I thought we were done here
The conversation – untangled
The conflict – compromised
But the knot in me disagrees
An inconvenient, perhaps irrational
Saboteur to polite smiles
I’ve tried to swallow it down
Ignore it simmering inside
But my body refuses to be a home to discord -
Disassembled as I attempt to be
So we pull our strings again
Clench every tendon lining our jaw
Bend our fingers white
‘Till it all seems too likely to snap
And with surprise –
We’re woven back only to embrace
We seem to forget we’re elastic
Stretched twisted and released –
Bent, but never enough to break
When I was young, my sister and I played a mess of a game at our Grandparents’ house. We would take my Gram’s spools of yarn and create a giant spider web throughout the house, tying yarn from doorknob to dresser handle, coffee table leg to lamp stand. At the time for us, so small and nimble, it was quite easy to navigate through with a lot of fun – diving through triangles and limboing under low threads. But now, so much taller, I imagine trying to weave through it and it sounds all too familiar. It sounds like life.
Every day, conflict arises. We move forward through the morning only to cross injustice on our left, weave through an internal struggle on our right, and run into disappointment and hurt smack in the middle of our path. Try to bend under its strings momentarily as we may, whether in an effort to keep the peace or avoid the lack thereof, conflict calls for our attention. It calls for untangling.
This month, our goal is to pull back the curtain on conflict. To see it for what it truly is – something to navigate through – rather than avoid out of fear. Whether it be miscommunicated expectations between friends or partners, a long-buried conversation to be addressed with family, or the global issues affecting lives daily, the process of weeding through it is essential for growth. Most of which comes through how we enter into these hard conversations.
Because when our only goal is to pull as hard as we can at our end of the string, clinging to win the tug-of-war for pride, will it really bring us anywhere other than a giant web of yarn?
Rather, when we approach any of these conflicts with the intent to not just make our point the loudest, but to find where the tangling started, share our perspective, and listen with empathy, there is much more to gain than unraveled yarn. From what I’ve encountered in healthy conflict – it means more honesty. More resilience. More unconditionality. More of the understanding we’re all really searching for.
Photos by Nicol Biesek for Yellow Co.