Conversations that need to be had

I open my mouth

And the world tumbles out

I cannot stuff it back in

It’s out now, rolling

Holding on to the sides of its rounded shape

I cling, fingernails rasping

I lose my grip

It slips

Running over me

I watch it turn over and over

Far below it tumbles onto the sharp rocks of another’s experience

I watch it shatter and separate

Pieces ricocheting, striking the air

My world falls apart

I feel the tremors of my heart

As it is decimated

*Have you ever had one of those conversations where every word feels vital?

IF not, you are a coward,  for life and loving and relationships provides us with many opportunities where such conversations need to be had 

The space into which you place each of these important vessels, that carry so much meaning, is dangerous. Your nerves are alive with your inadequacy as a speaker to deliver just the necessary thing.

Thing?!

What better word, surely there is one

Thing?

It will do

My mind grasps at air trying to pull into being just the very “thing” you need. And yet, with hollow eyes, empty of energy from a storm tossed night, you watch it all unravel.

What I wanted to say is turned and twisted so sharply as it is received that I experience verbal whiplash.

The sound of my own words hitting the windscreen of another persons experience is excruciating

I’ve perhaps chosen wrongly, even with the greatest of love and care

The tension in my neck and shoulders feel like I’ve been in a car wreck.

But I take a breath, and keep going.

*We cannot, provoke the response we desire in another person, without a high degree in emotional competence and probably a decent dose of manipulation

The first I lack, though I’m learning

The second, I don’t agree with using

With the greatest of precision placement and wishful thinking, still words will not always do what is required

We can pray and hope and will it to happen. Gather our useless auditory measures, line them all up and make them deliver

Yet how it lands

How it is responded to

That is the one thing we cannot control

And yet these conversations need to be opened. Like boxes with bombs in them they will go off anyway. There is no way to defuse the bomb without opening the box – you have to open the box.

So with shaking fingers and a loving and courageous heart, you walk forward and begin cutting tape. Tick tick tick.

Listen to me, have the conversation. Begin. It’s the only way through. Once out of the box, bombs don’t go back in. Instead, they are painstakingly defused.

You may very well stuff up, stumble as you weigh out your words like carefully plucked and snipped fusewires

And yet already somehow, it is becoming clearer what must be done

The conversation begun, is so much better then that cancerous lump, that spreads in your chest.

Be brave

Begin

Don’t stop half way

Continue

All the way in

All the way through

We think we need to find the right words – that’s not true. We put so much weight on the words. But in the end it’s not words that get through. It is the truth. And it is the truth that obliterates that mass on your chest and let’s you breathe again. Not words.

Oh and by the way – experts are rare and a book won’t teach you. We are not normally raised to be conversational experts. My mother placed great import on not starting conversations that may have a bad outcome. So truths went unfolded, issues tidied away into the back of the cupboard. It was detrimental for her health. My father was brilliant at provoking and teasing but never dealing.

I tend to blow up things because I can’t hold all the pressure in my heart. It’s terrifying, but I finish what I start. Even if I begin badly. And as Winston Churchill reminds me in a quote which has become a wall to lean on, when I’m backed into it.

“The truth is like a lion, set it free and it will defend itself”

Winston Churchill

It might be a hard day. But they end the same as good days, and often in fact, turn into them.

Header picture: fence post taken by me. Fence posts are each integral to the strength of a boundary. Choked with sharp wire, it reminded me of a throat when constricted. That’s why I chose it for this post.

37 thoughts on “Conversations that need to be had

    • If only. Man I wish there were some truthful hard conversations going on about this world at the top Jeff. Instead politicians prevaricate and tap their watches and run for the next election as if solving the problems of this one aren’t more important. More conversation less cancelled people but I shan’t get started 😁

  1. Kate, I need/want to take time to sit at your place a while. I’m enamored by your words. They always hit straight to the heart,gut, and soul. The conversations HAVE to be held. My diagnosis in May left a conversation untended~things unraveled. My parents, because hard conversations never happened, left me to create my reality. “Verbal whiplash”…yes, I’ve been there too. The world wants to tumble out of my mouth, too. The trees and mountains have been great listeners~unfortunately not the audience that I should have had at certain,…many,….times in my life. I’ve learned to be more brave. As always, you’re words are brilliant. The photo is perfect (boundary~love that~My Spring to Summer has seen much fence building). Xoxo 💛💕❤️

  2. “We cannot, provoke the response we desire in another person, without a high degree in emotional competence and probably a decent dose of manipulation”

    Powerful shit. I feel these words, all of them, deep to my core. I’ve always kept quiet until I can’t. I am a truth speaker and words were once my weapon. There is a delicate balance. Are they ready to hear? Because it needs to be said. Will they know “things” are full of love? I use my words differently now. More careful but always somehow, the truth lets out. Not really sure where I am going with it but I do know the words of this post, hit.

