In our home …

Our home was being readied for sale and the agent he said with a grim determination, “Too much. Put it away.”

I looked with his eyes, but not with his soul. And I nodded.

I put them away, one by one.

That which he could see.

The chairs in my house.

Were there too many?

Perhaps, some would say. Looking with their eyes. I knew, though, that each was placed to seat the soul.

One chair, right where you may stumble through the front door. In case you are tired. Or lost. Or your hands are sheltering your eyes for you do not know if you can take in one more glimpse of the life that has been. And you do not know that you can take one more step. And you just need to stop. And sink.

So there it waited, ready.

Made of the strongest of canes in the tightest of weaves, that holds you up and hold you in, a net, to catch you. Arms that wrap around you, a cushion to nestle against your skin, whisper soft. So you need do nothing except be.

Ahead of you lay the steps, to climb. Again. With time. But until you are ready, it is enough to just see them, those stairs. To know there is a path ahead, that leads onwards, upwards.

Another, in a nook beside a mirror. A chair that is only made comfortable when you tuck your legs up underneath your body, onto the seat, feeling your whole self lengthen. Holding yourself higher, you feel the strength in your body, that which you had forgotten. Your head, it pokes up through the clouds of your own self doubt until you can see the dreams you left up there, once, above those clouds, so that now you can reach them once more. Adventures trip off your tongue and your hands tell a story to match. Such animation, a reflection of the fervour that had dimmed within, now reignited. With your dreams filling the air, that chair now feels uncomfortable and you shift restlessly until you unravel your legs and walk on your feet. Walk forward with your dreams, casting one last look over your shoulder to see that resolute and now smiling face in the mirror.

In the bedrooms, you awake, guests and family alike, and there it is. A place to sit and put on the shoes that will carry you through your day. Do up your laces, good and tight. Stand strong, find your stride.

By the water, at the deepest point, the lounge chair is jaunty, long and languid. You can recline a while, warmth on your shoulders; reflections, winking, unwinding the inner coil. But soon, you will find yourself slipping forward, just far enough to dip your toes in the water. A coolness, not so much coldness, it is easier to imagine yourself there, in that water. An easy point of launch, all it will take is one swift movement, jumping right in. To the deep end.

There is a question that I ask in every job interview, “tell me, if I was to come into your home, what would I see?”

As what you would see, so too, tells you much about me.

Each chair has now been packed away, with a small sigh.

Knowing.

That it will be.

Just a short time.

Until each is placed once more, with care.

In our new home.

Ready.

For you.

This day …

This day.

This day will never come again.

No matter what it brings, the good, the bad, the comforts, the irritations, it will never return.

It may be that the whisper of that breeze on my shoulder will be as a murmur in my soul on another day, a fleeting reminder of a day past.

But it will not come again.

This day.

There is only one.

Only one of you.

Only one of me.

Together, today, we share it. Wherever you are, wherever I am, whatever you may do, whatever I do, this breathe we share.

While somewhere else, near or far, someone takes their very last breathe with us; no more days to share, no more sights to drink in, no more hands to hold. Somewhere, someone lays down to sink into the sorrow of that very last day together.

Their sobs awaken me, shake me, revive me.

I have been in a daze, where the breathes became mingled into one, long gasp, intermingled, unacknowledged.

Passing without admiration, with too little respect, for the uniqueness of the one.

Too many days, unacknowledged. Spent without value.

Too much of the busy, too little of the pause.

Too much of the thinking, too little of the being.

Bound too tight.

Capturing my very presence in tiny ravelled knots of absence.

And so now I begin slowly to turn.

With my arms out, my head back and my eyes closed, I turn, taking my entirety of my body, my being in the opposite direction.

A gentle harmony of ascension plays as the tension on the chord of life eases and as the thread runs through my fingers, I feel its silken ease and woven, lustrous fibres are playing this life’s song.

Leading me to you.

This very day.

