No: I've said it the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or wearing the wrong mask. Whether it's true is actually not particularly an issue, if the other criteria for right speech are not met. Walk it back, erase it, start over, read and listen and think.
I feel as though I had been repeatedly kicked in the face (or sometimes the stomach, or sometimes the balls) and I was kicking back, as one does. But one does not have to believe in oneself. I am horrified, horrified, horrified by my friends, sometimes. All the more reason to shut up, sit tight, gather more info, mull it over. What are friends for, if not to kick you?
And of course the real sources of my vulnerability are deeper and more troubling. Never have I been more aware, painfully aware, of the crookedness of my relationship with the world. So many things I must feel and not say, so many caveats and trapdoors. And in the meantime minutes, hours, days, years, even decades trickle away. I am awkwardly placed in the doorway, where everyone has to apologize to me as they squeeze by. It's one thing for a cat: a grown man, and a stout one at that, is supposed to handle his bulk more conveniently.
And in the meantime, the rage of the world goes on, without missing a beat. It's the relentlessness that's so wearing: that and -- at this age -- knowing that it's not going to stop.