Communication has become my life. Phone calls to my children who are miles away. Venting my frustration about changes in our country through FB and Twitter. (and oh my poor husband!) Welcoming into my life real and true friends that I only know because of email, my once-a-week-blog post and other occasional gatherings on Facebook, all of which I see as a normal progression from letter writer, short story scribbler, English teacher, healthcare educator etc. And I think I know why…
Because as a three-year-old child, I was unable to understand why my daddy (who died of a massive coronary) tucked me in one night and the next was gone, just gone forever. Because when you are faced with that blockage of communication–when you just don’t understand, but maybe slowly, gradually you adapt–you have learned to look for clues. Because what normal three-year-old stands watching her mother remove ties, shirts and suits from a closet and then states, and rightly so–“He’s not coming back.”
Others of you might say, YES, that’s how it was for me too. After my father left. Or after my divorce. After we had that big fight. Cause yes, then I figured it out. I pieced it together. YES. That’s what we humans do. And do to each other.
In grade school I was quiet. But I got good grades. It’s hard not to do well in grade school when you aren’t fooling around.
But when you have brothers, or when there are other girls your age smarter, cuter–you gradually learn to speak up. TO SPEAK OUT. Your ability to communicate makes people notice. And communicating helps because you:
- get good grades in high school and college.
- always have an answer.
- get a teaching position right out of college–you don’t hesitate, though shaking inside, you answer right away the English department head, the principal, even the superintendent of the district. You answer with confidence, saying YES. I can to this. And you can. The same with all the other interviews for positions you will have in your life. You speak out, because you have learned early on that’s the way to be SEEN.
But I truly believe our ability to tell people what we need goes in cycles. Sometimes we are fluent and other times we clam up.
DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE MAKING YOUR NEEDS KNOWN?
Arguments can make you feel like you have disappeared.
Take a phone call that sometimes doesn’t go well. It ends and there is that silence. Your heart rate slows. But you are still left to your own devices, your own thoughts. And after a while, you might regret what you said or go over everything that was said. The silence presses against you. Sometimes it’s almost like you don’t exist. No one hears what you need. And all you hear is your breathing.
During our long dating history, I would often write a letter to my future husband, if the phone call didn’t go well. Again, I’m a communicator. That’s why I blog. That’s why I write short stories and novels. Maybe I have a lot to say or maybe I just want people to understand me.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU…
My favorite story that echoes the title above, comes from my first child, my intent daughter Caroline. Of course I read child care books, knew the general time markers for achievements like sleeping through the night, crawling, walking, talking. She hit them all at the early part of the range. And though I can’t tell you the exact date, she was at least three when she walked up to me one day, announcing, “Let’s talk.”
It’s an important skill for all of us. It makes our needs known, reduces angst and tension, allows us to tell our story and sometimes use our imaginations. And we must always be open to hearing the other person’s STORY. ( My other daughter, a great communicator, has taught me that!)
SO WHO DO YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM? WHO DO YOU NEED TO SHARE WITH?
Honor your need, talk to those you love–don’t postpone it. Smile, call, write a letter, a note or walk in that room– but let that person know: that you miss them; that you are sorry you hurt them; that you didn’t mean to say that; that you are hurt and angry because…
We can’t fix our communication problems in a vacuum. But calmly, steadily with heart and with love, we can share how we feel, what we need–say we are sorry. Communication is everything. Give in, make that call, knock on that door. Need help? LET’S TALK.
ARTWORK: thanks to: thegraphicsfairy.com