I have always waited for a knight in shining armor to rescue me … from me. As a young child and then a troubled teenager, living in a head full of dreams and a home riveted by trauma, there was always a crack of hope in the darkness within, letting a light I could not precisely distinguish trickle in.
Authentic connection means bringing your whole self to the table (even the less pleasant parts), making mistakes, getting into conflictual situations at times, not liking what you hear or having to be very unpopular.
When I sit down across from someone and there is no agenda on the table except for the topic of conversation, when I am fully present and manage to quiet the voices in my head that shoot answers every second to what I think I hear, I enter a new realm, that of real connection. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to feel important, even if for a few minutes. It is one of the greatest signs of respect and one of the most generous gifts to offer.
What is the middle ground that lies between being truly grateful for what you have and striving to improve things that don’t go so well? When is it ok to continue to try to better yourself and your situation and when does a future better become the enemy of the good you already have? I wish there was a way this can be measured. More often than not these days I wish for some certainty and clarity amongst all this noise.
We must be careful about the voices that we plant in our children’s heads. They will stay with them forever, whether we believe so or not, whether we intend to provoke this or not. And most of our children might not have the fortune of a strong personal character to push them into a nervous breakdown to reset the narrative that they believe about themselves. And won’t have the opportunity to ask the question, well, what if this isn’t so? They will simply continue believing the voices.
I cannot call myself a patriot, that would make me a hypocrite. As a gay woman in a middle management position I don’t feel exactly at home here in Bucharest and am living in a bubble choosing not to truly be me outside of it most times. But never until this week have I felt the burden of a mistake to be this heavy: I should have left this country when I had a chance.