Why We Lack Conflict Resolution Skills

Joonie joons, everything has changed. That’s right, you heard me. EVERYTHING. I’m a new woman. You can’t necessarily see it, but my heart has melted from the inside out, and things will never be the same.

lisa

We Iranians don’t always have the best conflict resolution skills.

For example, a friend recently told me about a period in her childhood when her baba gave her several months’ worth of the saaket (silent) treatment for mishandling a glass of water near a computer. That sounds a little disproportionate, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, it reminded me of a very similar experience with my own father, whom by now you all know and love as the zealous, yet clueless, Facebook stalker that he is. When I was hella way younger, I went running down the driveway of the house he, my mom, and my two older brothers shared in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.

It was sunset, my favorite time of day, and the last rays of daylight were streaking through the fronds of palm trees and the wires of telephone poles. I was carrying a ceramic mug full of water and I must’ve tripped, or something, because next thing I know, I’m crying hysterically and Daddy dearest is landing open-handed smacks on my body and roundly denouncing the ills of breaking mugs in the driveway.

The rest of the night putters by in fits of agonized sadness from me and rageful admonishments from him. Yeah…and that was a drop in the ocean of quality family time he and I shared before and after that.

life

I’ve taken the time to illustrate such a personal story, because after hearing my friend’s own testimony and seeing a few other indicators from Iranian friends, I’m convinced that there’s a pattern here. In my friendships with other Iranian-Americans, I’ve borne witness to the fact that if our parents haven’t got the tools for peaceful conflict resolution…

we probably won’t either.

A generation, a nation, a society of people largely without such skills is in something of a torshi (pickle).

My friend and I share more than one thing in common: besides our shared challenges with handling liquid-filled vessels, we also both may never know what happened in the old country to make our fathers the way they are: so angry, so sensitive, so unreasonable.

Maybe that information would be helpful in understanding them — and in understanding ourselves. But we’ve got to do the best we can, as the saying goes, with what we’ve got.

And I’m writing to say that no matter what it takes, for my family, the buck stops here.

It stops with me.

Every time I want to lash out at someone for making a mistake, I will instead turn a loving gaze upon them; and every time a friend holds me to an inhuman standard, I will love them, too, with the love we both deserve.

It’s the love a child deserves when he breaks a glass; it’s that same love that a father deserves, yes, even when he himself can’t give it to his daughter. It’s what we all deserve, and when we lack it, its absence is what drives us to tear others down. So that stops with me. Right here, right now, azizaan, I fill my heart with love, and I offer it all to you.

Everything has changed.

TWEET AT JULIE: @JERSHADI

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boos boos,

JULIE JOON جولی

Living the Dream

JOONS,

I’ve had this song on repeat to get me through the day (thanks Saaghi joooon for the best music):

Back to regularly scheduled programming…

Despite living across the country from my family, I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m not as disconnected as I thought I would be. I talk to my parents regularly (without a choice really) and as I’ve gotten older – our conversations have transformed.

Now – instead of sole lectures – my dad likes to debate too and apparently, I’ve become someone worthy of his intellect.

dafdMy dad and I have great debates because we think so differently. I listen to his advice now, but for most of my life – I’ve done what I want. And therefore, we have a different belief system.

I’ve always had to go the extra mile to convince my dad to see my point or back my decisions. Our most frequent debates surround my life decisions or my opinions regarding Islam and Iran.

My dad rarely talks about Iran, if ever. His childhood stories come in random spurts, and when they do – it’s like a glimpse into this side of him that my family and I barely recognize.

Don’t even get me started on his reaction when we discuss Islam. He just gets a scowl on his face and says, “This is a ridiculous conversation topic, Islam is ridiculous – I don’t vant to talk about it.” 

I’m the opposite – I obsess about Iran. I stare at pictures all day, I talk about going back all the time – much to my dad’s dismay. And when it comes to Islam – I emphasize my opinion that people have the right to choose their beliefs.

For a long time, I thought my dad’s “disdain” toward Iran was because I had chosen to focus on it so much in both my identity and in my professional goals. I thought his aversion to all things Iran really had a double meaning – and that secretly, he just didn’t support my desire to pursue any field affiliated with Iran because I would never become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

I thought my dad was being negative and unsupportive – but it didn’t take me long to realize that he thought he was protecting me. [Read more...]

Texts from Daddy Joon

Hola,

SO while I’m usually this tree of grandmother-ly wisdom (ha) and hardcore feminism (out of bras to burn). Today, I’m going to be that awkward Persian Girl with an embarrassing Persian Father.

A lot of my friends love my dad. They think he’s hilarious, and it looks like, from some of the comments, some of you joonies think he’s kinda funny too.

Well, it’s all fun and games til it happens to you.

1. Texts From Daddy Joon: [Read more...]

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