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  • Mathilde Fongen

Lego Blocks and Watercolour

I recently had a conversation with my counsellor which sparked a long train of many thoughts. We spoke about two very distinctive types of conversation and it reminded me how much I love them. I have touched on this before. (see the post "Conversations With Strangers" from a while back!). I suppose paying someone to have conversations with me is quite a telling factor in my love of deep conversation.

First, we spoke about lego blocks. These are conversations where each sentence is thought out before it is spoken, at least to a certain degree. Some of us (myself included) are not great at completely thinking through things before we say them, but for the sake of the analogy, lego block conversations are thought out. They are conversations where you’re telling a story or relaying information. I often find myself in these descriptive lego blocks, we all do. Small talk falls under this category, but so do most other communication.

Photo: Fredrik André Fongen

The opposition that came to my mind when speaking to my counsellor was watercolour. Mainly because I’m quite terrible at painting with watercolour and therefore find it out of my control. These conversations are explorations rather than dialogues. Sentences are made as they are uttered and cohesion is seldom a factor. The first word may have nothing whatsoever to do with the last. This is where we truly get to know each other, and ourselves. Rather than telling a story, we explore experiences in the space that is created. The colours run into each other and blend. That doesn't happen with lego blocks. Unless maybe melting is involved, so let's not go there.


Lego blocks come with instructions. Watercolour, at least for me, starts out as an idea in my head and the colours on the paper look nothing like it. In conversation this happens in the most wonderful way. Lego blocks are necessary, but to me, so is watercolour. We need to know how to build, but also how to express freely. We need structure and fluidity, at least I know I do.


Watercolour conversations are challenging and painful by nature. That is what happens when we delve deeper into ourselves and each other. They often occur after one too many whiskies around dawn, when sleep might seem like a better idea. They are the catalyst for change. Deep explorations let us learn each other and teach us who we are. Sometimes in that space we even change our minds about things. It is in these conversations I've experienced "Oh yeah, you're right, I never thought of it that way." The hardest decisions in my life have always been made easier through these conversations. My choice to travel, my choice of study, my move to Scotland, my break up, and everything that has led to the happiness I currently feel, I owe to watercolour conversations.


My family moved a lot through my childhood, and I have continued to do the same in my twenties. Home has therefore been a difficult concept for me to grasp (something I may come back to in a later post), but I do feel at home in watercolour conversations. I will cling to them until our eyes hurt from FaceTiming for five hours, until the bottles are empty and we fall asleep on the sofa and until my friends tell me "right, we really need to go to bed now."


Mess, unpredictability and discovery. It is where I find my closest friends. It is where I found love. It is where I find myself.

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