The best cure for a short temper is to keep the mouth shut. . .
Inside of Me
Inside of me, I think there are a lot of people
Jumping up and down, having a party in my heart
My lungs seem like my grandmother’s driveway
My blood is a pool
My brain is a road my father works on.
I think inside me, my eyes seem like a sink
that is leaking. My neck is a tall building
my brother works in. My mouth is a
water station nobody can go inside.
My nose is a junkyard.
- By Letron Calistro
I’m practicing what in Sanskrit is called ‘Mauna Vrata’ meaning, the vow of silence. The belief is that, if practiced from time to time, it will help master one’s tongue, which can kill as well as heal. In the ancient Vedas, it is said, when the tongue evolved, God ordered it to be kept locked in a cave-like fortress, and even so, it is said, He was not satisfied so He provided 32 guards to watch it. Even then when it speaks it spits out poison.
I’ve concluded that I especially need to practice the art of ‘voicelessness’ around my 16-year-old daughter, the high priestess of low tolerance. Just yesterday, I told her to get her applications for summer programs done and this was only because the pricey high-school counselor we’ve hired had sent me 3 e-mails, each marked “Urgent,” with the subject annoyingly labeled as “Needs immediate attention!!!”
“Whenever you tell me to do something and say it in your nagging voice, I don’t ever want to do it,” the Princess throws at me, just as her father walks in through the front door, looking as if he regrets not waiting to leave his office 5 minutes later.
“I’m not trying to annoy you, honey,” I explain, in my nicest, melting-butter-in-a fiery-cauldron-kind-of voice. But, from the knitted brow and scowling mouth I encounter as she whips around to face me, I can tell I’m not succeeding very well.
“I always get it done in the end. You don’t have to remind me five times!”
I continue to keep a calm, placid expression pasted on my face even though the thoughts inside my brain are churning like bees swarming around a dead cow’s head.
This is only the second time I’ve reminded you since the beginning of time, I want to hurl back, but I remember the vow of silence just in time.
“You’re always nagging me,” she says.
I lose it. I can’t help myself.
“And if I don’t remind you now, the deadline will come to pass, and you’ll be moaning all summer about how bored you are. How you have nothing to do. And, of course, it will somehow be my fault again!”
The words come rushing from the back of my throat and tumble out of my lips. They hurtle past one another like bullets propelled from a gun. I can see we’re squared off like two opponents in a boxing match. Hissing and sweating. Waiting for the other to strike.
“What’s for dinner?” my husband steps into the fray in his most dulcet voice.
We both turn to him in relief.