Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On Gossip

Have you ever heard the term, “It’s just some harmless gossip?” Those two words do not belong in the same sentence together. Gossip, harmless? Hardly. Gossip very nearly ruined my life. What people conspiratorially whisper over Diet Coke and Chinese chicken salad to their neighbors and friends is what has turned me into a recluse, a whisper of a person who hides behind designer clothes, expertly applied makeup, and humor. For, if they cannot see me, the real me, maybe they won’t talk about me, talk about the things that hurt and damage.

Isn’t it so very hard to hear a scandalous rumor and have the courage, the decency, the humanity, to say, that’s not right, or I refuse to listen to this, or the person you are talking about is real and tangible and has feelings and a heart just like you and me, so why are you hurting them in this way? Why is it easier to listen, feel the flush on your cheeks as you try to push away the creeping shame that you are participating in such a revolting pastime rather than walk away?

One could argue, oh, I meant no harm by it. It was just a silly joke or a stupid rumor. But the way one feels when their life and their secrets have been revealed, or worse, maybe misconstrued, is not silly or stupid. It’s reality. A painful reality. And it hurts, because the pieces of your life that were intensely personal are now scattered in the wind, broken, irreparable, and can never be found and reclaimed again.

Gossip is never harmless.

16 comments:

Kathy with a K said...

That feeling of "what is intensely personal being scattered in the wind" is so frightening. How perfectly you have expressed it. And I like the image you chose with this post. I have a feeling that expressing yourself, the way you just have in this post, is a step toward reclaiming.
And, no, gossip is not harmless. Otherwise it would be called support.

Jodi said...

Amen. There's nothing I could add that could make what you said better so just amen.

zubeldia said...

Oh Brie, how well you capture the pain of it, and how much your own pain drips through every word. It's heartbreaking, Brie. Others' have just a powerful impact on us, and words wound. They have such enormous capacity to wound. I would do anything to protect you from that, but for what it's worth I would love and care for you the same without the make-up, the designer labels, and all the humour. I so very much appreciate the vulnerable, fallible Brie who shows up in these words, who is courageous and brave as she makes a stand and makes her self known a bit more to those who love her.

Take care, love. I'm thinking of you and caring for you.

Love Z

Laurie and Corey Kunz said...

dude how true is that. I have always been WAY WAY WAY sensitive about what others might be saying behind my back.
I need to be better because on the one hand I hate the idea of anyone gossiping about me, but on the other hand I tend to gossip myself...darn it.

brie said...

Gossip is most definitely a part of our culture, whether we like it or not. Why is it so scintillating when we think we might know a secret about someone else? What makes that so irresistible? Does it make us feel powerful? Better than others? It's so tricky. (And Laur, we've all done it, of course. I think the key is being aware of it and working toward being gossip-free.)

Emily said...

I agree... gossip is never harmless. I'm sorry people have hurt you by gossipping about you. That's terrible.

Stacy said...

gossip no matter how true is always tainted. even when voicing concern about someone it is so important to not let it turn into gossip. very moving.
amazing strides mrs. brie

heather said...

Wow. You hit the nail on the head. Seriously, Brie. At the beginning of the school year as a teacher some rumors went around about me (I had stated in a private conversation how I used to have an ED b/c the person asked how I managed to eat so much...that's a whole different story)...anyway, it got passed around and misconstrued. I was so embarrassed to show my face. Now I make a point in never discussing anything, whatsoever, personal. Not even when my birthday is. I'm scared to. I'm scared for my woes and misfortunes, and mistakes to be blared from the rooftops. It's sad and pathetic how people feel they can gain power through idle chit-chat, or rather, gossip. It never leads to anything good. You wrote it all so beautifully. It actually made me cry. It also helped me realize how much I too need to be careful about what I say and do. I don't want to become one of those who hurts others in such a shameful way. Thanks for writing that entry. It brought back memories and also reminded me of who I want to become. Someone higher than them. Someone respectable and compassionate. Every human, no matter how strange or different deserves the utmost respect and humility. Thanks for that lesson. I'm sorry for all the times you've been hurt too. No wonder we all hide ourselves and try to become wallflowers or intricitly designed paintings on the walls of the world. Thanks Brie. You're so insightful. I always learn so much from you.

NoSurfGirl said...

Gossip does hurt. It's a wonder anyone listens to it... it's never fully true anyway. Especially becuase each time it changes hands it veers further and further from the truth... not that it was every truth, because the mere fact that it was the unsanctioned repeating of the private facts of someone else's existence completely sucks the truth out of it.

I like your way of writing. You have a gorgeous baby.

Krista said...

I really like what you had to write about gossip. It really does hurt people in ways that we never intend it to. I too am sorry for the pain it has caused you.

Side note:
Zubeldia, how do you pronounce your name? I pronounce it in my head like zoo-bell-dee-ah. I've never heard the name before. I like it!

Penny said...

One of the tragic truths is that those we love the most also have the capacity to hurt us the most. Its not just strangers or friends but also family that feel they have the right to "gossip" because they are just speaking about events. How we all need to be so careful. I wish that I had learned the lessons earlier in my life that you have learned in yours'. Your learning has come at a terrible cost but you will always be a better person because of it. And I am glad that you blog because I still have very much to learn from you, My Dear.

brydelle said...

You're so right. People don't--or won't--realize how incredibly harmful even just a passing comment can be. I love your serious pieces so far. They're very truthful, and so well written.

zubeldia said...

Morning, Brie. How are you this morning, chickadee? Thinking about you, sweet one.

Hi krista.. you wrote:

Side note:
Zubeldia, how do you pronounce your name? I pronounce it in my head like zoo-bell-dee-ah. I've never heard the name before. I like it.

You pronounce it perfectly! I have to confess that it's a borrowed name. I really like cycling and it's the name of my favourite Spanish rider, Haimar Zubeldia... I am such a cycling nerd :-)

Z

b said...

I've always wondered where you're mysterious pseudoname came from, Z! I loves it! (And you're not a cycling nerd...you're...enthusiastic, is all. ;)

Courtney said...

Your insight is so refreshing! Seriously, it's amazing how often people try to cover up their own insecurities by focusing on the faults of others. I've had my fair share of gossip/rumors/lies spread about me and since I have the tendency to be hypersensitive it has definitely made me weary of getting close to people. However, on the plus side I think people who have dealt with a lot of external crap learn to turn inward for their self-worth and validation and not care so much what others think. I love your thoughts!

kristin said...

I totally agree with you, Brie. Gossip is just plain awful and it can really do damage in someone's life.