A Tone + A Look = ?

Patti with a scarecrow – who’s the scary one?
Photo by Cee Cee Parker

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

I’ve been accused of many things in my life. It’s a lengthy list, and I choose to focus on the ones that appeal to me the most: sharp-witted, quick-tempered, the talent to accessorize in a fashion-forward manner, the gift of turning a phrase with an overt negative connotation into a positive. Guess I have to own them all, but I truly consider that last one a divine gift, and I cannot be dissuaded from that particular sentiment. Many have tried; none have succeeded.

Perhaps the most consistent imputation that friends and fam like to pin on me I believe is completely undeserved. It’s a primal, simplistic response to situations when those who are near and dear to me are in harm’s way or when someone persists in poking the bear. It’s a natural instinct, like breathing, but my people label my innate protective nature as a more baser character trait. It’s truly an unfair assessment.

It seems my people think I’m scary. I personally don’t think I’m any such thing. I think I’m thorough. I think I’m proactive. I think I’m protective. I think I resolve issues in a timely, direct and succinct manner. I know I’m precious until pushed, and when the pushing starts, well, I do finish it, immediately if not sooner. Mr. Kaminski says I have a “tone.” My babies say I have a “look.” So, a “tone” and a “look” make me scary?

I’m not boisterous when agitated. I do not scream and yell. I’m quite the opposite. I get really quiet. I speak in extremely low tones and use very few, well-chosen words. When deliberately provoked repeatedly, I do tend to read folks like a cheap dime store novel – quick and dirty. Once again, timely, direct and succinct resolution. I call that efficient – not scary.

I will say growing up, I could typically stop my babies from acting up with a look. A mere whisper did not even have to pass my lips; the look sufficed. But I certainly do not attribute that to me being scary – that was simply me being an effective communicator and a good momma. Body language is an important communication tool.

I honestly don’t believe I’ll be able to rid myself of this reputation with my people, no matter how unjust I believe the label. I keep telling them if they don’t want my peaches, don’t shake my tree, and they just keep on shakin’. See y’all next week – on the porch!

Patti Parish-Kaminski

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