Three days ago, I had a talk with someone I love that caused me to recognize our tendency to get distracted from the intentional purpose of the conversation. We go off on tangents and hard emotions. When did everything become so complicated? I value good intentions and loving effort. I value listening and validating. When did freedom of speech, acceptance and a general foundation of respect become so elusive? Labels have a place, but we also overuse them to shut people down when we don’t like the words that they speak. As far back as 25 years ago, I remember a huge wave of confusion coming over me anytime I was in a difficult conversation with someone. I stumble over my words, trying to express myself but I’m so worried about the way my words will be perceived that I stutter, then trail off into a “nevermind.” Then the shame. The feeling of dissociation, confusion, then the not remembering what I was trying to say. I am judged for these things that happen to me as if I do them on purpose. How can I fix relationships when I’m feeling like I need to defend myself for PTSD symptoms anytime I build up the courage to voice a need i have? The words I DO say are treated as if they are less valid just because of my handicap. The gaslighting is impossible to maneuver when I am reminded of my honest mistakes of memory retention and the ” aha” moments of clarity and breakthrough that I vulnerably share. To have my awesome breakthroughs held negatively against me is manipulative and disarming of the positive hard work that I do. The way I see it is that the words I DO say are SUPER VALID because of how much effort i put into saying them! Being a human is freaking hard. The action of love can be heartbreaking when the I feel so hopelessly misunderstood by the enormous list of resentments against me, yet I chose forgiveness every day. There are currently 7,117 languages spoken in the world today. How many more “languages” are spoken within each of those languages? I could say “hello” to a group of 5 people and at least 3 of those people could perceive my good-naturedness as something completely different. How can this become less discouraging?