It’s a buzzword. And it’s one that I’m getting pretty exhausted with.
I think about when I’m interviewing someone for a job – “Situation x happens in the workplace, how do you respond?” “Well, I’m a really good communicator, so I’d make sure that I was straightforward with the person so they knew what was going on…” or talking to someone about their relationship – “I just need someone who communicates, like, let’s have everything out in the open, it’s what helps us get through all the dumb stuff” or you name it. Everyone falls back on ‘communication’ like it’s this comfy, cushy, safe place to be.
It. Is. Not.
Communication is hard. Communication is sloppy. Communication is saying the things you need to say even if it makes the person you’re saying it to uncomfortable because you know, scratch that, you trust that you’ll both come out on the other side of it stronger and better than when you entered. Communication is telling someone all the reasons you love them and telling them how they upset you. Communication is telling someone about yourself, you whole self, without feeling like you’re hiding anything. Communication is picking up the phone instead of sending a text message. There’s a lot to communication that we don’t fully commit to yet.
But doesn’t it sound so good to say?
Everyone has their person. That person that they say everything to. I get close, but for some reason I save that real communication, that real messy I’ll tell you everything until you’re sick of me shit for the people I really care about. That, deepest darkest secret stuff. You know, the stories you’re afraid people will judge you for. Yes, those. And there’s a why – the people who I’m closest to are the people who scare me the most because they get all of me – not in an understanding way but a I’ll do anything for you kinda way – and if I tell them everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) then I can always be fully me around them. I really want (deep deep deep want) someone I can tell everything to – even the stuff I’m not supposed to, because that’s the stuff that really shows that you mean a lot to me.
And maybe I share too much information. I’m learning. But what exactly am I learning? That you’re not supposed to tell everyone everything? That no matter who it is, best friend or not, that you’re supposed to hide the part(s) of yourself that might make others uncomfortable? I can’t. I’m not willing to hide any part of myself anymore. Here’s why.
I’ve lived in the closet from my family for years. YEARS. Guys, pretty much my entire life. And I’ll be fair, it’s confusing for my family – I’m queer, I date girls, I date guys, I’m that beautiful shade of grey – and I ‘hid’ it from them for as long as I can remember. And I thought it was the right thing to do because it saved their feelings. It did not save mine. Holding back from them (i.e. not communicating) gave me permission to separate myself from them, it made it okay not to call, it made it okay not to write, it made it okay to not tell them about my relationships, because they wouldn’t understand anyway. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I decided it was time to tell them (what they probably already knew.) Their reception was graceful and I should have expected nothing less. But here’s the thing – coming out to them, really communicating that thing that maybe makes them uncomfortable allowed me to be fully integrated, to live with integrity.
With that in mind, think then about how important it is for me to live that honestly with everyone. It’s hard. And I’m not perfect. In fact, I still don’t know that there’s anyone that I tell everything to, because when I’ve tried – there’s always been something that has been a little too much. Too much idealism, too much dreaming, too much weight loss, too much yoga, too much exes, too much sex, too much _________.
We spend so much time molding ourselves into who we think our world wants us to be only to be shaped by the experiences we have.
I’m looking for that person that I can share everything with. That no-holds-barred, take me as I am, sometimes a mess person who can and will appreciate it. I know I’m being unfair. But it’s something I want. You know why? Because I’m exactly that for so many people. And maybe that’s my lesson here, I don’t deserve anything. Just because I hold that space, serve that purpose for others doesn’t mean that it automatically comes back to me. Instead I write about it, here, and I diffuse it across the community of people who choose to read this blog. So even though I haven’t said “thank you” to you all, know that I’m filled with gratitude for all of you because you (collectively) are the people who get my full story – I’m not hiding anything from you – because there’s no singular you, it’s all of you. There’s less pressure that way.
So. With all of that said. Communication only works when you choose to communicate. Fully. Openly. Not what you choose to say or what you want to hear. For me, communication is authentic, it’s all or just the stuff I think you want to hear and if you only get the stuff you want to hear then I’m not really communicating with you because I’m filtering the things I say to you. I don’t want that.
That’s not fair.
And it isn’t fair either that I expect one person to hold that space for me. And I guess I don’t.
I just like the reminder.
Think about the people you hold dear in your life. What are you communicating to them? Is it everything? Is it just the things you think they want/need to hear? Is there anyone in your life that you feel fully open to or are you dispersing yourself among multiple people?