Wednesday 16 November 2016

A letter to a friend

Dear Friend

How can I convince you that you, just the way you are, deserve love? That love that squeezes you so tight that you can't breathe with the intensity and clean pain. The love that makes you feel more alive, exhilarated, and also broken open and safe. The milk-and- honey sweet love that soothes you, softens you and satisfies you to the core.

Maybe I can start by telling you that when I see you I see an upright woman, so strong from the inside? You have always spoken up for your friends, and loved them selflessly. You’ve never let them down. You are the person people run to when they are in need.

I see that you are a giver. You want to help others. You have a list of things you need to buy for others, do for others, pray for others. You understand when they are needy, listen to their tales of woe, and place their desires before your own. They talk to you because you understand before they’ve even said the words, and they love you right back, even though they don't know how to say it the way you do.

You feel the pain of those around you. Deeply and to your centre. You don't just know it, you fully experience it. That’s what love looks like. Walking a road with a mate, and feeling all the lows and all the heartbreak, not because you have to, but because you can.

And you carry on doing this, with a chasm so deep and raw and red, it may gush out at any moment. But no one sees that. The  perfect white smile that people say you always have is bandage-wrapped so snug that it never slips. You’ve learned the language of “I’m fine, all good, how are you?” You give the hugs without sharing your own feelings.

I see your pain.

I know your panic when his mood changes, and he lashes out. I understand how hard you have to work to make his world perfect. How you know what he wants before he asks for it, and how you move your life around to get the details down pat. Only you understand him so well, and only you can make it exactly the way he wants it  - like your mom’s homemade chicken pie.

You do it every day, every minute. Your thoughts are constantly towards him, wrapped around his desires, tweaking out the little things that can change everything, can unravel the thread, can start the little bird’s heart beating again. You do it like breathing, without thinking, automatically.

I see you’re doing this out of love for him. 

I know.

You can’t.

I need to tell you that your making it better is making him worse. You’re feeding a monster that will never be satisfied, filling a dam that will never overflow. Ask yourself - when will the worry stop, because you’ve loved enough and stopped his pain? What more do you have to do to make him whole?

It’s not your fault.

You’re not the problem.

You’re not alone.

I love you, and I’m a safe place for you. I’ll hold that space, blinking back my tears at your pain until you’re ready.

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