And each day.

For as long as you and I stand to share it.

A precious, never again, day.

One time only.

Together.

Now.

Shadows and sparks …

As three, they sat, sharing a single lounge of luxury, on a cruise ship to Alaska.

I couldn’t help but notice, in their places, they sat together, and yet apart, not touching.

They had an air of solidness, of immoveability, as if they had sighed and in so doing, sunk into the very foundations of the vessel.

Their shoulders curved, their bosoms hung low, stomachs resting on their knees, stout feet just below.

Each breathe was heavy and laboured, and yet displayed no life.

Such stillness, set in an overriding air of glumness.

Eyes unseeing, tongues unspeaking, ears unhearing.

Three women.

Together, and yet apart. One plus One plus One, here, amounting to a singular, unreachable One.

I looked out at the luxury that lay all around us, the warmth of the sun streaming in as the day had begun, the ocean of blue through which we sailed. Such beauty. Such privilege lay all around.

Then my eyes returned to these three.

And as my eyes caught theirs, each in turn, I searched for a silent connection, from their soul to mine.

Extending an invitation: delight with me in all that is before us.

My invitation was met with silence, and I was troubled when I saw only shadows in their eyes.

Was this just another minute of another hour of another day to fill for these three?

Had they surrendered to a slow, drip feeding of life to death?

Perhaps, I prayed, it was just for today … We all have those days.

I turned back to the company of the ocean.

….

I sat beside two women this morning, at breakfast. Me to the left, these two at the right.

I lay my cutlery together on my plate, and lifted my cup to my lips as they took their seats.

As I drank, I heard one say, “This is going to have me pissed off all day now. I hate all these people. It starts my day angry and it will stay with me all day.”

Her words were clipped, her tone was sharp.

She was a young woman, at least young to me; thirties perhaps.

Her face was tight.

Yes, the restaurant was busy but the food was splendid and the waiters they sang as they moved, “Have a wonderful day and enjoy your meal.”

We were people in the fog, approaching a glacier we had come so far to experience.

It seemed that some of us were lost in a fog not seen by all.

As I rose to my feet, I found her eyes and quietly spoke, “I hope you aren’t … Pissed off all day. It would be such a long day, such a shame.”

Her companion smiled, a sad smile. But she held firm, eyes dulled by the comfort of the pissed off.

I walked on, to the deck and the prospect of a glacier ahead.

Perhaps, I prayed, it was just for today … We all have those days.

As I sit here now, the fog horn is sounding and the view is dim.

But the Captain has promised that what is happening out here, in the passage, is never ordinarily a reflection of what is happening in the Bay.

He tells me that there are spectacular views ahead.

I believe him.

I hold hope.

And so, while I wait for the fog to clear, my mind is wandering back to an earlier day where dim seemed the view, but hope held true.

I had met another, a woman, just four days before, whose hunched shoulders of vulnerability had also caught my eye.

She had stood on the docks of Seattle. Alone. A chill was descending, as the night was upon us.

Just a small box at her feet and a handwritten note that asked for compassion, for small change.

Everything about her appeared long, equally slung low. Hair, oily and lank. Clothing, a cardigan, a shirt and skirt, cascading one over the other to the ground. Oversized, and overwhelming.

Homeless.

I had just what she had asked for, and only that: a handful of small change in my pocket and as I passed her, I too stooped low, kneeling before her. Casting my coins into her box, I rose and was met with an unexpected gift.

Her eyes looked into mine and there it was: Life.

I saw it, I felt it, I received it. I was surprised by it.

She had what I had foolishly thought to be gone.

A spark, a determination, a joy and a hope.

Her head may have been bowed, but her spirit was not.

We exchanged no words aloud, but I felt a conversation had taken place that I would not soon forget.

One of hope.

As I walked away, I prayed, let it not just be for today …

Shadows and sparks.

I have held both inside.

