When Simple Answers Won’t Do: Why I hate Small Talk

Sometimes I forget how messed up I am or how dark my life has been. I’m not sure how it happens because the shadows are always on the edges of me. I think I’m so comfortable with them, I just forget that they’re there.

Most of the time, the remembering comes in the form of a question. It can be a simple question; just some small talk to fill the time or an attempt to get to know me better. From the questioner, it’s an innocent initiation; a question that has been asked of an unknown number of faces.

The most recent example in is a question raised around the circle from one of my dearest friends.

“What were you like as a teenager.”

A simple question begging for nothing more than a simple answer.

For me, questions like that are a landmine.

They stir the shadows and fire within, calling upon demons both known and unknown to me.

I wish I could explain it to you; show you the images that pop in my head when I recall certain places and times in my life. I wish I could write my life story for you so that you could see; and understand.

But I can’t.

It’s not a linear or clear story.

I don’t even remember it all.

Some things aren’t worth the price of remembering.

On one hand, I had an amazing childhood. I remember the infinite laughter that would fill the house; mud fights; hide and seek at night on the edge of the forest; fireflies and midnight walks.

But then there is the darkness.

Things that I cannot or will not speak right now. Things not appropriate for a casual conversation. Things that are only appropriate for the deadest of nights and fullest moons.

Those are the stories fights and promiscuity. The relationships with (much) older men and the things I cannot yet will myself to remember. It was crying so quietly that I could not hear myself on a couch at 3AM with my best friend beside me.

(My mama heard me, though).

Maybe over time, the answers to those questions have smoother edges. Maybe they will not. Maybe they’re meant to stay jagged so that I can remember what it’s like to feel.

I’m saying all of this just to remind you that:

When we haven’t tamed our shadows, we’ll never know when or how they will come to the light.

….and that’s okay

Have grace with yourself and feel free to decline to answer or to answer in full truth and honesty (fuck politeness). Your story is your own and you should be free to tell it in your own time and in your own tongue.

How Did I get here?

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