Truth - Clouds convey messages that we often ignore. Maybe it's because they are just up there existing that we don't pay much attention to them. They foreshadow, figuratively and literally, what potential dangers of the natural world lie ahead for us. Their absence just as much as presence signifies something unique. Their color, the ways they travel, and their coverage all drop hints as to what is to come. When they deposit rain, snow, or the infamous hail combined with lightning, gusts of wind, all hell can break loose. Just as easily as they admonish us of upcoming perils, they also are harbingers of goodness to come. Perfect shade, fanciful shapes, and even skywriting are all because of clouds.
"Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Clouds have long been my favorite natural occurrence. I often find myself lackadaisically gazing at the infatuating puffs, whisps, and clumps of clouds that linger above me. I find beauty in the different ways they show up. Whether it be those perfectly plump pristine white clouds that you day dream of that let just enough light in for a priceless day or it's the dismal, dreary, and downright disgusting monochromatic gray scale of overcast skies complete with incessant drizzle, clouds can mean a whole lot. I have always been fascinated by how clouds move in both uniform and asynchronic ways. In a matter of minutes they can cover an area casting darkness and effecting people's moods drastically and just as quickly depart as fast as they came. It's like driving out of rain; there's been times when there have been clear walls of precipitation that just ended. Instantaneously it was no longer raining. I don't know what it is but clouds and how they are situated in the atmosphere have always fascinated me.
Forecasters and meteorologists are some of the few people who can do their jobs, be blatantly incorrect, and not be fired for it. Their just truly is scientific speculation. They effectively predict future like psychics, seers, and oracles but more secular. Just like they try and speculate on what is to come so can we if we close enough attention. People leave subtle messages that we can pick up on in we ask ourselves to try. Interpreting body language, sifting through double-talk, and reading between the lines of passive-aggressiveness are all things that we are tasked with doing. Just like the clouds up above, people communicate to us through their facial expressions, the way they situate their bodies, and their tone. We are nothing short of enigmatic but give ourselves away in what we convey without even speaking. We leave our own trails of skywriting for others to read if only they take time to figure it out.
One of the most important things I've learned since formally starting work and grad schools is communication. Finding how you can  best converse with others in clear, concise, and intentional ways may be a lifelong endeavor but one with the utmost importance. Regardless of whether it's through email, text message, or in person, saying what you need to say in productive ways is absolutely imperative. I will begrudgingly admit that I am particularly unskilled in this department though. As someone who adores harmony, if not only for the cohesiveness of others but also for myself, I struggle to be direct sometimes. I don't want to hurt people's feelings but then also send mixed messages that leave others more confused than if I had just said what was necessary to begin with. Nonetheless I'm working getting to the point, speaking only when I have something profound to say, and removing the fluff.
With me it's like deciphering code. Like I've mentioned so many times before. I'm not unreasonably shy but the ways in which I am candid are complicatedly deceptive. I share quite often but it's mostly superficial things that give people the idea that they know a lot about me when in reality they are left knowing little. I'm still trying to work through why I do that. Maybe for my own protection, or from times where I was vulnerable and felt disregarded. I'll figure it out sooner or later. For me though unless I'm being serious, I'm usually kidding around. Take my Monday carpools with some of my classmates. Internally, I'm quite fond of them all but in speaking to them I do nothing but take little jabs, antagonize, and openly ridicule them, all in good fun, but I wonder why I seem to be incapable of just expressing how I actually feel. In written notes, text messages, or emails though it's all feelings. This week I spent hours putting together care packages, writing notes, and mailing them to friends all over the country. It was both therapeutic for me and exciting to know that they would receive some correspondence from letting them know that I still care about them. My group projects even had have minor bumps as we haven't been so timely with our communication. Then I had a major miscommunication with my supervisor about an ill-timed email that I sent at 1:30AM (because I still up studying for a midterm). His reprimand was absolutely him in it's slightly playful composition but honestly it hit me way harder than it should have. It effectively ruined my entire morning and sent me on one of my patented self-destructive chastisings where I'm unnecessarily hard on myself because I made a mistake. My inner perfectionist has to reconcile with the rest of me but as in that process I shut down and become cold. My face drops, my smile is gone, and so is the warm compassion I usually try to speak with. It's like I'm a different person, complete with a reversion to going by my proper name. I'm just cold and nice but not as kind as people are used to with me.
It was really bad because just as quickly as I had felt so connected to him, I felt severed and separated. By noon I had sorted myself out but had settled on cutting all the extra things I do to express my care towards him. out I knew he hadn't meant it to be as hurtful as it had been but that email knocked me off something serious. I realized though I maybe didn't feel as comfortable as I had once thought in being able to express that sentiment to him. Besides I had class and was living the commuter life so I wouldn't see him for a bit. What got me most was that he didn't get it at all even after I had forewarned him that the few times that I'm not okay he'd had to look for my dropped hints to know. My skywriting seemed clear to me but he went about his day as if nothing had happened and I knew for him nothing had occurred. I knew I had overreacted and needed to speak my truth directly to myself and outwardly. Skywriting wouldn't work here.
Skywriting is cool - airplanes depositing a smoky stream that they curve and bend to spell out a message of miles and miles of air but it's not the best way to say what you need to. People may not always look up and out at all the signals you throw at them. The only way you can make sure people understand you is to say what you need to and to ask if they get you. Sometimes it really is that simple. Save the skywriting for those special occasions and the less serious stuff. Your wallet, dignity, and psyche will thank you for it. X


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