One of the hardest deserts for me to cross is the quiet one. I start out thinking I'm doing good work, thinking I'm going the right way, doing my darnedest to follow directions. But I get twenty miles past the last sign and… hello? No cheerleaders. No neighsayors. Panic rises.
Feedback and affirmation have been my favorite drugs for a long time. In fact, I'd rather hear ugly feedback than none at all. It can be excruciating, stabbing me right in my heart of doubts and refining in the burn-my-eyebrows-off kind of way, but at least I know where I stand and in what direction I need to walk to make things better.
That's why I lean into telling the painful truth when it's requested. You might hate me for a moment, but if things are ever going to get better that's the only place I know to start. If you don't really want to know what I really think, you better not ask.
The other day I got brave enough to ask my fifteen-year-old what she thought of me. For weeks I'd been dreading she'd outgrown me, hated my guts, and that somehow I'd injured our relationship beyond repair. She told me the somewhat overripe truth. I was thankful. I'm proud of her. We're good. I'm sleeping better at night.
Unsplash photo cred: Damir Babacic