In a momentous change of guard, I wonder how we heal. When we spew vitriol, the de-escalation path is shrouded. Arguments rarely soften to become conversations. Unfortunately, the way we treat others prevent seeds of opportunity. The scars of our past dictate our comfort with strangers and our treatment of others.
The Initiation of Distrust
I recall an incident with a High School Nurse. I excused myself from my Spanish class, unable to focus on conjugating irregular verbs with my stomach contorting into a pretzel. When I arrived to my Nurse’s office, the middle aged woman was frazzled, bouncing from each moaning student. In the frantic activity, she passed me aside.
I had no visible symptoms. Therefore, I should return to class. But would I like a Tylenol?
The entire day slogged on.
The Reinforcement of Distrust
On that day I survived with grumblings, though later in my high school career, a standard dissection in a science class sucker punched me. Panting, lying down on the white-tile floor of the classroom, I refused to go to the Nurse. I remained convinced, she wouldn’t believe me. I had no “visible symptoms”.
Turning an increasingly serious shade of green, my Biology teacher escalated. Within 10 minutes, someone lifted me into a wheelchair. It was the Nurse, who then lightly patted my hair and reassuringly told me she’d take care of me. Rolling down the long hallway toward her office, I remember pleading for a garbage can. After the glamorous moment of heaving into a bag, my stomach relaxed, but my mind brewed a storm.
My modus operandi resisted interactions with the Nurse. Because she failed me once, she’d surely let me down another time. Though in the wake of my need, she was present and mollifying.
Though, the point of this story is not the nurse’s treatment of my ails. Nor is it the realization that I would make a terrible inchworm dissector. My instinct to distrust, keeping watch over my pride rather than the objective situation, created barriers but not harmony.
Getting over Distrust is Hard, but Meaningful
For our newly melded political governance, we need give the “Nurses” a chance. The emotional baggage to assume mall-intent only paves a steeper climb to achieve progress. Coordinating behind closed doors, with oblique narratives on “other side” do not fulfill comprehensive participation.
We find common ground in the acknowledgment of suffering, the unearthing of fears, and the construction of dreams. Without the willingness to be transparent, none of this is possible
Though the Nurse rescued me, I would not have willingly attended to her a second time to detail my pain. I would anticipate the Nurse minimizing my pain, shoving aside our experiences for her own efficiency.
Though there is a true loss attached to our fortified walls to trust. We lose an opportunity for the nurse to rise to an occasion. We lose a chance to change our perspective, and for her to earn back trust.
For our congress, for our opposition, and for our society, we all deserve the opportunity to be better. For when that is closed, then retract progress.