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The Cocktail of Communication

Communication is like a shot of tequila. A fun idea at first, followed by a slow burn down your throat and an unsettling feeling in your stomach.

That’s what communication tastes like to me. A few shots or sips later, I seem to wander down one of two communicative pathways. The first (which is preferred by all), is the happy-go-lucky, water under the bridge, let me chat your ear off and shower you in mushy-gushy compliments. This path is accompanied by many hugs, kisses, laughter and usually no regrets the following morning.

The latter can be accurately compared to a pot of boiling water. Dark thoughts that have been waiting in my brain’s hidden crevasses, requiring one too many drinks or a bad day to bubble to the surface. This path pairs well with arguments and a lengthy recovery period wondering “why did I say that” and “how is this still bothering me?”.

The other day my landlord and her son were in the midst of an argument. I found myself listening, totally enamoured by the mother’s ease in calming her son down. She said, “I can see why you’re frustrated, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to me. Your solution is not incorrect, it’s just different than how somebody else may have approached this situation. Why don’t we work on this together”.

I nearly dropped my broom as I pretended to sweep and collect my jaw off of the floor - does communication like this really exist?

Do most people, especially parents and children, communicate with this much confidence and patience? There was no door slamming, no passivity, and no snide comments with discerning undertones. This was fascinating!

It’s interesting to observe the ways people have built and strengthen their own communication toolkits. Over the past couple of years, I’ve admired the expressive capabilities of my friends, family and partners. But with this admiration, I have grown more critical of my own communication strategies. When confronted with a question that demands an answer, why do I often feel like I’ve just taken that tequila shot?

Learning the cadence of this whole verbal communication thing is a bit of a dance that I’m still working on, most recently through talk-therapy. Therapy has allowed me to sit down in a safe space, free of judgement, and explain that I had, once again, become nuclear around a partner. Something as ridiculous as unfolded laundry has set me off, when really I just haven't been able to clearly communicate that I’m stomaching some newfound insecurities about myself.

This new outlet has offered air for my bottled up energy to breathe. Am I a better communicator because of this? No, not necessarily. What I have gained though is a clearer snapshot of how I have or have not communicated in the past, and why it decides to come up after a few drinks or while looking at a bag of laundry that wasn’t put away.

Although I still view my own verbal communication in the same way as a shot of tequila, I’m learning that with outlets such as therapy, a good cry, or most commonly, a cute dog - I’m able to pour some soda into the mix to create more of a cocktail than a disaster waiting to happen.


**Photography by Liam Goslett.


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