My sons are often described as “nervioso“ from the adults who work with them. Although there are more appropriate words for what they are–activo, ocupado, inquieto—-nervioso remains the adjective of choice.
Basically it means they are active boys—not big fans of sitting down, preferring running to practicing their cursive.
I don’t worry much about it. I’ve learned awhile ago that some words simply don’t translate as well. My kids have both been called, “malo” at different points in their lives. In English, calling a kid “bad” is at a minimum not very PC. But here, it just means what it is. At that particular moment, they are being stinkers.
Words do have power. I talk about the differences between English and Spanish, and remind my kids that they are many things—smart, funny, kind, handsome. And yes, sometimes a bit nervioso. But none of these words define them. Words, like everything else, need context, and you can always select a better one.
Recently, I myself have been feeling very nerviosa. Various things in the news, other shifts in routine, and a lack of exercise have led to what I like to think of as the Nibbler. The Nibbler is this entity that lives in my gut, nibbling away. An unpleasant rumble, spinning and poking.
It makes me replay conversations, looking for possible slights, or it takes minor events and transforms them into obstacles. I fret. Worry. Snap at the children and retreat into silence.
I hid the Nibbler awfully well, but I was angry, or unhappy a lot.
I found some help. I ‘m not going into specifics here, just know that I found what I needed. And it has silenced the Nibbler. For the first time in a long time, I do not carry that disquiet with me.
I changed the context, and found a new word.