“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time” (John Maxwell).
It was the beginning of practice and we were all lined up against the wall. Heels to shoulders flush with it. Some of us were ready to cry. Not me. I’m stronger than that. She’s the one who told me that, after all.
Mallory had her blonde hair draped across her shoulders. A parting curtain doing nothing to hide that disappointment etched into her expression. I didn’t have to guess why she was disappointed in us. She said we were all weak. We didn’t need to overreact to small injuries. She told us to take off the tape holding us all together.
I didn’t think she was talking to me. I wasn’t expecting her to yell at me when I refused to unwrap my broken ankle. Mallory ignored my pleading expression. She ignored everyone’s pleading expressions. After all, a little pain never hurt nobody. And if it did, you were weak.
But when someone persistently forces lies down your throat are you meant to blindly swallow it as if it were the truth?
As the sender I looked at Mallory with dismay in order to encode, “I can’t do that.” I was too scared to actually say what I meant. I couldn’t tell her I was still hurting so instead the message sent through a non-verbal channel was an empty and sad look. Which can easily be decoded as anything.
Mallory, as the receiver obviously didn’t understand how much my ankle still hurt if her feedback was a scolding. The breakdown probably happened on both of our ends. I couldn’t properly put what I meant into words and Mallory was likely convinced we were over exaggerating our injuries in order to avoid practices which could’ve been blinding her of the messages I was attempting to send.
This dangerous misunderstanding could’ve been avoided if we had both verbally communicated exactly what we meant. Vague messages only encourage muddled responses.
If she had told me she was concerned I was faking an injury I could’ve gotten a doctor’s note and I wouldn’t have to go through pain. If I had told her, “I’m still in pain,” then maybe this situation could’ve been avoided.