yesterday I said something Wrong. Hours later, I figured out a better way to have said what I said. As for the mockingbird, a few years ago, a bird kept attacking my windows. At 4 am, I'd hear a loud peck-peck-peck. My windows must have acted like mirrors, making the bird think that another had claimed his space. (He even attacked the side mirror on my Jeep.) I'm sorry that you fell and hope you mend quickly.

  13. Brenda, you are exactly how you should be. You are an amazing woman. You are so much braver than I have ever been. You are an excellent photographer. You can decorate on a dime and you can see colour combinations that most people can't. You are a gardener after my own heart! You are a mom and there is not one mom in the world that has not wished they could have done something differently. You are a grandmother, which is a most wonderful job. You love the pups with your whole heart. Don't change a thing. Being Brenda, no matter what, is okay. We love you, dear.
    Tons of hugs for an amazing woman!

  14. I love your beautiful photos Brenda. I really admire you for being able to pour your heart out like this; I would consider this a gift. Keep doing what you're doing because it's what makes you.....you. I do hope you feel better soon from that nasty fall.

  15. Brenda,
    I so enjoy every single time I open up your email aka your home. I just absolutely love it! It is what you say, so cozy. I too, thank you for your honesty. I consider you a very very strong woman. Keep being the honest, best person you can be. Like I said, I ALWAYS look forward to seeing what is going on in your spot of the world. I hope you and your pups have a great weekend. ~Bobbie

  16. Brenda, I know it's different writing than talking face to face, but you write so well, easily telling your story in words and pictures in such a way that I read it, completely involved.

    I know that I often say something and then later wonder if it sounded like something else entirely. And I worry about it and worry about it. But then I sometimes do the same thing when writing and it sounds perfectly fine at the time and later I realize how it might have been taken.

    Hasn't blogging been a wonderful tool for you to be able to truly communicate? So many times you have captured our interest, made us feel that you are just sitting down over a cup of coffee and opened up. What you have trouble doing in person seems to evaporate when you are posting. And that's a gift.

    Just please be careful with your footsteps! And keep exploring these topics here with your many blog friends.


  17. Brenda...as long as I've known you...well, you are who you are. I have never felt offended by anything you've said to me in a comment or an email, so I think you might be blaming yourself for saying honest, yet hurtful things when you really aren't. People are a mixed bag...I have often gotten bad first impressions of people only to find them very likable once I spent some time with them. I no longer make quick judgements, but I'm still picky about who I "open up to". Perhaps the people who have felt you are a little too blunt or honest simply can't deal with something about themselves that they have tried to brush off. In any event...be honest and true to yourself, but think for a second before you speak, sometimes we do hurt the wrong people and that's sad, we simply do not want that to happen to ourselves.

    Please tell me the sprained ankle wasn't your bad leg. Be careful and do what you need to get it back in shape.

    Jane x

  18. Just some food for thought. You say people don't want to hear the truth and you say you answer with the full unbiased truth. I'm sure you feel you are always telling the truth, but possibly there are circumstances you aren't aware of and what you are saying is not necessarily the truth for that situation. Things are often not what they appear to be and very few things are simple one layer. There are usually many components of a situation and it is truly impossible for us to know what is really going on with someone. You might be coming across as a "know-it-all" even though that is certainly not your intent. Sometimes people just need a listening ear and really don't want you to even comment. You are a very intelligent woman and being aware of what is going on is the first step; however, you will need to practice what you are learning. If anyone says they never say the wrong thing at the wrong time, I say they aren't listening to themselves. I don't believe in lying either, but sometimes just saying nothing, or I'm sorry, or I understand are the best answers. There are people who say that if you think it you should say it, but to that I say in good old Texas slang - hogwash!

  19. Brenda, like others I've never been offended by anything you have said. I sometimes wish I'd be more outspoken, I'm not and I often regret it later. It's tough being a mother, that's for sure, we often guard our words or let them out and they just come out wrong. I am so happy for you and your daughter that you are building on your relationship, she's learning things about her mom that helps her understand you all the more. Hope the ankle isn't too bad.

