My vocabulary is fairly extensive, but it varies depending on the audience to whom I’m speaking. I’ve found recently that many of the things that come out of my mouth started out intending to be ironic, making fun of those who say them seriously, and then made a home in my vernacular as if they were meant to be there all along. Examples include: peeps, cray cray, legit, and using hashtag in every day speech… yup! Out loud. I know… #ridiculous.
Some of the phrases or words that have crept into my speech patterns are not quite so egregious (like the word egregious… I think it needs to come out more often). I took note a couple weeks ago that the phrase “I can’t deal,” or its close cousin “I can’t even deal” has become something I utter often.
When I’m standing in front of my kindergarten phys. ed. class, and only six kids are listening because they’re distracted by the giant parachute on the floor, I speak over them: “Kindergarten friends! When the whistle blows, we freeze, please!” Then, I look at the EA or the ECE and I mutter “I can’t even deal with this right now.”
When discussing my many failed attempts at dating over the interwebz, I’ve exclaimed to many a friend in extreme frustration “Gah! I can’t even deal! Why does this always go down this way!?” It’s usually followed up with something ridiculous like “peeps be cray cray, I tells ya!”
When I want to emphasize my point, particularly in writing (where I emphasize my point best), I often separate my phrase by breaking it up with a bunch of periods. Can. Not. Deal. I feel like eliminating the use of contractions in a sentence broken up by periods just adds much more of a sense of weight to it.
But I noticed something.
After months of slowly letting “I can’t even deal” creep into my every day speech patterns, and letting it become something that I’m now quoted as saying by colleagues and friends, I’ve started to question the attitude and the mind set behind it.
I’m a language lover, so I’m always interested when a sentence can be deconstructed and the language in it can be examined. This sentence has three parts.
No one else, just me. I haven’t invited anyone else into whatever the situation, no matter how dire, to help me deal. I am attempting to deal on my own. I’m flying solo and I have no trouble admitting it when I declare “I can’t deal.” Notice how many times the word ‘I’ was used in that point?
This implies that what I’m trying to do (on my own, you remember) is not something I’m capable of accomplishing. When I’m struggling with any situation and I decide that I can’t deal, I’ve checked out, and really the only options I’m left with are accepting defeat or continuing to whine.
This part may not seem quite as important as the others…. but this is the verb. It’s the action. It’s the one thing I repeatedly declare for the masses to hear that I can not do. Deal. I can’t deal. Loose synonyms include: I can’t handle this, I can’t take it anymore, I can’t go on, I can’t function.
I like to try to find something that I can take away from a musing like this, especially when it sits on my heart and my brain for weeks like this one has.
While I occasionally say “I can’t deal” for comedic effect, and I know as well as everyone around me that I in fact CAN deal with the situation… there are times when it gives a really clear peek into my heart.
When I declare to everyone around me that I can’t deal, I’m also declaring (while not everyone may realize it) that I haven’t taken whatever the situation is to my Saviour, and that even though I don’t think I can handle it, I don’t want to give it up, either. I don’t want to let go of my control over whatever that thing I can’t deal with is. I imagine God doesn’t like my attitude much when I go “ugh! I can’t deal!” instead of saying “God, I can’t deal with this, so I’m trusting You to step in. Your plans are bigger than my plans, and You know what’s going on here. Please do what You need to do in Your timing and in Your will, I trust You.” How little trust does it show to say “I can’t deal” but still not give it up to the One who CAN deal with it?
Does this strike a chord with anyone else?
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Laura is an (almost!) 29 year old primary teacher living in South-Western Ontario. She grew up in the Niagara Region in a great church with a great church family, but really had to start owning her own faith in God since she moved out on her own and started teaching in 2008. She loves to write, sing, play the fiddle, watch movies, and read. Laura would gladly quit her day-job and write full time if someone would hire her. Please check out her blog where she writes fairly frequently at http://thisblogisepic.wordpress.com.