A well-wisher texted the other day stating how my name was doing unsavory rounds at some gathering. And that he is so concerned. Another good friend calls to enquire the cause of my repeated disappearances from social events and party scenes. His monologue continued, ”so and so said something really bad about you, disturbed souls they are you see,” and the call ended. He too seemed pretty concerned. And my friend was talking about his good friends here. Friends with whom he burns the social media with updates and photos. Sigh!
Please hear me when I say I don’t want any part in the mundane.
The rest of the world can go ahead and carry on about the little things. With me, don’t do small talk. Let’s not waste our breath with the mediocrity of empty exchanges and meaningless conversations that end in uncomfortable silence and the awkward shuffling of feet.
Dear friend, if you want to tell me about your friends, tell me about the ways they stitched you back up after that broken heart. Tell me about the pit in your stomach you feel at the thought of losing any of them. Tell me what they mean to you, what you mean to them. Tell me what your life has been like with them in it and the emptiness it would be without the security of having them be only a phone call away.
Dear friend, tell me about your parents. Tell me how they molded you, how they shaped you into the person that stands before me. Tell me about how you carry your head up like your father always taught you and how your eyes are as piercing in color as your mother’s. Tell me about the way it felt hearing your father say he is proud of you for the very first time. Talk about the way your fathers pain cut you in the core the time he couldn’t look you in the eyes when you disappointed him. Tell me about all the ways your parents unintentionally broke you, because they all do, without even trying to. Yes my dear friend, let’s talk.
Dear friend, if you must tell me about your favorite food, please give me more than just that. Spare me the details of where and with whom you had your last meal and how many pictures you took and and uploaded on Facebook and the likes and comments you earned. I want to know about how many times you sat with your ailing grandmother, trying to master her favorite recipe. I want to know how many times your kitchen has had the lingering scent of that meal since she’s been gone. If you’re able to give me all of that, I’ll tell you about my incessant fear that one day, I won’t be able to get down all the family recipes I was raised on. That one day, the recipes my mom had kept in a tattered notebook will die right in my lap if I don’t hurry up and get them all down.
I want to know what makes you feel seen. What are your biggest accomplishments? What are your greatest regrets? I want to know what gets you up in the morning and moves you to get through this big ol’ life thing. I want to know the things that awaken your soul and all the things you are passionate about. Tell me what keeps you going in a world that is constantly pushing you to feel small. Tell me who you’ve fought to become. Tell me about the demons you keep hidden in the crevices of who you are. Yes,talk to me.
For as long as I live, for as many sunrises as I am able to wake up to, and as long as this beautiful earth makes its way circling around the sun, I want to make this time count. And I just don’t think empty conversations filled with how are you’s and badmouthing can ever give you that. So please, let’s not bother with small talk. Who is saying what about me doesn’t mean a thing to me. Shouldn’t mean a thing to you either.
Grace and Peace to you!