Hi. My name is Carolyn Suna. I’m 23 years old and I have “Chronic Foot in Mouth Syndrome” aka I can’t keep my fucking mouth shut. I have been afflicted with this since childhood and am finally admitting I have a problem.
What is Chronic Foot in Mouth Syndrome (CFMS)? It’s when opening your mouth causes serious trouble. I say something I’m not supposed to or I hurt someone with my words and sarcastic tone of voice. Usually, both! I also suffer from “I Think I’m a Comedian Syndrome.” Raised in a Jewish household with a witty (sarcastic) father and having watched every Adam Sandler movie under the sun (except Spanglish because even I won’t subject myself to watching something that horrible), I think I am part of the chosen people of comedy. After watching the movie Funny People, I wanted to be a stand up comedian. But in all seriousness, my CFMS stems from trying to be funny. “Trying” is the operative word in that sentence, which ends up embarrassing for me and causing hurt feelings for the recipient to whom the “trying” is aimed.
My most embarrassing moment and probably the best illustration of CFMS occurred at my Bat Mitzvah. We were performing the candle lighting ceremony. This is when you give the thirteen year-old spoiled brat (who just became an adult) a chance to honor important people in her life. The brat and a microphone (two things that don’t mix well) arrived to the candle for friends. At such events, kids typically just say, “And all my friends are amazing, yay light this candle.” I wanted to honor my friends as individuals because I’m an idiot. One of my friends had come up for a previous candle with her family, with whom we are very close. In my thirteen year-old mind, I didn’t think it was fair that someone should come up twice to light candles. Instead of inviting my friend up for the candle, I said, “You already came up. You’re special Ed.” Ed is the name of her father. It was supposed to be a pun in jest meaning she was special and got her own candle. No one laughed. I hurt a good friend. CFMS at its finest! The remark was insensitive, rude, and public: the trifecta of stupidity. There is nothing in my life I am more ashamed of or more embarrassed of. Not even farting loudly during my first campfire at sleep away camp (yes, Jess it was me. I’m finally admitting to it after thirteen years) comes close to the shame I feel from this moment.
CFMS has adversely affected my friendships and family. To put it as bluntly and inarticulately as I can, I’ve fucked up. I’m sorry to all of those I have hurt. It’s not an excuse for my behavior. I’m sorry I try to be funny. Really, we all know I’m only funny when I’m doing something completely absurd or on that rare occasion I actually do say something clever.
So, what’s the cure for this syndrome? Well, I could write down every thought I have before speaking. If it’s rude or not funny I can then burn the paper. Wait, I’m terrible with lighters—if you don’t believe me, hand me a lighter and ask me to light it. It will take me a minimum of two tries. I could actually filter things through my brain— sometimes I still speak and shit ends up hitting the fan. Or, I could start using empathy.
Yes, empathy can solve this problem. Before I open my mouth, I can think about how people might feel about my comments. That is fucking brilliant! I should patent this, write a book, and go on The View. In all seriousness, empathy is one of the most honorable traits in a human being. Being able to understand people and show compassion towards another person’s situation will really help us all. I’ve been told since pre-school that I’m a pretty empathetic person, so let’s see pre-school Carolyn shine!
To all of those I’ve hurt because of my CFMS, I’m not writing this article for you to forgive me. Rather, I’m writing so you see I’m trying to become a better person. If you’re not ready to believe me right now, don’t. If you think I’m full of shit, then to quote the Monkees, “I don’t think you know me at all.” If you’re still laughing because I farted loudly at a campfire when I was 10, that’s fine. Farts are really funny. But I digress; I know it’s going to take time and discipline to improve. It’s a mental switch that I have to turn on in my brain. But then again, when have I ever been afraid of a challenge?
Latest posts by Carolyn Suna (see all)
- NEW YEAR, BOO YEAR - January 12, 2016
- Life as Someone Who Has Chronic Foot in Mouth Syndrome - December 1, 2015
- ALL THESE THINGS, I HAVE NOT DONE - November 3, 2015