Certain phrases you hear growing up seem to stick with you. Whether you tend to repeat them yourself or they just make an impact on you, some phrases constantly come to mind. “Poca mujer” is one such phrase. Another phrase I heard a lot was “para evitar” or “hay que evitar,” meaning “to avoid” or “you have to avoid” respectively.
The interesting thing about this phrase was how it was most often used by my mami. She was the one I heard this phrase from the most. She would say things like, “No dije nada para evitar,” “Me quede callada para evitar,” or “¿Hay que evitar, verdad?” (I didn’t say anything to avoid a problem; I stayed quiet to avoid an issue; You have to avoid, right?) This was usually in regards to a discussion between her and my father. Mami would hold back on speaking her thoughts in order to avoid an argument. She would then tell me all about it and when I questioned why she didn’t say anything to papi, she’d tell me, “Ya tu veras cuando te cases. A veces hay que evitar.” (You’ll see when you get married. Sometimes you just have to avoid [problems].”)
There’s something to be said, though, about constantly thinking “déjame evitar.” Sooner or later everything you avoid saying builds up and you end up lashing out like a bomb that exploded. Or perhaps you implode and end up feeling overwhelmed and desperate. Sometimes I think that maybe I should have told my mami, “No, no tienes que evitar.”
On the other hand, I also realize that mami may not have been so far off. Many of us hold back “para evitar.” It’s like that other phrase says, “you have to choose your battles.” Don’t we all do that? We choose when it’s worth an argument with our spouse, parents, children, etc., and hold back when it’s not.
Do you hold back sometimes para evitar? Or do you always speak your mind?