"Be nice." What is nice?
"Play nice." Play what and what if playing this "it" doesn't involve "nice"?
"Don't you act ugly. I better not hear about it!"
How do you "act" ugly? Either you are or are not, right? And if "you" hear about it, how does that change anything; am I not or was I not still ugly?
"Act nice." Isn't acting make believe, not true, not reality, pretending?
"Where is that thoughtful boy I always knew?" Should I know this boy? How well did you really know him?
"You're gonna' hurt his feelings."
How should I know how someone feels? How does someone hurt feelings? Are they damaged? Do these feelings no longer function?
"Now, was that nice?"
First, like I asked earlier, what is "nice"? Once you tell me what "nice" is, then I can tell you if "it" was nice or not, and does that matter, or are we still trying to not break someone's feelings?
"You know better than that."
I know better? How can one know better? And what is the "that"? Maybe I can know more or differently, but to know better...yes, I get it; I know better because the grand "you" said that a certain word or action was wrong, and "to know better" just means I should have made another choice. I get it. Damn, I get it. (Oops, I done went and cussed.)
I'm in a quandary.
Communication should be easy. One person says a word, "tree." "Tree" is understood. Communication has always seemed a simple process. I have made it through life with my communication skills and style(s) for well over fifty years. But now, maybe because of fifty years of communicating, watching its impact or lack thereof in life, I grow weary of the Escheresque landscape I'm finding human discourse to be. That is not to say such a landscape is a "bad" thing, but coming to the realization that how I have interacted can be called into....and Has been called into question creates some angst, yet angst nicely fitted with possibilities for tickling change.
I am weighted with voices and messages from parents, churches, southern traditions and values, friends, professional training, academics, learned emotional responses, hyper-vigilance, fears of consequences, counselors, books, ministers, a multiplicity of cultures.
Picture a massive funnel, tin (like Tin Man's hat), huge at one end, and ear- hole small at the other - inserted into my aural cavity - since let's say, oh...............day one! (I suspect it may be survival gear provided upon entry into this sphere.)
Sadly, I fear my funnel has rusted through the years, becoming happily lodged - stuck to my flesh, speaking all of its truths to me for such a long time. Imagine the wax build up. Well, happy day. The rust is no longer strong enough to hold the funnel together; like so many words, it has begun to lose its integrity, so it has begun to crack and flake off; fewer voices come in, wax is falling out in wordy chunks, like a vocabularic vomit, yet with more relief than nausea. What an incredibly loud silence.
Someone whispers a word to me.
I respond in a crotch kicked scream, "Stop yelling!"
My hearing is coming back, hearing my own voice, not all those others. Writing is safe speech. It's written. I know who wrote it. Some will like it. Some will not. So?
A phrase regurgitates itself, "You better write nice."
No, I will not write nice. I will write. Just write. Just me. Just now.