I have been the one who has grown blind to abundance, who has picked a futile fight with life rather than have an honest conversation with myself, and I have been the one who has seen miracles in meagreness.

I have sat on a bench, surrounded by many, and yet only ever been a one.

I have bubbled over with anger at a great nothing.

I have stood alone, and yet communed with a stranger.

I have turned a moment into a conversation, an encounter into a countenance, and a silence into an eternity.

If truth be told, you have too.

That was the past and this is today.

What shall we choose today …

T.

With the words we speak, a lifetime we reap …

A single noun.

A lone adjective.

Generalizations that are swept along by a current of specificity.

Words.

Misplaced.

Misspent.

Misinterpreted.

Mistakenly picked up.

And hung onto.

I have a single rule for myself when I quietly pad into this place to write: share nothing that I would not say face to face to the person who shares this story with me.

For this is not to be a place of artifice, of hidden angst and accusation. Of cowardice or conspiracy.

This is swimming in the deep end of life, where hard conversations are had and even harder truths are faced.

Tonight, I have slipped in and shut the door behind me.

To revisit a word shared long ago, that still burns bright in the mind of another over a decade on.

Dysfunctional

That was the word.

It was a conversation with my mother-in-law.

And I spoke it.

Dysfunctional.

Our relationship has long been held together by a single string; our love for her son.

Neither one of us seemed able to accept the other for who she was … acceptance being the most difficult and precious gifts of all to bestow.

But on this day, both sides were in conversation and the spirit was one of reconciliation.

Until I spoke that one word.

In this sentence (I remember it well): every family is dysfunctional.

In my world, this was a magic word. For the freedom it gave, for a family to be imperfect and broken.

Goodness, it was all that I knew. Family dysfunction. My family have a long and proud history of dysfunction, as only the truly dysfunctional can take pride in our muddled way of being.

And so I gave it to her as a gift, a carry all that meant for all of our imperfections, we were just right; her family was just right.

We were all dysfunctional.

Welcome.

I hung up, blissfully ignorant of the damage I had wreaked.

Little did I know then what I do now: that when I spoke that one word, I drowned out any other word I had spake before that moment and every word I have uttered since.

For whilst that one word may have been an exhaling of pure relief to me, to my mother-in-law it was a life long indictment. I had marked her family on a scorecard and found it wanting; more than wanting, dysfunctional. It tore apart everything she had believed in and everything she had aspired to for her family. In her mind, it branded her family as sub-standard, and she reeled from the blow.

In that one word, I had scribed a single word in the air that floated between us whenever she saw me, that coloured every moment we had and left her mourning a relationship she had dreamt of but now seemed unattainable. A functional relationship in a traditional fashion – a daughter-in-law that loved and respected her. For in that one word, she saw no prospect of love or respect.

And it has hung between us ever since, no matter my clarification or internal railing against revisiting old words, and past days.

Recently, though, Randall visited his parents and this word was placed before him again, more than a decade since it had first arrived. When he came home, he mentioned it and I began to form this moment.

I realised I had offered explanations of sorts but never responsibility.

Never this moment.

A moment of apology.

You see, I was reckless. I meant no harm, I meant no judgement. But I did do harm. And I did pass judgement. In her world.

I never took the time to learn her language, to understand what she holds dear before I spoke.

I made assumptions and presumptions and in the face of her hurt, I walked stubbornly on, alone.

Sharing not of my world, nor partaking in hers.

Perhaps if I had been braver, I would have told her my story – of a family completely flawed that nevertheless, I loved and somehow accepted.

Of my own imperfections and dysfunction.

So that she may have come to realise that I live in a world of intentions misplaced, of emotions misspent, of actions misinterpreted and hurts mistakenly picked up.

That I was not looking down on her when I made a generalization, but inviting her into my world.

Perhaps if I had listened without reservation, I would have been able to offer this apology sooner, with the sincerity I now feel lapping in waves against my heart.

