Trust to speak up

Do I trust you, and our relationship enough to speak up?

When we are firm or blunt enough with our kids, our friends and family, our colleagues, we also send them the message that we trust them enough to speak up, and to speak the truth. 

After years of wearing the label shy, I tasted the exhilarating power of turning the table upside down, calling out the truth. I cared then more about doing the right thing than preserving a friendship undisturbed. 

Today I feel tired. Or I weigh the costs against the benefits, and I probably don’t value as much the health of a relationship in contrast with the peace I need to survive another day, or the delicate balance of preserving the peace.  

Conrad strikes again with his bluntness and he may have been more kind with his direct way that everyone else who is tiptoeing around a sensitive person. 

My 6 year old nice overreacted to a plan of playing a game. We had just arrived. Her mom proposed a game. The little girl who was already there agreed, and my daughters took a seat. I’m not sure who or what triggered her, but she exploded with a yell and she stumped upstairs, stomping even more because nobody rushed after her to appease her. (I find everyone’s calm to be wise). 

She came back down to where I was holding her baby brother and Conrad was on the armchair nearby. He engaged with her saying that her behavior shows she is not a very good host. Clear as day, I heard this and saw her stop in her tracks. Her bottom lip started to quiver and she stormed away yelling. Her mom re-invited her calmly to come and play but she was not ready. She hid behind the hallway corner. A minute later, after Conrad got up to get something. I was still holding the content baby, she came and whisper asked me: “am I really a bad host?” I was impressed with her introspection. Her parents told her numerous times to be a good host, to do good listening, to use her words, but she only heard her uncle when he said it once. I missed my chance to build on what he started. Maybe. Because I didn’t say yes or no. I didn’t know how much can handle so I basically said she is good. Did I undo what Conrad did? May the truth sink in. I should have asked more questions. But I only pointed out that her little friends are at the table playing nicely a game with her mom, and her playing nicely with them would be good hosting. I wish I had the words to say that storming out, yelling, stumping, that is not nice hosting. 

Why is it that things that our parents tell us daily, we don’t hear. If we had the ears to listen from the people that love us, we would be spared a ton of embarrassment. But it seems to click only when an outsiders points out something. 

I did not like the drama that my husband’s bluntness caused. It felt unnecessary. It seemed to me that he was unwise. Unable to anticipate the storm his words would create. But if he were so cautious, as I feel right now, walking on egg shells, no truth would be spoken, no growth, no growing pains. What he said I would not dream to tell an adult, a host. But I think Conrad would, and that makes me uncomfortable and proud at the same time. If someone hosting us acts out, is inappropriate, starts to drink, to swear, to smoke, to gossip, Conrad would call them out. He has done it. And the adults are so shocked that they snap out of it. Most often we lose that “friendship”, but in reality, would we want to be friends if nothing changed? Would we e good friends of we tolerated a toxic behavior? If we never said anything uncomfortable and true? 

We all have the capacity to speak up if we trust the people or the relationship. If we care enough to challenge it to make it better. 

There were some miscommunications with Conrad’s parents and I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of uncertainty, so I see this clearly? Am I right to feel a certain way? Do I care enough about our relationship to speak up? They want to see us and the girls, but we don’t have the funds to spend as much as it would be necessary on a trip like this. You know, excursions, food, in and out, souvenirs. We are selective and then when you draw the line you see difference. 

I want their company but I can’t keep up with the costs. I agreed to this trip and committed to pay whatever is necessary to not be indebted, but it started to erode my sleep. My sense of balance, my comfort in enjoying the simple pleasures. When dad said they would like to see us more often, and that family time and connection is important, on one hand I agreed and on the other I got very bitter inside because I can’t afford such dreams. I started to slowly she inside, until last night. Conrad woke up after midnight and touched my shoulder. I was sniffling. He asked me what wrong and the floodgates broke loose. I cried all my tension and worry, with snot and all. But couldn’t articulate again my thought without chocking up. So I gave him my journal page to read. The one I just wrote to process. He read and I cried quietly in the dark. At the end he said he understands and he agrees. And he will bring it up with his parents to clear the air, to set expectations. And he prayed. For clarity in communication and for peace. He took the lead and followed through, In ways I hadn’t witnessed in a long time. To not have all the answer, to not be in control, to let him walk into uncharted territory and let the dice fall where they might. It is a leap of faith like I don’t husky experience. I felt a lot was at stake and I didn’t like to feel so vulnerable. But indeed, mom and dad are trustworthy to challenge with the truth, and our relationship is valuable enough to them as well to not be dismissed. 

I guess I had been hurt in many other relationships to doubt that the other will listen, would care enough, or would be mature enough to hold their end of the deal, and take some responsibility. Mom and dad are our equals, in their wisdom, capacity, strength to meet us half way. I had been so tired to feel so lonely on this journey of communication. 

In order to make it. We all need a few friends who will be trustworthy and invested enough to care and hear and respond well. 

Tears were shed. Stories were told. Encouragement was generously given. I think I still hold back. My brain automatically filters out things. But I don’t worry too much. To a degree my instinct are trustworthy. Only sometimes we take leaps of faith. 

Tomorrow, if someone talks too much, or offends me unintentionally, my first instinct is still not to offer imediate feedback but to offer first grace. And if it repeats to share my opinion. Meanwhile I am in awe of Conrad’s bluntness and will rest in his shadow at time, as he leads the way speaking the truth unapologetically. We will balance each other and grow old together. And I am beyond grateful that he can take my bluntness and I don’t hold back with him. 

Last night, after I offloaded and I poured my heart out, I relaxed my head on the pillow ready to ready again. I told him he is a good listener. And he said my words are worth listening too. People ramble, but my words are always measured and rich, even when they are emotional. He is so unapologetically blunt, and easily tired by none sense, that his words touched me deeply.