    • I’m a truth teller too, poetry does it to you. I can’t bear the untold truth. I can keep a secret, respect privacy. But when injustice or hurt of those I love is involved, truth truly turns into a lion within my chest and it growls until I have to set it free. There is such power in words though – also something I have found from poetry. How a single wrongly placed sentence can bring down a wall, blow an emotion from flame to bonfire. You are right – it’s so delicate. And the higher the risk of hurting someone, the more careful we become.
      You get it. I love that. Thanks for reading and leaving a powerful resonating comment.

  3. I was faced with a difficult conversation just yesterday. I’d avoided it for such a long time, scared of the uncomfortable repercussions which I feared would follow. Paralysed into procrastination, because I hate, hate, hate conflict.

    But for all the delays and avoidance, conflict came anyway – smacking me in the face like a sledgehammer. So, I was forced into it.

    And so, I just said what I needed to – by message, which was far better than in person…because I can’t cope in person. Especially when the other side is so good at arguing.

    And the response was a short acceptance. End of story. For now.

    The underlying issues are all still there, and they may eventually surface. But for now, I just needed to get through the process of expressing a certain view – saying it out into the open. And that’s done.

    And now I let it go. “Let go, and Let Go(d)” – as they say.

    Knowing, of course, God was always in control. But *I* needed to let go of the burden. Of the worries of what could happen. What I want to happen. What would be the best thing to happen. All the possibilities and fears and anxiety.

    I just let it all go. Did what I needed to, continue to make efforts, and remain open to all possibilities…but trust that God will take me to whatever is best. Without me imposing expectations and all that excruciating mental baggage onto the situation.

    “We think we need to find the right words – that’s not true. We put so much weight on the words. But in the end it’s not words that get through. It is the truth. And it is the truth that obliterates that mass on your chest and let’s you breathe again. Not words.”

    – I think as writers, that’s especially true. Because this is our craft…it’s what we do. But you’re so right…truth always shines through, even when it’s an uncomfortable truth. I need to remember that. So, thank you for the reminder.

    • Yacoob this is such a thoughtful heartfelt reply. Some people love conflict , they thrive on it. I avoid it as far as possible and have found that many things don’t need our reaction, they flare up and then collapse again and are actually better for us not getting involved. It sounds like you handled your situation well, and I am empathetic with your situation, it would have been very draining but at least it is sorted, for now anyway.

  4. Wow, Kate! Such powerful, heartfelt and meaningful words you write. I love and can identify with what you’re describing. As a writer, I’ve always found words for conversations, but they’ve often been stuck in my head. Somehow, saying my thoughts out loud is too frightening – I think (or am almost sure) that comes from when I was young, and because of awful and difficult circumstances, everything, including the truth, was messed up and remained unspoken.

    I absolutely detest conflict; it terrifies me to the core. I tend to go out of my way to avoid it. However, it does leave an awful lot unsaid, which rots away at my insides. Not good, not healthy and not clever. Anyhow, I am beginning to learn to speak my truth with the help of a lovely counsellor, and it feels so freeing; such a release. I like the description you use about having to open the box to defuse the bomb. It’s so true.

    There were far too many secrets, unspoken feelings and lies around me as I grew up. I was threatened ‘not to tell’, and that’s always made it difficult for me to open up. Nevertheless, I’m finally on the upward curve with some help and support. I’ll get to that place you describe so well. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom – it’s invaluable. Sorry if I’ve gone on too much about myself. Your poem just opened up the Pandora’s Box of feelings and thoughts in me. Thanks again. Ellie. I love your photo by the way – it’s perfect for this poem.

    • Oh Ellie, this is such a beautiful authentic comment, never apologise for sharing your own point of view and circumstances as it is important to the conversation and will help someone else. That’s why I love reading the comments section of blogs – sometimes they’re the best part.

      I think conversation that arises bringing with it difficult emotions (on both parties) needs to be approached with a great deal of respect and caution. We are not taught how to do this, and many of us are “raised with wolves” so to speak and immature ones at that. Our parents are not always mature functioning adults, quite often they are children themselves, just ones who are old enough to procreate. There are many damaged souls out there who are giving birth to more damaged souls. I think therapists and re parenting in these situations are so helpful, and although I don’t have a therapist, I have read many books to find the mentors I have needed all of my life. I also had a deeply loving and kind Mother, who despite her own aversion to conflict, was always truthful and sincere. Unfortunately I spent all of my schooling years including my early childhood at boarding schools and facilities so…raised by wolves indeed.

      With regard to conflict, If all our early experiences with conversations that are difficult, are also traumatic or combative, then we will find it even more difficult to broach these sorts of things later in life. Which is completely normal.

      You don’t touch fire once you know it burns you.