Words will always be my greatest friend and my most potent enemy when it comes to the relationships in my life. My words and the words of others. I wish I could say otherwise but they rush from within and race to without and sometimes, I realise too late where they have gone. Too late to take them back, too deeply felt to ease the pain readily.

I can only ever meet those utterances with this greatest of words: forgiveness.

Please forgive me, as I forgive you.

I choose this word with care, looking first to my own responsibility.

For tonight, it is mine to ask for … your forgiveness, Pam.

I meant no harm, but I accept it visited you and left a wound that still lingers deeply.

For this, I am truly sorry …

T.

Living on Kismet Street

In these latter years, the connection has dimmed.

The heart has wearied and finds the words of untruth harder to forget.

When my eyes close and my heart aches for a path he never took, forgiveness seems far away, wooden, automated and feeble.

The darkness of bitterness encroaches and so I return with deliberate, quiet steps to the days we lived on Kismet Street, when my father was strong in the eyes of a child, his child; this child.

In those days, those memories, there was light; there is light.

His arms were tanned, beaded with sweat as they struck a rhythm. Brick after brick, the trowel slapping and smoothing the mortar as he built a house to reach the sky. As I looked up, the sun looked down and he glistened in between. I poured him an ice cold drink from his dusty cooler and still remember the mark of his grasp on the cup he returned to me. I walked along a plank laying on the ground and knew whenever my mother came, it would be too soon. I wanted to see the house, the house my father built.

My eyes still closed, I skip easily to a moment of dappled light and easy laughter. The memory of my mother, her dark curls and eager smile, her competitive spirit and over-extended reach. My father stands with his back to me; I can’t see his face but I remember the sound of his voice. This is their time and we surround them because to be near them in this moment is to be a part of their happiness. As the sun is falling, the light filters through the leaves of the old mulberry tree. They are playing badminton, together, just they two. I bend to pick up a fallen shuttlecock and see the freshly mowed lawn through the white grid in my hands.

My mind runs ahead now to the next memory, a crisp, white shirt, short-sleeved. Old blue, naval tattoos stain his arms, still strong, as he holds the lectern. Respectability, in every starched seam. New career, new faith proclaimed for all to see. I cling to it, the promise of that bright, white shirt.

There are others, just like these … memories of my father in the early days, when I believed. Memories in which I can never see his face, only the light.

They are slim, but they are enough; enough to guarantee my freedom, to protect my heart. Enough to walk ahead, safe in the memories of when we lived, when we loved, when I dreamed, on Kismet Street.

I have found forgiveness to be a choice that has to be picked up, time and time again. Each time that jagged memory appears, I determine within myself to let the light in, however small it may be, to know a time when I could see the beauty and offer forgiveness. A choice I make for me, even more than him, than her, than them. May others extend me that grace, again and again, for I am sure that as I have been wounded, I too have wounded them. Those are my thoughts on forgiveness … I hope to hear yours, in the deep end of life.

Nine of the best …

Tricia smile lines

These are the nine.

That I welcome with glee.

Nine fine lines, cradling my eyes; the intricate lace adorning my soul, the measure of my life. 

Count them, I ask you, please count them with me.

Each tells a story of who I would be.

Nine of the best stories. 

Stories of mine.  

Reflected in these nine lines.

I trace each line, each in turn, as slowly and surely as each they did come..

Cherishing each line, each story, as I embrace each day.

And asking for more; please give me more, I pray.

The first, days of falling in love, gifting my heart to another; the heady days and nights of love. 

The second, the resilience to swim on, in the deep end of life.

The third, laughter and tears with friends, in good times and bad. 

The fourth, the sudden loss of my heart forever, to my children, their hands in my hands, their eyes on my eyes, their lips on my lips.  

The fifth, melodies sung aloud as I danced with someone, with no-one, with you all. 

The sixth, challenges: those that were accepted, met, and celebrated; those that defeated me and left me temporarily smaller, forever scarred. 

