Conversations we need to have start with ourselves

Image: 123RF/Jeffery Cleveland

Do you know the burden of needing to have a difficult conversation, but always postponing it because things are busy or there is just never the right moment?

I feel that is what the world has been doing for years, just skirting around issues and hoping no one explodes or that no one touches on the really difficult but necessary to have conversations. And then, Covid happened, and suddenly there is nothing for us to do but talk.

It has been about three months now since our whole world was turned upside down. We have had most of the things we did to pass time and occupy our minds taken away. Almost everything of what we knew has been turned upside down. Together with the collective anxiety we all harbour over this virus, this new normal has left every pending conversation with a sense of urgency.

During this time, some among us have lost loved ones. Because of circumstances, people have needed to mourn and grief differently.

I have seen the beginning of what could be a conversation about whether or not we ought to be doing funerals differently going forward, especially us black people. I have also seen that this isn't being taken up with as much gusto that has become the norm on social media platforms. Is it because we are afraid to question ourselves or because we have come to know and respect funerals as sacred and not to be tampered with?

Or are we reluctant when conversations are about things that have become normal? Conversations aren't always meant to be comfortable and we are certainly in no comfortable place as the world. There are global conversations that have started and because of that smaller groups have been forced to talk and confront certain issues for the first time.

Conversations aren't immediate fixes to issues, but the least we can hope to achieve with any conversation is that people begin the important work of looking within in the hope of fixing what's outside. That people begin to think differently about the impact their actions have on people.

The hardest conversations I have had to have during this time have been with myself. I have had to confront me at a place that I had never dared to be at within myself. I went for a while without alcohol, intentionally, not because of regulations. I did not like everything I found in the nooks of my mind and my soul. There was a day where I could not get out of bed because of the burden of the things I had allowed to happen to me or the things that I had participated in that weren't to anyone's benefit and may have caused pain and discomfort.

Because of that, I have begun having really uncomfortable conversations with people in my life. More than anything I am emboldened by the silence in the world, there is no way anyone can say they did not hear me or claim to be too busy to talk.

I'm talking to absolutely everyone, lover, sibling, friend and everything else in between.

My dad will read this and think "not me"; your turn is coming, papa.

There is lots to heal in the world, this virus has definitely shown up to allow us to reflect on this. There are structural and systematic cracks that you and I cannot heal, there are higher powers that must deal with that.

What we can all do, is start healing the broken parts within us, then extend the healing by holding conversations. Confront the people in your life about their contribution to the societal issues we face. But most of all, confront yourself.

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