Saturday, February 28, 2015

Between Knowing and Not Knowing

I had written this piece ages ago, didn't publish it and came back to it after a conversation with a friend yesterday touching on trust, using your words to tell people what you want, need and expect and the dialogue that has to happen after to ensure everyone is on the same page. Trust is a bitch.


I have an image in my mind of myself in fourth or fifth grade, seated at the edge of the big pull-out bleachers in our gym-cafeteria, an expanse of collapsed bleachers a skinny ledge with a 15 foot drop creating a bridge across to the other side where on the wall I can clearly see my name written. The name appears courtesy of someone who hates me and makes my life miserable on a daily basis, my stomach a knot at what must be written there but my nervous system in full blown panic mode at the thought of shimmying across the expanse and sheer drop off (on to tables and chairs) to see. I simultaneously want to know what awful thing has been said and hate myself for the fear of heights and falling that keeps me from to finding out. So my younger self sits with the knowledge on a daily basis that something lingers out there unknown and not dealt with and she sits with the knowledge that it's her own weakness that prevents it. Even as I write this, my skin prickles and my hands sweat just at the memory.

I'm spending some time thinking and feeling through what it means to trust and what makes for a good and trusting relationship, what it means to be open to trusting someone, how you have to sit on the edge and contemplate moving across the expanse of all of your prior conditioning to get to there and then work your way back, broken or elated. Part of what I am pondering is the worry that pops up of not knowing what the other person is thinking or feeling, remedied quickly by actually using your words to ask (miracle!). But, in truth, the wounds that still hang around from my childhood lead me to need closure, that I feel like I can handle pretty much anything as long as I know the truth or another's version of it. Learning to articulate it well, to request feedback, to stay on top of things with communication, build verbal agreements. It's all part of it, but it's not the whole thing.

So much of relationships are about the edge of the cliff, moving through our fear and pushing there and back to find what we need to find. Pretty much every moment of it is not guaranteed. But it's made in those moments of moving yourself out, inch by inch, making yourself face your fears anyway. It's really fucking complicated and takes so much work and, in truth, it's work you need to do for yourself and without the aid of others. It's you, no net, nobody spotting you. It's being solid at the core so you can be solid for others, especially the person with whom you are building the trust.

[I feel like I've just written myself into a totally different understanding of what I'd started out to write. Hilarious.]

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