The seventh, the deepest spirit of gratitude for a life much blessed.

With the eighth, tears ran down my cheek, to see lands afar, adventures and opportunities anew.

The ninth, conversations, earnest and pure, dark and stormy, quick and light, through the passing hours of life. 

Those nine lines.

Bearing testament. 

To the days that have passed.

To the joy of my spirit.

The glory of my being.

Those nine lines, through their presence each day, I become a believer, all over again.

In the promise of my future. 

In the honour of my past.

Nine of the best.

Perfectly placed.

Perfectly timed.

The perfect prophecy.

I smile. 

And await the day that nine becomes ten.

T.

 

We are not The Something …

My words are dry, my lips are thin. Pressed together. To open them means to speak what is within. 

My heart it trembles, my legs they quiver.

I took a step, just a single step.

Towards. Not from. 

Shame and I. We walked together.

To the meeting place.

She whispered in my ear, Shame, she did; such a quiet word, with such a beguiling tone, “Stay.”

But I took another step, a step alone, feeling her breathe on my shoulder. I lifted my face until my eyes caught his.

I stood, my eyes brimming, my voice breaking and I heard myself admitting what I thought he never knew, “you see, when I hear that something is wrong, something that I have worked on, conceived, contrived, that Something Is Wrong, I don’t hear that something I did is wrong.”

“No matter the words that were chosen, no matter how carefully spoken, I never hear, never have heard, not my entire life, that something I did is wrong.

All I hear, all I know, is that I am wrong.”

My eyes spoke the final words, direct to his, “I am The Something.

A moment. 

Before he spoke. His eyes met mine. 

His calm reply, two words that swam all around me, “I know.” 

“I know.”

He knew. 

He knew. He knew, he knew, he knew, he knew. 

He knew.

He has always known.

That I am The Something. 

Every tear I have shed, every mission I have pursued, every driven day I have walked, every argument I have wielded in a heightened state of destruction, they have all been in fear of being The Something, The Wrong Thing; of being revealed as The Something, The Wrong Thing. Of being cast out, cast away, cast long and wide to a place of desolation.

And he knew. 

I can barely comprehend his words before he speaks again.

“But you are not, you know. You are not the wrong thing. You never have been.” 

I never have been.

I never have been.

There it was.

I. Never. Have. Been.

And it flawed me.

The truth.

Because never had I known, the truth.

He did, my husband, at every level. Knew it. About me. About her.

He knew when I spoke in truth and when I spoke the words of Shame.

He knew who I was. And he knew what I did.

Still, he loved in me. He believed in me.

And in this moment, with gentleness, he led me there, to a place of understanding, and dawning.

To a place of acceptance of me. And of her. 

To a place of truth.

That she had lied.

Shame. 

And that I had chosen to live there.

In the lie.

I did wrong. I have done plenty of wrong. But I am not, and I never was destined to be, The Something. 

I turned and stepped towards the morning sun, the warmth of its light reflecting the warmth of his words. 

Behind me, I felt her shrink back. A step, then two. Shame.

And I walked forward.

She hasn’t left me, she never will. 

Some days, I expect she will draw closer, where the quietest whisper can slide swiftly into my ear.

But we will talk, she and I. About the difference between being and doing. The Something.

And I will, each day, resolve to be The Someone.

The One.

I was called to be.

….

Somehow, I hope this finds you. The one who has allowed Shame to define you, who has believed the lie. I understand the truth and the lie. And sometimes, as I have learned, all it takes is for someone to tell you they know the truth … that you are not The Someone. You just listened too long, and believed too far, in the fear of Shame. You never were that Wrong Thing, and you never will be. Some days, perhaps when Shame slithers up close again, you might find it hard to believe the truth, and you may need to remember that I know: who you are, and how different that is from what you did. On those days, look into my eyes, right here, and take heart. You are not alone. You never have been. You never will be.

