“Why is your face so red?” people ask you this from time to time. Usually you ask them why they are whatever color they are. You tell them it is just the way your skin is, you blame it on your heritage. A lot of it has to do with your skin being fair, and burning easily in the sun, but you have an idea as to why you usually look like a strawberry. You believe the issue lies with your blood pressure. If you were more calm, more mellow, if you knew how to relax, you doubt your face would look so flushed. Attempts to become more chill have been made, you stylized yourself after the Jeff Bridges character  in The Big Lebowski, The Dude. His lazy, do nothing personality turned some people off, but you were entranced by his calm persona. More often than not you find yourself acting like John Goodman’s character from the same movie. Always exploding, always shouting, never relaxed. You wonder why so many of your conversations become arguments. A friend asked you once if you felt that everyday was a struggle with other people and you told him, yes. He looked hard at you and with a sense of honesty asked, “ Does it wear you down? Does it make you tired?” Why do you find yourself repeatedly in tense conversations that you want so very badly to avoid?


The heated words in your arguments are usually the same. Take whatever the particular situation is, and add on used and worn out taglines, and there you have the ingredients for a terrible debate. At some point, usually only a few minutes in, either you or your opponent will say, “ I wish you would stop cutting me off!” and the other person will accuse the speaker of the exact same crime. In almost every, “conversation,” one person is hardheaded and will only say the word, “No.” The responses become overlapped, neither of the participants are giving any thought to what the other is saying, at this segment. Every time this happens your head begins to hurt and wonder if the other person feels the same, and you think it would be nice to just walk away and find a place to take a nap.  Most arguments are settled by a third party, someone who walks into the whirlwind and tries to restore order. Usually they know little of the actual situation and are forced to try to make sense of both you and your adversary’s jumbled and angry side of the story. By this point even if you do get your way, the victory feels more like guiltiness. You did it again. You made another living being angry enough to shout, to have veins bulge on their temple, to match their skin tone to your redness. Then comes the self pity, without fail, every time


For you the argument doesn’t really end when the shouting has subsided. You take the fight home with you and mull over the words that were exchanged. You become angry when you recall the attitude of the person you were disagreeing with. You replay the debate over and over in your mind trying to assess where it all went wrong. Usually you find that you were not in the right, or at least not completely, and this infuriates you. There is little worse than when you have made a big stink, thrown a tantrum, only to find out you were the one in the wrong to begin with. You fantasize of moving to some secluded woods, far away from the rest of society. Learning to speak more clearly and be slow to anger, does not seem like a workable option, now does it? No, you need to completely isolate yourself. The older you get, the more tired you become of these childish rituals. You wish you would just grow up already, and you know the people around you share your desire.


You desperately want to master the art of civil discourse. Whether the conversation is with someone who greatly surpasses your intelligence or your speaking with a complete dolt, you want the speech to be kind and full of understanding. Who starts the shouting in your arguments, is it you or the other unhappy individual? Does it really matter? If someone is full on shouting at you, you should be able to have self control and not match their levels. Even better, you should be able to speak with someone without driving them to the point of raising their voices. Having no desire to be described as an angry young man, you strive to learn how to be a peaceful soul. You want people to be blessed by your presence instead of dreading your arrival. So what’s next? Continue to work on  the way you interact with others, starting with listening a whole lot more than speaking? Or maybe move into the woods, embrace the seclusion and talk only to the wild life; chances are you will piss them off too, or die from eating poison berries.


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