Portrait Photography by Rawle C. Jackman

Difficult Conversations. Inspired by…

Sitting at home recovering from sciatica I began riffling through some of my old writings. Some years ago I wrote and performed poetry, but I also entertained myself by doodling much of the thoughts that came to my mind. Recently I shot a very lovely author, so below are some images of her along with one of those older pieces of writings I rediscovered.

Portrait Photography by Rawle C. Jackman

Difficult conversations, we often tend to delay having these. We put them off indefinitely. As if to have them we would most certainly die. These feel like heavy burdens we carry, uncertain burdens, whose weight we seem too insecure to handle. Perhaps our fear is the perceived unpleasant nature of the interaction. Fearful that feelings may get hurt, arguments might ensue, relationships might become strained, for the most part we usually postpone having these difficult conversations for fear that the worst will happen. And we do fear the worst.

Personally I am guilty of delaying such interactions for as long as many months, obviously only making an already bad situation worse. And of course, I would come up with every imaginable, and sometimes highly creative reasons to justify not dealing with the situation. It goes well beyond just simply sweeping it under a rug. It almost like hoping that if I avoid it long enough it will actually disappear. I am sure some of you can relate to this, as I would hate to think that I am unique to this behavior. There are times when, after a long time has passed that it did actually seem to disappear. At least from my mind. During all this creative reasoning, at some point I get to a place ever so unconsciously, where I actually forget about this particular issue, only to be reminded by an unsuspecting phone call from a number not recognized. Or by running into a person in the most unsuspecting and surprising of places. Where immediately, as if being jolted from a deep sleep, it all comes rushing back to you with all the guilt and embarrassment of a child getting caught being mischievous. And now you quickly adjust, possibly mumbling out some idiotic, not well thought out excuse. You feel like a fool because you know this should have been dealt with a long time ago. And the person in question can usually see right through your exposed weakness. But yet still we do it. Time and time again, knowing all to well, as experience is indeed the best teacher, that eventually we will have to confront it. So why are we so resistant to making this change knowing that it is a flaw that hinders our progress. The proof is in the pudding as they would say.

The times when I have gone out on a limb and actually decided to just deal with a particular issue at the moment, just have the conversation and move on kind of a decision, have proven to be less traumatic than usually envisioned. Usually the conversation, was just that, a conversation, and not some apocalyptic confrontation, hatched up by a busy and sometimes overly creative mind. And the relationships are all the better for it, with all parties coming out unscathed. Wow what a revelation.

So why do it again, when another difficult conversation is necessary? Is this the type of procrastination that signals the existence of a bad habit in need of breaking? Possibly it points to some deeper psychological fear of dealing with the unpleasant. Perhaps not confident that the ability to negotiate, win or lose through this is one of your stronger skills. Or perhaps allowing ones self to be so lost in the egotistic idea that the choice can be made to simply not deal with it, and in doing so it simply disappears. Whatever the reason, used to explain this, the fact remains that it is a conscious decision, that like any other habit we have, good or bad, it exists because we have practiced and perfected the particular behavior. And regardless of how we choose to see it, we do see it and we know with honesty that we should and can change it. And to do so involves the creation of a new habit, one that obviously counters the previous. It involves a willingness to truly face these matters head on, with the knowledge from past experiences that, it does work out, and sooner rather than later, to crudely paraphrase Langston Hughes, prevents the sore from festering and oozing out into some pus-like display of human regret. It means taking on these events as the come and moving on. To me it seems to be a lighter way to flow through this life, quickly leaving the weight of that kind of baggage behind.

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