Ever wish you had a do-over button?  Oops.  Did those words actually fly from the dark ratty crevasse of my soul out into the light of day?

Do Over.

I’m not talking about those sharp-edged, curved blades of anger thrown at loved ones in the heat of an argument over who ate the last fudge bar.

No.  I’m talking about re-writing personal history.  See, I think, at least in my case, I actually have a do-over button.  It’s limited in scope and power, I’ll give you that.  But, evidently, when I say or do something that I know perfectly well is wrong, I simply edit the behavior and repeat the story, as soon as possible, to someone else.

Let me give you a quick example.

The other day I made a comment to an acquaintance about one of my closest friends.  It wasn’t a mean comment, but I phrased it in such a way that, even as the words left my big fat mouth, I knew that, if my friend were to hear it, she’d be hurt.

The very next day, I overheard myself re-telling the incident to another friend.  Except, in this rendition, it was the acquaintance who phrased the comment in my original words and me who corrected her and spoke up for my friend.

And, here’s the worrisome part.

I don’t think I would have realized I changed the story except there happened to be someone at both incidents, someone who heard my original comment and then over-heard my do-over.  At the exact moment I realized this person had been there both days, like a revelation, I saw that I had twisted the truth.

Here’s another interesting thing.

When, like an epiphany, I saw my behavior for what it was, my very first thought was, “Awesome.  I can use that in a story sometime.”


About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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12 Responses to Do-Over

  1. That is awesome. And scary. LOL. I’m sure we all do that, (secretly I’m hoping I *don’t* do that…but I’ll bet I do and just haven’t noticed), but what’s special is that the universe lined up just so you could observe yourself doing it. And because you’re the writer and thinker, you can definitely use that experience!

  2. Staci Troilo says:

    Isn’t it funny that your first thought was “oh, I can use that in a story sometime.” If your friend is a true friend, the comment will be understood/forgiven. And the incident… definitely fodder for the fiction mill.

  3. Greg Camp says:

    Language is a kind of magic. It has the power to shape the world. What I’ve seen about memory research suggests that memory is malleable, and our choices about what the event meant are stronger than the “facts.” As Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything,” but perhaps the better way to put it is that if you work to make things better, you don’t have to explain yourself.

    • I hadn’t thought of that, but in fact they’re doing a lot of work with PTSD now and know psychologists can re-program trauma victims if they get to them in time, basically re-wire the brain’s memory of the traumatic event. My use the method is far more narcissistic but I suppose it’s, basically, the same process.

  4. What a great revelation – you are brave to share it with us! I get frustrated when people tell me that what I said sounded one way while what I MEANT was entirely different. I say I’d love to have a tape recorder on me at all times to PROVE that I’m innocent – but the truth is probably far from what I believe. I think we see and hear ourselves as who we WANT to be. Maybe we all need our own personal “reality show” with a camera drone that documents the truth about how we behave in the world. There’s a thought for nightmares! But it might make us better /more aware people eventually. Thanks Pam!

  5. keliwright says:

    Oh my greatness. I love you, Pam!

  6. Rachel Patton says:

    Knowing you personally I can see you have come up with a clever idea. The question is… As we age, do our story changes or over exagerations become realities in our own heads? Maybe that’s why seniors have great stories.

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