09.06.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’ve been told I communicate too much. I really am an open book and there isn’t much I won’t talk about, no matter how personal it is. I also tend to divulge all the information I have when telling a story. It’s strange to me that everyone doesn’t do this, yet I assume they do anyway. This often gets me in trouble with my roommate.

“Why did she do that?” she asks when I’m done with my story. To which I reply, “I’ve given you all the information I have.” “Why didn’t you ask more questions?” she retorts. I explain that I just go by the information people give me. She calls me weird and I call her weird. After 18 years of living together, I assure you we are both weird.

I used to think communication was easy. In all fairness I used to be drunk all the time, and it’s easy to run your mouth when you’re drunk. Is it really communicating at that point, or is it just gossip? Gratefully, I am sober now and I detest gossip. I used to think it was cool to know everything. Nowadays I’m just interested in the truth, and facts.

The process I took to get sober taught me about communication. It taught me how I was doing it wrong and what steps I could take to improve my method. Immediately I realized communicating is hard. It’s hard to tell someone you are unhappy and it’s even harder to hear someone say they are unhappy with you. What’s worse? Realizing they are right.

If communication is key, then the key to communication is listening. It will be important to remember this as the primary season comes to a close and midterm elections race to the finish line.

I recently had an exchange on a Facebook thread that was surprising to me. A longtime friend and mentor posted about Andrew Gillum winning the Democratic nomination to be Florida’s next governor. As many of us do, he had a Trump-loving friend in his thread with a sharp tongue. Many in the thread were going back and forth, shouting through angry fingers. I simply posed a question. He responded. I acknowledge where he was coming from and posed another question. He responded again with a position that left both of us satisfied with the conversation. I didn’t change to his point of view and he did not change to mine, but we were able to find common ground and leave the door open for further discussion.

I hope this country, on both sides of the aisle, can learn from the process that brought us President Donald Trump. We need to realize that truth matters, facts matter. We cannot live in a society that is all or nothing, because when you chose nothing you may get something even worse than you expected. We don’t have to compromise our beliefs when we compromise on how to get there.

Communicate with each other. Ask questions and actively listen.

Politics sparked the idea for this column, but healthy communication is important in every aspect of your life. We can all work through our differences, but only if we know what they are. Don’t be afraid to express disappointment to a partner, co-worker, friend or family member. Talk about the issues so you can resolve them. When people open up to you, listen. Let them make their peace and ask questions. Communicate about the good things too. It will make a world of difference.

In this issue we explore how vital communication and understanding are. The Money Coach, Tammy Lally, opens up about her book and the personal tragedy she experienced with money shaming. Our news sections are filled with primary election results. We also take a look at Tampa’s Youth Leadership Council as they address challenges faced by LGBTQ youth, and mark some changes with Hope & Help’s Headdress Ball in Central Florida. In our entertainment section we dive deeper into the making of the documentary “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” and check in with Ginger Minj who is bringing “Crossdresser for Christ” to Tampa Bay.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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