“I love you.”
“……… Let’s talk in the morning.”
That was the last time, I promised myself, a promise I have so far managed to keep. I had laid myself open to a woman who was pretty much married. In retrospect, the memory of that weekend was one of the instances that prompted a cold hard look at myself. I could not continue drinking the way I was. I am not writing today about my struggle with borderline alcoholism. That will require a measure of reflection before I can adequately bring it to these pages, tumultuous and checkered as it is.
Beer fear permeated everything I did the following morning. The mixture of shock and disgust that followed the night of drinking, a large part of which was spent calling and sending messages to friends and would-be lovers, almost paralyzed me. A clumsy show of affection that was not requited, and for good reason. I racked my foggy brain to find whether there were any apologies I needed to make. In the light of day, I regretted what I had done. The slurring incoherence and outbursts were a joke among my family members. I was almost becoming a punchline. But, more than that, I still hoped that I would be heard, my message and not the medium – the staggering maudlin mess that was me – paid attention to. Unfortunately, the medium is as important as the message.
Part of being heard lies in presentation: how does the world see you and how would you want the world to see you. Often, we become so self-absorbed, possessed by what we want to say, to the point of feeling self-righteous and justified in whatever way we chose to say it. However much we may dislike it, a large portion of communication is concerned with perception. I remember my father vehemently disagreeing with the television, as it were, whenever that Sprite ad came on, “Image is nothing, thirst is everything.” “Liars! Image is everything!”, he would say. He teaches communication-related subjects like PR and advertising, so he would know, and I am inclined to agree with him.
The greater underlying point here is credibility. Is what you are saying and how you are saying it conveying a level of gravitas that will inspire the desired actions? In the states I was in, I failed to convey any seriousness. Furthermore, I said whatever came to mind at the moment. Not a particularly good idea, especially when strong emotions are thrown in. (I honestly thought I was going to have a coherent point to put across today and I hurriedly banged this up because I have a personal commitment to always post something on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am growing my cactus, bear with me, indulge me.) Maybe, next time, pick up the phone, or meet the person before that double-vodka. It will make all the difference.