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I just finished fastening my Mary Jane heels when I hear the horn beep.
I slowly run down the long path. My friend was waiting for me at the end of my driveway. We were on our way out to hit the new club that opened in town.
As soon as we learned of the grand opening, she texted me right away to keep my calendar open because we were going out.
It’s been ages since I’ve been out. It’s been ages since I’ve seen her.
We had been friends for years. We did everything together. Or at least we used to.
One day, she stopped calling me. Or did I stop calling her?
Regardless, she now fights to stay in my life, despite my terrible communication skills.
I typically struggle with communication. Even with people I’m closest to, I can’t seem to formulate the words that swirl in my head to translate into a conversation.
Put me in a room with strangers, and you’ll find me in the corner hiding just so I won’t be forced to speak. I stand there and watch everyone conversing in awe because it’s something I just can’t do.
I wonder what they are talking about. I smile at how easy it is for everyone to chat about the room. I admire everyone’s confidence when they speak.
So, when my phone constantly rings, it makes my head spin. My anxiety kicks in each time I feel the vibration of a new text message. My heart kicks up a notch when I hear the ding of a new social media alert.
Everyone wants to know where the hell I am, why I haven’t called, or why I haven’t reached out.
The fact is, I just don’t know what to say or how to say it.
Just because I’m not starting the conversation, it doesn’t mean I’m not dying to talk to you.
I have so much to say. I want to join in on the conversations. I need to feel a connection with the world. But for the life of me, I just can’t do it.
My quiet stance comes off as being a b*tch. My lack of communication comes off as being a snob. My inability to speak comes off as being uninterested.
None of this is true.
I am the nicest person anyone can meet. I open my heart to everyone in my life. I am laid back. I don’t judge anyone. I am loyal and devoted.
I just don’t know what to say or how to say it sometimes. I can’t start a conversation. If I do, the words come out super fast and I tend to ramble. Or if there is some conversation and we hit a slight pause, I walk away to hint I’m tapping out.
Why do I struggle with communication?
I assume everyone is busy in their own lives, so I don’t want to bother them.
I’m so goddamn paranoid. I am terrified someone will misinterpret what I am saying. I’m scared they won’t agree with me and I’m not good with confrontation.
I wonder how many people actually care about what I’m saying. I wonder how many of them are silently criticizing me.
I’m so worried about what people think of me. I overthink everything. So I wonder if they are judging me.
I’m super shy. I’m afraid of my own voice. My confidence is nonexistent. I never learned it as a child. I followed the leader. I did what I was told. I didn’t question anything. I wasn’t allowed to be difficult. I was shhh-ed when I would ask questions or laughed at because my questions were stupid. It was easier to stay quiet.
I am afraid of rejection. I wonder if no one listens. I think this scares me the most. I’ve spent a lot of my life alone. I keep a lot of what I think and feel to myself. Because I can’t walk away from myself. But everyone else can.
The first step to fixing the broken pieces of myself is acknowledging that there is a problem. I won’t deny what I struggle with. I won’t get defensive if someone calls me out on it. I know my flaws. I know where I’m broken. I know this needs to be fixed.
It’s something that I’ve been working on. And I’ve seen the changes with the work I have put in to fix it.
I also developed a way to communicate if the words still escape me.
I listen. There is no better way to show I am in the conversation than to actually listen. So I don’t always need words when I communicate with someone. It shows I care enough to hear what they have to say. That is important. Even when I’m in a room full of strangers, I actually don’t need to talk if I feel uncomfortable. I listen to them. It shows my attentiveness to what they are saying. It shows I’m actively participating.
I use body language. A smile doesn’t use any words but it shows what my heart is feeling. A hand on someone’s arm says a lot. Eye contact is personal.
I try to respond to every call, text, or social media post. Even if I am not saying much of anything, I will respond so they know I hear them.
I ask questions now. It shows I’m paying attention, I’m interested and present.
I may always suck at communication. But I’m getting better at it.
And I want you to know that I’m starting the conversation now because I’m dying to talk to you.
To the amazing people in my life who stay regardless of my sh*t communication skills, I love you.
And I have so much to tell you.
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