Since I have been in prison I have developed a habit, speaking very pointedly. This has occurred for multiple reasons. One major reason is everyone says they are so busy. It’s like the entire world is so busy they don’t have five minutes to listen to anyone else and help them solve some “thing.” The result is I learned to get to the point quickly so the other person understands immediately the nature of the conversation.

Another reason I developed this is because I don’t like wading through lies. I have told so many lies over my life and been told so many lies. If not lies than the language is ambiguous, leaving room for argument later. We will take the word “maybe” for example. When someone says maybe they aren’t sure and it leaves hope for the word “yes” when the party has zero intention of saying yes. I would rather learn to cope with the word “no” than cope with let downs. So I try to be as direct as possible so people understand exactly what I mean. No need to interpret or color the language, I understand the English language very well, I use words intentionally to deliver a pointed message.

Here’s the problem – many people aren’t equipped for that. We have spent our entire lives being babied and tip-toed around that when someone speaks directly and candidly to us, leaving no room for misinterpretation, we take it as being harsh or calloused. It’s abrupt and takes us by surprise to have someone speak to us like an adult and with intention.

Now here’s the question: Is this a result of incarceration? If it is, is it a de-evolution or an evolution?

I’ve noticed a trend, those in positions of leadership and who got their act together are unafraid to speak directly. CEO’s, high-level administration, military officials, judges, and community leaders- are all able to give you direct and candid conversation that may not be colored with fancy admonishments and elegant ambiguity that tactfully disguises criticism as suggestion…no, they aren’t afraid to tell you that you have made a mistake and tell you directly, without fluff.

I personally appreciate direct criticism. I abhor it when someone beats around the bush, tell me what I am doing wrong and do so without holding back so I understand holistically the impact of my mistake(s) because I want to be a source of happiness, community building, and positive impact. Tell me how to improve and I promise to do the same for you. Because helping someone improve, that’s real love.

Real love is preparing each other for the world, not protecting from it. Helping one another thrive in reality. Those are the types of people I want around me.

What about you?

With Love
Jeff “Jeffebelle” Utnage