Healthy Reconnection

I spent time with someone last night that I last saw about a year ago. Back then our relationship was complicated and a bit strange. I reached out to her a couple of weeks ago and asked if she could cut my hair for me, being the kind soul that she is, she of course said yes, even though it had been a year since we last saw each other and that was a somewhat strange situation. Our first two attempts at getting together to cut my hair failed. The first time was on my behalf and the second time was on her behalf, but the third time is the charm!

When I arrived at her place it was like no time had passed at all. Conversation was easy and effortless and our connection felt different, better, healthier than it had been before. There was safety and a sense of comfort between us. She told me everything that has been going on in her life during this past year, and I told her everything that has been going on in mine as well.

We gave each other space to be our authentic selves, to be vulnerable with one another, and to feel safe in doing so. We shared in laughter and each other’s heartache’s and struggles. There was authentic kindness, compassion, sympathy, empathy, and a genuine care for each other. We gave each other encouragement and support. It was easy and natural.

I will not tell her story, as it is not mine to tell, but there was a moment when she was telling me the past year of her life, where I was so overcome with excitement for her and a sense of pride for how far she has come in her journey. I could see how proud she was of herself. I don’t think there is anything I love more than when someone has a breakthrough in their life, when they have an “aha” moment, when a difficult lesson has finally been learned, when they can see how far they have come and how much they have grown, when they can see their value, their self-worth; it’s like leveling up in life. I saw all of this in her as she was sharing her year with me. Putting in the work to get there is a mother-fucker, but damnit, it’s worth it! I am so proud of her and excited for her. I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next!

We talked about relationships, lessons learned, how necessary healthy boundaries are, and that while it is important to know what you want in a partner and relationship, it is equally, if not, more important to know what you will not accept/tolerate in a partner and relationship. (A future blog post on this).

We talked about my dad and him dying of lung cancer. As I was telling her everything from the day we found out until now, I could see in her eyes, the empathy she felt for what I (and my family) are going through. Her eyes were soft and kind and filled with compassion. She didn’t speak at all, she just sat and listened as I talked. When I was done, she looked at me, with such raw authenticity, and said, “I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m not going to pretend to know what you are going through. I’m not going to pretend to know what to say, because I don’t know what to say other than, I’m so sorry.” I found such comfort in her words. I don’t think I can explain it. Her words were just so real, honest, and simple, but had a big impact on me. She wasn’t trying to make me feel better, or fix anything, or ease my heartache, or change the subject. She allowed me to just be, to sit with it, to feel it, and for that to be ok.

It seems a year has changed us both. We’ve both gone through some pretty heavy shit over the last year. It has allowed us to grow in so many ways. We are definitely not the same people we were the last time we saw each other. I think because of the shit we’ve both gone through over the last year, it’s allowed us to connect on a deeper level. I very much look forward to seeing were this friendship goes. It is such a wonderful thing to have true authentic friendships, relationships, connections with people.

We ended our evening with a long comforting hug. She looked at me and she said, “call me anytime if you need to talk…or if you just want to sit in silence, that’s ok too.”

Thank you, my dear friend, for a wonderful night and reconnection (and my haircut), I appreciate you deeply!

Dear Dani: A letter, an apology, a commitment to myself

Dear Dani,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for all of the terrible things you’ve endured in your life. You didn’t deserve any of it and none of it was your fault. You were a child, you experienced terrible things and kept them a secret. You were scared and felt very alone in what you were going through.

As you got older you found that similar experiences repeated themselves. You felt like you had no control of anything. Life was just one experience after another, ugly things continued to happen to you and in your life, and you did the best you could to get through it all. You were still really a child, even though as a teenager that wasn’t how you saw yourself, but you were. Like all teenagers you thought you knew everything, but later years taught you that you had no idea. What you learned to this point in your life was how to manage your chaos and you did so by building massive walls and shutting down any real emotion or connection to anyone. It was what you had to do to survive. For awhile it seemed like you were ok. No one could hurt you because you had constructed such a strong exterior. I am sorry that you were brought to a place in your young life that forced you to lock everyone out or rather to lock yourself in, to shut down your very own emotions, to have to become so closed off in order to not feel the pain of everything you had endured and were continuing to endure. I am sorry you had to carry that kind of pain.

What I am most sorry for is that even as an adult I’ve treated you the same as so many others have. I’ve neglected you; I’ve disrespected you; I’ve abused you emotionally and verbally; I’ve knowingly walked you into heartache; I’ve made regrettable decisions you’ve had to live with; I’ve let you down time and time again. I am so sorry that I, too, victimized you. You did nothing to deserve any of this and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the ways I’ve wronged you. No rush, take all of the time you need, I’m not going anywhere.

I didn’t know how to love and care for you the way that you so desperately needed me to, and I’m still learning. The more I learn the more I admire you. Everything that you have been through, endured, seen, heard, felt…you’re still standing. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down you always get back up. You have a strength inside of you, a will, a desire, a passion that is so incredibly powerful; and that my Darling, is something to be admired. I haven’t always seen you as having that kind of strength and that is another thing I am sorry for. I have underestimated you and your ability so many times. Again, I didn’t know how to love and care for you. I’m not trying to make excuses for my behaviors and actions towards you but, given everything we’ve been through, I think we could ease up on ourselves a little. It’s amazing we are even still alive and I owe that to you! Without your strength, resilience, and determination there is no way we would’ve come this far and I will forever be grateful for your ability to get back up when it would’ve been so much easier just stay down. Thank you for fighting for us.

Sweetheart, you’ve carried more than enough of the load on your own for far too long, I’m going to take it from here. I know you don’t trust me and you have every reason in the world not to. I’ve not been here for you like you needed me to be, you’ve never been able to depend on me, I’ve put you at risk and in danger numerous times but I am asking you to please trust me one more time and to be patient with me as we go forward, as I said, I am still learning.

My commitment to you as we go forward:

I promise I will do my best not to let you down.

I promise I will put you first and I will always protect you.

I promise I won’t knowingly put you in any more unhealthy situations.

I promise to do a much better job at loving and caring for you and meeting your needs.

I promise I will clear a path for you to follow your dreams, passions, and desires.

I promise I will keep us working towards thriving rather than just surviving.

And I promise to listen when you tell me that you’re not okay.

I will not abandon you. I am right here. You are not alone.

 

With Love,

Your Functional Adult Self