Sometimes I scream. A sharp intake, a swell of the chest, a clenched throat and the release of a gravelling tone. My eyes hit the roof of my lids, my neck cranes back and I grip my hair with both of my hands. I don’t know what to do, and I am afraid. The alternatives go through my mind in seconds. By brain processes each one-check…check…check…check…check. Nope, it’s no use. No matter what I do I will cause harm. There is no right way out of this mess. There is just a screw up. I am a screw up.
Sometimes there is silence. The gravel is kept at bay. It screams from the cavern, but only I hear it’s sound. Sanity can be lost so easily. It’s desperate to escape, but the prison is sealed shut. The silence is promulgated out of fear. It’s not just the gravel that is suppressed but words also. Under lock and chain. Like a rabid Rottweiler chained to a fence, if I let them loose they will tear you apart: limb from limb.
There are two doors and they both lead directly to hell. There is no salvation. There is no light. It doesn’t matter what action I take. I will upset someone. It just becomes a statement of fact. Conflict is destructive. It destroys relationships, friendships and civilisations. But at one time we were friends. I sold my soul to the devil so to speak – a little Chinese boy, lost and afraid. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you. Well they did hurt me, and I always found a good old-fashioned head butt right between those perfectly round-eyes always hurt them back.
Once I fought back, conflict and I were bound. We were joined at the hip throughout school, and then blossomed during my early career on the iron road. Like I said, it was sewn into the fabric of my resume. When I handed it over to the tutors of the trains they cheered. Everyday was a fight, and they needed someone in their ranks who had fought all of their life. They needed a right nasty bastard.
So how was I going to eradicate conflict? My bezzie mate, joined at the hip? I am living in the world of magic mushrooms and I can’t take it much longer. I need lucidity. I crave normality. Like Iggy Pop: I lust for life. But then I realised the horrible truth. You can’t eradicate conflict. Like air it is needed in order for society to function, but take air away and the wheels stop turning. Conflict is much the same.
If it weren’t for conflict the employees of bullyboy companies such as the railway would be treated like slaves. They would be paid a pittance and whipped until they bled. If it weren’t for conflict people like Adolf Hitler would still be running around the world trying to create the perfect race. No doubt almond eyes would not be included in the blueprint. And if it weren’t for conflict, relationships would wither and die. It’s not all sweetness and light. Sometimes you just need to rip off the clothes and bite until you bruise. Intimacy is needed. The blurry haze of intimacy. Relationships need it. Without conflict it dies.
So conflict is driving me mad and I need conflict in order to thrive. I cant live with it and I can’t live without it. I guess I have not been thinking straight. I can’t stop conflict. I can’t remove it from my relationships. Instead, I need to learn how to harness and caress it. Conflict is malleable, but like every block of wood in front of a carpenter it needs the right eye. The untrained eye needs to take some lessons and pretty fast.
So that’s what I have learned in the past few days of my listening challenge. It was moving along nicely before conflict punched me square on the nose. My eyes watered. People thought I was crying. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to learn how to hold constructive conflict. Otherwise it may just be too late. I hate being late.
How do you control conflict within your relationships or does it eat away like a cancer? Tell us your stories.
Photo courtesy of L’Orso Sul Monociclo (cc @ flickr.com)