Uncomfortable Conversations

Content Warning: Blood, Death, Disordered Eating

We need to have an uncomfortable conversation about uncomfortable conversations.

Every once in a while someone asks about the bracelet I wear on my left FullSizeRender (7)wrist. I tell them that it bears the name of a fallen comrade. He was someone I knew, and I was there when he died. This tends to end the conversation because now it’s uncomfortable. Pardon me for making you uncomfortable. I too would prefer not to think about him bleeding to death, saluting him on his way home, and hugging his widow. I would love to sleep without nightmares and live without PTSD. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy such a privilege.

A few friends of mine are especially thin. People love to comment on that, but they don’t feel comfortable discussing their eating disorders. People also don’t want to hear about the multiple sexual assaults that caused these eating disorders. Those conversations would make us uncomfortable.

On and around Thanksgiving, people didn’t want to talk about “depressing” things. Meanwhile, I was having numerous conversations about eating disorders, sexual assault, and other “depressing” topics. None of us wanted to talk about these things. We wanted to be happy, but the holiday itself triggered the conversations. Had I avoided these conversations, my friends would’ve suffered silently and alone which would likely have aggravated their disordered eating and other self-destructive behaviors.

As Christmas approaches, people will probably try to avoid these and other “depressing” topics. As we turn away, people will still be victimized and to suffer for reasons out of their control. Many will suffer silently and alone even in the presence of loved ones. In fact, that isolation can be much more powerful and painful when surrounded by people whose support we crave but cannot have. Heartache does not ever take a holiday even when we do.

We all want to be safe and comfortable, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that desire. The more we avoid listening to how people have suffered, however, the less we actually are safe and comfortable. We have to get comfortable with these uncomfortable conversations.

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15 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Conversations

  1. I think that this is so spot on. We cannot turn away from the pain and discomfort of others and then claim that we are safe. We are not. Until we are ALL safe, none of us are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post. Powerful. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about writing about your experience in a book? I know a lot of people who suffer from combat related PTSD and they just clam up, which I get. Or they drink to numb it. So brutal, so sure no one will want to hear the horrors they’ve undergone. I read Laurie Halse-Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory, and I kept thinking, “This is great, so important. I wish I could hear it from someone who has been there.” The imprint for my novel Monochrome (deals with PPD, depression, self-harm, suicide in a fictional setting) is called Gravity by Booktrope. I think they are open for submissions, if you’ve ever thought about telling your story. I understand if you are not eager to do so, however. Just a thought. Hugs to you. It’s the uncomfortable conversations that are so important. And they are the first to be ignored. But we have to keep talking, like you are doing. For us and for those who suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, H.M. I know Gravity well and have read some of their books already. That’s how I found your blog. I was inspired to start my blog by reading Apryl Pooley’s “Fortitude”. I am working on my memoir which is slow going, but Gravity will certainly get first look whenever I get the thing done.

      Also, your book is already on my shelf. I’m just way behind on my reading.

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      1. Drew, I’m very excited that you are writing your story. Apryl is a joy, as are so many of my co-writers. I sue hope that you are among our ranks some day. Happy reading to you!

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    1. I hadn’t even considered the lying angle even though I see it all the time. Great point.

      My line of thinking was more about how I see people constantly wanting to be protected from triggers. I can’t escape mine, even if I never leave the house. I had a flashback yesterday when I noticed the date (significant to me). I wish someone would’ve protected me from all the things that caused me to have triggers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll sum it up this way:

    I decided to participate in The Lines Project. When my daughter found out, she jumped right in, and then she did up my wife/her mother.

    I’ll link you up with a post that explains things if you wish. We have all lived a life in my family that… we just can’t ignore such topics. It’s nigh impossible, and if society doesn’t like that, well, y’know, eh, let ’em smell their own farts, and take repeated deep whiffs until they finally admit they stink– however agonizingly long that takes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I understand the delay. I’m way behind on a lot of things myself. When things settle down for me a few weeks from now, I definitely want to get into more of those Twitter chats. And thanks for your kind words about my blog. They were quite touching.

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  4. I love this post. I, too, am drawn to “uncomfortable topics,” they just seem more real to me than yakking about whatever the Kardashians are doing. That’s what drew me to blogging – people talking about uncomfortable things like loss of loved on, infertility, religion, politics, eating disorders, sexual assault. Sharing and connecting and realizing we’re not as different in our struggles as we think we are. I’m glad you’re here, talking about these things. Make no mistake – the blogging community is where you belong. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

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