My dear 20-something sister,

Learn now to use your words. It is easy when ill or stressed or not getting your way to just clam up. It can be more work just to talk some days. I get that. It happens to us all. 

But a “moment” of trial or discomfort should not cause you to potentially jeopardize your relationships. Learn to still give greetings to those who speak to you and not reply with grunts, or sound effects, or ventriloquism (talking from the inside of your mouth). Learn now how to keep eye contact, and communicate your words.

I know all too well how we can isolate others by clamming up. And then, when you’re “feeling better” and all Perky Pattie again, you have to re-build your credibility and prove you’re not a mental case because your behavior changed just that much. 

Here’s a suggestion. For those who ask, just say something generic like

I’m okay, just having a tough day.

Today is/has been a booger (Southern term — no offense to the rest of y’all).

I could’ve used about three more hours of sleep. (insert a chuckle to keep things light)

For those who know you and do not ask because you’re a different person and they don’t pull teeth, you’d do well to just say something like

I need somebody to pray for me ’cause I’m about to lose it. 

I’m on the edge. Please pull me off. (really — your real friends know how to respond)

Pray for me. Today is a tough day. 

Train yourself now so that you can maintain relationships later. Remember, weeping endures for a night or a short time, but joy is coming. Don’t penalize people with north pole-south pole behavior. Just be you…and have no fear about having a “low” day. 

Using your words is not just a command for growing children. It is a recommendation for adult women. The alternative is the kind of silence that draws the wrong attention and opens us up to manipulation by this silence. It is a toxic characteristic. Get rid of it while you’re still pretty flexible and not yet so set in your ways. 

Your 30s will thank you…as will the relationships that can transition with you. 

Offered with love…

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