Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ouch



One night, almost ten years ago, I went on a date with a chap who observed: "I can see the words travelling from your heart all the way up to your mouth, then stopping... and travelling back again."

He was a bit prone to the melodrama but that wasn't the only reason it didn't work out.

That said, I think he was onto something there.

As far as decisions went, in 2013 I made some big ones. I took time away from my day job to prioritise my writing. I decided to pursue (in)fertility treatment up to the point of, but not including, IVF. I took the plunge and took my blog to the next level. The outcomes of these three decisions are well documented here.

The most important decisions, however, were not necessarily these big ones.

They were the tiny everyday ones when I decided that, however hard it felt and whatever the repercussions, I would push the words right out of my mouth.

One of the reasons I loved Christos Tsiolkas' novel The Slap was that I found it completely believable. Yes, it was set in contemporary Melbourne. Yes, the characters were the sorts of people I've crossed paths with. Yes, each person was so gorgeously, revoltingly human. But, for me, the most compelling aspect was the massive gap between each narrator's rich inner dialogue and the words they chose to speak out loud.

There have been times when I've wondered if anything short of a baseball bat would dislodge the words stuck in my head, such that they would tumble out of my mouth. And I'm not talking about grand declarations or wise retorts here. I'm referring to quiet, succinct statements that reflect how vulnerable I'm feeling.

I know that every person and their canine have been espousing the virtues of vulnerability of late, particularly since Brené Brown's work has attracted the attention of a more mainstream audience. There have been times when I've wondered if it all sounds a bit too neat, and whether many of us (me included) fully grasp the nuances and implications.

But, I've got to say, in all honesty that there's something in it. Some of the greatest acts of courage I've performed this past year have started from the smallest conversations. The ones where I've simply said, "Ouch". The ones that have opened the way for conversations that have significantly shifted mindsets and behaviours.

These are the decisions I am going to keep practicing. I doubt they'll ever become habit. But I reckon it's the showing up and giving it a go that's the most important bit.


I am responding here to the fourteenth prompt from #reverb13. You are warmly invited to share your own response below, if you did not have the opportunity to do so in December. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. x


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