T.

P.S. Jenny and Robert, this was for you … so you know that, come tomorrow, I will listen for the things that I did wrong. Poised with an open spirit that welcomes the opportunity before me, and a halting hand extended behind me, keeping Shame bowed. 

So, here I stand …

I am holding my breathe. 

There is light and there is quiet.

And there before me, I see.

I see.

I shake my head and avert my gaze.

I close my eyes and let out my breathe, clear and low. 

Looking is hard. For so long, I had stopped looking. Stopped seeing. 

But I look up again.

And now I see. 

Me.

My body.

My place.

My life.  

It is the time of day when I am faced with a truth that I am creating. I am changing my body, and I am changing my life, leaving myself nowhere to hide. 

I come in here, alone, throwing on the brightest of lights on the whitest of walls. 

With a slight and shallow breath, I look up, catching my first glimpse of the woman who stands before me. 

My fingers feel for the seam of my shirt, flicking buttons open, one by one.

As I slip out of my clothes, I see it all. Me.

The curve of my waist. The rise of my breasts. The arch of my collarbone. The meeting of my thighs. 

 I still don’t recognise it all. Recognise me. 

There are shapes emerging that I have not known for some time. That I have been hiding behind oversized shirts, one size fits all drapery. 

I have lost twenty-five kilograms but I still haven’t shopped for a single piece of clothing which has a number that gives any hint that my body has changed. That I have changed.

OSFA. One Size Fits All. 

But it doesn’t. 

Not really.

It doesn’t now. And it didn’t then. 

Not in mind. Not in body. Not in spirit.

Which is why it is time to find my size. Find my fit. 

Try life on. 

It will scare me. It’s true. Life.

Not the failing.

Not the mistakes. 

But the succeeding.

Not the hiding. 

But the facing.

The revealing. 

It can leave me without a breathe, without a voice. 

And it can be tempting to turn back. 

For the last week, I have been tempted, sorely tempted. 

To head back. To the place where I came from.

In that place, there was ample room to hide from the future.

To be pretend to be someone else. 

Except that I no longer want to.

I don’t want to wear a one size fits all life. That hides me.

I want to throw the light on, the brightest of lights, against the whitest of whites, and see what is that stands before me.  

Find the glory of my life in the rise of the road ahead, and the dip of the life behind. Let the light shine on the possibilities, holding my breathe for the slightest of moments. 

So, here I stand.

Naked.

Flawed.

Emerging. 

With the smallest of smiles and the deepest of breathes. 

To see me. 

Let us count the ways …

“You haven’t written lately,” you said.

“It has been some time,” you said.

And I smiled but spoke not in reply.

No words, you see.

No words.

I have had no words.

Just numbers.

Tumbling, spinning, raging numbers.

Would you mind, dear Claire, if I shared with you not words but numbers?

My numbers.

Thirteen.

That is how many weeks it has been since I decided to face my numbers. To unravel them. To release them.

One hundred and twenty.

Kilograms of sheer despair.

Two plus two plus one.

Blushing cheeks; averted, glistening eyes; a pounding heart. The secret is out. The number has been spoken, a whisper, released to the air between us.

Ninety-one.

That is how many days I have wondered if I could do this and have done it anyway.

Twenty-three.

Now kilograms lighter.

One hundred and eighty.

That is the number of degrees I have longed to turn and run every time I have stood, smiling, while someone has complimented me on my weight loss.

Three.

How many months I estimate it will be before my wedding ring slips onto my finger again.

Sixty-nine.

My goal.

Twenty-third. Of the third. Two thousand and fourteen.

The day I departed.

From resignation.

In pursuit of hope.

The day I began believing again. In me. However small it may have been.

The day I changed the numbers.

Against which I had been measuring up.

And always found wanting.

Because Claire, I realised something that day.

I had been facing the wrong numbers.

Counting my mistakes as failures, instead of possibilities.

