A few things I wish I’d learned the easy way (part two)

     If you are wondering what this post is about and why it is called part two, it would be swell if you took a look at yesterday’s post.  Of course, I could just tell you that I’m passing on a few things I’ve discovered the hard way so you don’t have to.  I could even mention that on Sunday, I discussed poor vision, dumb cats, and boobs…but I think I’ll let you figure it all out for yourself.
4.  Avoiding conflict is not a long-term solution.
     Don’t get me wrong.  This is the secret to surviving the holidays and prolonged car trips.  I should know.  My family used to drive across the country every year with six people, a cat, and a very bad dog crammed into the car.  I learned how to get changed without flashing truckers, how to read inappropriate books without attracting any attention, and most importantly, how to keep my mouth shut.  Most of this I gleaned from watching my sister do it all wrong.
     One heated altercation ended abruptly when she rolled down the window of the Gran Torino and sat in the sill clinging to the car-top carrier.  Dad didn’t even slow down.  As we careened through the mountains with her ass dangling off the side of a cliff, I made a mental note:  never do what she had done.  I figured, why risk life and limb just to make your lousy point?  What good is making your parents so mad that they won’t pull over to make peace and/or save your crappy teenage life? It’s not like she got her way or anything.  (F.Y.I.:  She’s alive!  And she’s not crappy; I meant that being a teenager feels kind of crappy sometimes).
     While the lesson here seems obvious now–avoid confrontation while piled in the family truckster–I processed this lesson in a much broader sense.  I came to the unfortunate conclusion that conflict was to be avoided at all costs and inany situation.  Though I was probably only 7 or 8 at the time, it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to re-evaluate.
     There are plenty of times when I still suck it up.  I continue to do whatever is necessary to endure five days in the car–like buy a plane ticket instead.  What I am saying is that over a long period of time, avoiding conflict is bad for the digestive system, the quality of life, and the very relationships you are trying to protect.  If you are afraid that broaching a topic might drive a wedge between you and someone you love, remember that your silence has already formed a wedge.  Avoiding the truth ensures that real connection cannot occur.
     Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
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Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

2 thoughts on “A few things I wish I’d learned the easy way (part two)”

    1. Hi, Nina! Thanks for reading! In a moment of surprising bravery–or stupidity–I signed up for National Novel Writing Month: http://www.nanowrimo.org/ Basically, they challenge you to write 50,000 words in thirty days. I suddenly realized it might be a stretch to go from composing a 10-word facebook status to writing 1,600 words per day. The post-a-day plan is to warm up for the big time. 🙂

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