      I think it takes courage and a great deal of love to set foot in volatile situations within the relationship circle – these can be so fraught with emotion and tension and the outcomes are sometimes vital to the ongoing strength of a relationship .

      Business settings are a whole other scenario with sometimes great weight riding on the consequences of an interaction. A different kind of weight but also one that is difficult to bear on one’s chest and force through the constructed confines of one’s throat.

      All we can do is begin. All the books and UTube videos and wonderful mentors in the world cannot diffuse the ticking bomb that is our own to handle. Procrastination just increases the time pressure but doesn’t alleviate the requirement to dismantle an explosive situation.

      Other people can be quite terrifying in their emotional reactions, but most of that concern is in our head. Once connected by truth and sincere purpose, most humans are simply beautiful. If we are authentic, and share sincerely, no matter how inept our words, the conversation will flow. But if we try and handle or manipulate someone they will sense it, and the bomb begins to be difficult to deal with indeed. We are all capable of meeting in a heart open place. But of course that is a very vulnerable space. It takes courage, it takes self respect and it takes a great deal of self love. Because no matter what the outcome of the conversation, we have to be able to walk away with our own heart and soul intact and not leave it shredded on the ground behind us.
      Nobody should be able to take that power away from us, nor enable us to take away theirs.

      That’s why the stakes are so high – the dialogue is an exchange of energy and we have to be careful that the outcome is equitable. It’s why bullies get so intent on bullying and why someone who is low on energy is such an easy target. Truth, love and compassion grow our personally energy to a proportion that allows for a safe conversation. These higher order energies will always protect you in a conversation. You cannot allow fear or agitation to inhabit your heart – don’t worry about the words – concentrate on maintaining a sincere thread of communication flowing from within. Strong boundaries, a good sense of self worth and attention to sincerity will see most conversations through. But yes, probably going to walk away afterwards with a few “what the hell? Why did I say that?” Moments. Just shake your head and grin. Words aren’t important – connection is and practice makes perfect. It gets easier, though I don’t think it is ever comfortable for a sensitive person.

      • Kate, how lovely of your to reply in such depth. It is so kind of you to take the time to do so when you have so much of your own writing to keep up with. Thank you so much for your kindness and understanding of my feelings. Your words do hit home for me. It’s like there’s something in your soul that touches a part of mine. You are a truly beautiful person and an excellent writer. Ellie X 🌞

    • Hi Patricia, not everything needs a reaction and in fact most don’t and we can be more peaceful for not doing so, but there are certainly times when we need to have a difficult conversation. I know the difference, because it’s usually the conversation I’m avoiding. Rip the Band-Aid off (carefully) thanks for reading 😊

  5. Hi Kate. I just wanted to let you know that I left you quite a long comment on this post (that I enjoyed) earlier today. I’ve checked back a couple of times, but it’s still not showing on your page. I’m wondering whether my comment has gone into your spam folder. It might be worth checking. Thanks. Ellie 🌞

    • I just found it and replied Ellie, it was in my spam – why would WP do that 😱 such a beautiful response in a conversation that I am enjoying having with you and others. I will have to check there more often as there were a couple of other peoples replies over there too, though to precious posts. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view, it is always valuable to gain insight into other peoples worlds. Have a lovely day
      Kind regards
      Kate X

      • I’m glad you found my comment, Kate. WP often does that to me, so I check my spam folder regularly now. It’s good that you came across another couple of comments there, too. Thank you for letting me know and for your kindness in reading and listening to my comments. Ellie X 🌞

      • Ellie, I will keep an eye on that folder for sure now – it is terrible to think I may have missed your heartfelt reply. I’m glad you gave me the heads up as I am enjoying our conversations X❤️

  6. What a moving and poignant blog. Thank you so much for addressing something so many of us can relate to – having those hard conversations. I liked your description of boxes with bombs in them – loaded words can really act as bombs, going off and blowing everything you thought you knew into smitherines. It’s scary. Like so many of the readers who posted above, I can relate to disliking conflict and doing my best to avoid it – particularly with “the right words” as I am a writer, too. Words are our super power. I’m so glad you talked about how vital it is to SPEAK UP, even if we are scared of the repercussions. Love this. Big hug to you xx

    • Thank you for your heart felt response to this post Janet, I do wonder if the practice of “ghosting” has arisen simply as a way for people to avoid not only conflict but difficult conversations in general. The trouble with avoiding what is hard is that it shrinks and slowly chokes us, we cannot grow or move forward.

    • Thank you for such sweet and sincere words Janet, only quarrelsome people enjoy conflict, the rest of us must learn to negotiate in business, and navigate in matters of the heart. Difficult but worthwhile lessons to have and perhaps that is why we are given situations such as these to face, until they are resolved. ❤️✨

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