Adding up the voices of others who told me I was special, worth something , who believed in me. To ease my hunger and to quell my fears. Only to find that it didn’t matter how many spoke up, the number was never enough for just one, for just me, to believe.

And there was only one who can ever truly believe. In me.

Me.

Simply me.

So I have started to believe. A silky, whisp of belief. And dream again.

Times of change are here.

Possibilities that frighten me and excite me.

I have found a new set of numbers to live by.

Eight.

Little arms that can now slip all the way around my waist and hug me close.

Forty-one.

An age of liberty, for I am free to now choose my own adventure.

Seventy-six.

Guests to welcome into my home as we celebrate another year of working together and serving together.

Thirteen.

Years of marriage to a man who says he has my back, so go do whatever my heart desires.

Twelve.

Days have passed since I received an email from a friend who had the courage to challenge me to believe in my dreams first, before I ask others to believe.

Thirty.

Seconds to realise he was right.

Six.

Books beside my bed, lent to me and shared with me by mentors who showed me grace when I showed doubt.

Two.

Of the biggest, red lips of the dearest friend to kiss me, cheer me and challenge me.

One step.

One smile.

One voice.

One day.

Numbers worth measuring.

Numbers worth sharing.

With you.

T.

Near and far …

I was just a seat away.

There was nothing between us.

But there was everything between us.

Abrupt words. Only a very few, a sentence. Followed by a look. Accompanied by a tone. A glance. And there it was.

A plumb line.

Tension. Strung tight. Passing straight between us.

A line of separation that in an instant became a wall.

I sat and I thought. Head down. Apparently busy but acutely aware. I said not another word.

And in so doing, I helped build it; the wall. I threw on the mortar and worked masterfully with the trowel.

As did she.

What had I reacted to? What had she reacted to?

Why had we not laughed at the moment or agreed to disagree?

Why had we allowed our parting to be words uttered across a wall?

I doubt that it was so much what had been said in the moments before the wall went up that made the most difference.

I think it was more in what was not said.

That drew the line between us.

Our perspectives. Our roles. Our rights. Our wrongs. Our assumptions.

The right to speak or the obligation to stay silent.

True connection or superficial proximity?

On that day, in that moment, we had proximity but lacked an authentic connection.

Not then. Maybe soon. Once I have dismantled the wall. Which may take a while. It felt pretty solid, casting a long shadow.

Proximity is a false positive. Being so near can really be so far.

Women do that, too often. We revel in proximity as a sign of our connection.

It’s not, you know.

It’s just occupying the same space, but it doesn’t put you in the same place.

True friendship, authentic friendship, can survive physical distance. Near or far.

Because it only really needs one thing: an authentic connection. And that one truth: authenticity, accompanied by love (not obligation) is enough to make us near, even when we are far.

It won’t stop me grabbing my trowel from time to time, and trying to whip up a fine looking wall.

But that authenticity, that mutual permission to be just ourselves, flawed and imperfectly perfect, also helps us knock it down fast before it becomes anything too substantial.

That’s the sort of connection and relationship we all deserve, girls.

It takes courage to let go of the plumb line, and to say, “let’s measure this distance together, by eye, by gut, with heart.”

Let’s lay a clear path from me to you, no wall to keep anyone out.

You speak with love, and sometimes in fear. Or agitation. Even frustration. Jealousy. And hurt.

And I’ll do the same.

Sometimes.

We’ll shower each other with forgiveness, for at some time we will each deserve it.

And let’s extend understanding. Acceptance.

Always.

That you are as imperfect as I will always be.

Let’s not be far when we are near.

Instead, let us be near, even when we are far.

This I offer to you. Connection. And authenticity.

With love to Nardia, Queen of Demolishing Walls.

And to Jenny, Whisperer of Wisdom.

T.
P.S. To knock down a wall recently constructed, I am going to wield the sledgehammer of genuine contrition. Let’s see what that softens.