Chapter 7: The Voice of Reason
Greetings from a Wakanda loving Empress, and her choir of chaotic thoughts
I’ve contemplated a lot since Valentine’s Day and the weekend after. Specifically contemplating the many faces of wisdom in my life. Whether it’s a word or two from the matriarchs of my life, an old internship supervisor, or simply the advice from friends to far away to give hugs. I’m surrounded by positive voices of reason when I need it the most.
Now, while I claim my nature to be chaotically inclined, I do every now and again offer wisdom far beyond my years to family, friends, strangers, and lovers. It’s weird, usually, my words rumble out from my instincts or from a place of empathy. I’m never reading a book of idioms and reciting phrases from page 69 at whims, I’m always saying something from my heart. However, it should come as no surprise that advice or wisdom is not always wanted. I’ve had plenty of days where I felt like hypothetically shooting the messenger. There are many moments in my life where I did not want the advice given to me, I was not in a place to receive it emotionally. An idea I’ve come to accept in my early 20’s.
It’s up to those giving wisdom and advice to be aware of emotional receptibility of the person they wish to help. There’s an old phrase, one my mom always says, and it goes like, “There is a time and place for everything”. Thinking about that idea I finally understood that sometimes my wisdom or advice isn’t needed in certain spaces or moments. Sometimes someone just needs to vent, without the overwhelming advice shoved into that moment. Other times someone might just need a place to express their side of a story without opinion or judgement. Understanding these moments is the difference between being a supportive friend and a know-it-all nuisance. Shoving your page 69 pearls of wisdom during an emotional moment can make you appear to be selfish, or even disinterested about the wellbeing of the person you thought you were helping. Odd to consider that acts of care are not always caring.
As a frequent know-it-all nuisance in the past, I live now with regrets for moments where I was not the proper support some people needed. If I could go back, I would tell the younger version of myself to shut up and listen. If I had known now that sometimes I just need to let others “exist without an assist” I potentially might have helped way more in the long run. Well, we live and we learn. Though, while this post offers its own pearls of wisdom, the reason I contemplated this idea so much, is because I need it.
I wish harder than the kids in Dragon Tales that the voices of reason would stop, and listen. A conversation is between two people, not one person speaking at another. The pain of advice given at the wrong moment has been emotionally detrimental. I wish that every now and again, someone would listen without the “try to fix” mentality that plagues the wisdom givers. It is by far the most isolating experience to need help and receive the conversational coupon instead. Perhaps this conversation is not ready to be had among the people in my life, but I hope one day they learn the power of listening without trying to fix it. I learned the hard way, with another dear friend winking out of my life... I realized I wasn’t the supporting friend I thought I was. Instead of moping or hoping for people who left to come back to my life, I decided to understand what was wrong with me. I don’t listen, at least not in the way needed. Has the changed now? Sure it has, I listen, and perhaps a little too well if that’s possible. I still seek to understand myself, and my influence in those around me. 2017 had many harrowing moments I will certainly not forget but am healing from.
There is a change coming, and I think an important step begins when we learn to listen without reprimand, judgement, or self-interest.
Thanks for listening to your wary Empress.
I'm in love with reading essays lately, have no idea why - Empress Jade