Types of Conversations
Since returning from the workshop in Virginia, I find that I’m struggling to be around my friends who only want to communicate about surface topics. I feel constantly frustrated by talk of ‘events’ and ‘incidents’ rather than what I see as the real subjects under discussion; how that person feels when that happened, why it makes them angry or sad, what it reminded them of and whether they’re conscious of what was imagined and what was real.
The few friends I have who want to talk at this deeper level seem invaluable to me now, it’s like the minute we open our mouths we lay down the costume we’re wearing and just relax into being with each other. It feels such a relief to be around them, and frankly I’m starting to straight out resent all the people in my life who insist on keeping the costume on and keeping me at arms length. It just feels rude, like they’re not willing to trust me.
And I get that this is not an entirely good place to be. I want to feel kind and patient with those people who are still dependent on their armour and protection, but instead I feel impatient and irritated with them. I guess I’m often hovering in the “St.Ego” Level of Sufi Consciousness these days, believing that I have some kind of special knowledge and that everyone else should just catch the fuck up so I can stop wasting my time with them talking about the price of coffee in Starbucks, and what someone we both know is doing with their life these days.
I’m aware that I’m spending a lot of time alone or talking online, rather than interacting with humans in the real world because of this. It’s not that I feel safer or that the idea of genuine interactions scare me, I just can’t be bothered to go through the initial “hi, I’m Laura and now let’s cut the bullshit please” phase that seems to be necessary whenever I meet someone new. And weighing in with the contents of brain, including my insecurities and minute-to-minute observations of my physical sensations tends to freak some people out. I’ve come to realise that I’m becoming more and more like my daughter — or specifically like someone Aspergic — and people like that are sometimes hard to be around (as evidenced by the awesome protagonist Saga Norén in my latest obsession ‘The Bridge’).
But — and this is a major point that I’m adding as an addendum now — isn’t the point of changing in this way to interract with people more authentically? Isn’t shying away from having those awkward conversations just another way of backing away from being the real me with people? I can dress it up in logic and superciliousness, but I think that’s at the core of it. Telling myself that ‘being authentic around others that aren’t is pointless’ somehow defeats the point of being authentic altogether. After all, we can all be our authentic selves within a vacuum.
Law Turley is a qualified integrative counsellor and certified Radical Honesty Trainer living and working in the south west of the UK.