  20. Brenda,
    Be encouraged with all the well wishes from those who read your blog. As someone else already said, it is different writing than it is talking. Everyone has different talents. Some are better at talking face-to-face, and others, like you, are better at writing to express themselves.

    As you said a couple of years ago when talking about leaving Word Press, blogging with blogspot was like being in a little pond where friends waved at one another as they passed by and blogging with Word Press was like being in a big ocean. You have many friends who wave at you in the blogging world.

    Have a wonderful weekend and even better week ahead. Everything always looks better in the morning and... with a little chocolate.


  21. I do think you act instinctively. It's the rest of us that don't. But I know that doesn't make it easier for you...

  22. I hope your leg is feeling better today. xoxo

  23. Hi Brenda--I read you all the time--though I don't often comment--sorry about that!!
    But I think the reason I don't comment on your blog and so many others is for the reason you just said--
    I always feel I say the 'wrong' thing or say way toooo much stuff!!!
    As for friends--I find my friendships last at the most for 10 years or less--
    people change-- their lives change--so who they want in their lives change--
    and you and I have health issues that change our lives and prevents us from being able to keep up with how their lives are changing--so they just move on--
    at least this is my 'theory'!!!
    Smiles and give the fur paws a hug from me!!

  24. Hi Brenda, so sorry to hear about your fall, hope you are feeling better by now. There's a song by Fleetwood Mac called "Oh Well" that reminds me of what you are talking about. Part of the lyrics go "don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to"! lol! Love that song!

    I know it's hard to have people fall out of your life like that for what seems like no reason at all to you because you didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings. I have trouble mostly with making friends but apparently with keeping them too... because I used to have friends... now not so much! I do have one best male friend that I don't think will ever fall out of my life. He "get's" me and we are a lot alike. That part is comforting but I worry sometimes what I would do if he were to go away... I would have no friends at all then just family. I don't know why it's so hard for me to make friends but maybe for some of the same reasons you have trouble keeping them... hmmm...

    One positive note that I have heard people say about me and it probably applies to you as well... at least people know where they stand with you! They know you aren't sugar coating anything and aren't lying to them about anything.


  25. Dear Brenda, all of us struggle with social norms at times. I only have literally a couple of close friends, because even though in a work situation for example, I've found people seeming to be friendly, it has often turned out that after leaving that workplace, you never hear from them again. While at work, I was always the one to organise the coffee get togethers, to which most were happy to attend, but once I left no one ever said to me, "would you like to go for coffee?" So you ask yourself, did they ever really like me? Also, the lack of the skill of being able to read others and see the real them can elude most of us at times. I had a friend for 8 years(from the workplace) and found out by sheer luck they had spent that 8 years lying to me about their situation, therefore getting from me, undeserved sympathy and monetary gain :( But at age 52, I've decided I don't care about numbers of friends. Obviously it is far better to have quality rather than quantity in the world of friends. I have always loved my home, garden, pets and of course family, so with those I am happy. I just do part time cleaning now, so work for and by myself and I am okay with that. I don't have to be what others may expect me to be. I have always felt uncomfortable in group situations, such as at work and always just did my best to hide it. Thank you again dear lady for your beautiful photos. You inspire me to get out in my own garden and try to emulate the types of photos you share with us. All the best for your week ahead. :)

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  27. Brenda, keep in mind a friend will stick around regardless of what you may or may not say. True friends, that is. Others will go by the wayside - they are not true friends. I found that out during my first divorce.
    I do not have any, what you would call, good close friends. Too bad. But I have my husband and 13 cats and a bulldog, so I am happy. I'd rather spend time with them than anyone else. My family is important, also. I haven't heard you mention your friend there in Tulsa who lost her husband....I hope she is doing OK.

  28. Brenda, keep in mind a friend will stick around regardless of what you may or may not say. True friends, that is. Others will go by the wayside - they are not true friends. I found that out during my first divorce.
    I do not have any, what you would call, good close friends. Too bad. But I have my husband and 13 cats and a bulldog, so I am happy. I'd rather spend time with them than anyone else. My family is important, also. I haven't heard you mention your friend there in Tulsa who lost her husband....I hope she is doing OK.


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