I know unsafe places. I know what they feel like, how my senses are heightened, how my mind can instantly flip from a non-guarded to a guarded lens. I know unsafety. Unfortunately, I may be better attuned to unsafe scenarios than safe ones. Sadly, we all may be, to varying degrees in today’s era.
I can’t remember the last time I felt truly safe in a place outside of my home or mother’s house. Churches, for Christs’ sake aren’t even really safe any longer. The amusement park, children’s play areas, museums and concerts all have suspecting individuals that make you look over your shoulder clutching your bag, or somewhat fearfully aware of what accessories you’re wearing for the day. On a deeper level, it exists in the normal social anxieties that come with how you think you are being be perceived by a group of people. Did what I say just offend them? Oh God, I can see her looking at my shirt, I knew I shouldn’t have worn this one. And this is sad.
While this is difficult, it is definitely easier to identify the threats people may present when in a given physical scenario. However, it is much harder to identify the threats that exist with people with whom you’re in a relationship. People use words and even conflicting actions to communicate themselves. And these often times look like hypocrisies. However, are we to trust them? Should we try to give them the benefit of the doubt? Well, they were awful in their words to me, but they did come home early and make me dinner – maybe that is them saying they are sorry? Well, they keep saying they are on my team, but everything they are doing seems like they don’t have my best interests at heart. Are they trustworthy? Is it me? Am I not trustworthy? Why can’t I get them to really trust me?
Within relationships, we spin and spin trying to understand if we are safe with a given person. We watch cautiously, overreact sometimes to a seemingly insignificant occurrences. We overlook large red flags because we grasp the words they said so tightly – as if they were inscribed in holy tablets – failing to see how their actions often support their words. And we watch them. Day in, Day out, watching how they respond, communicate, scanning for inconsistencies – or at least the ones we’re truly ready to face.
And what do we fear? We fear someone we claim to love and trust suddenly pulling the ripcord from the relationship, and leaving us to free fall. We fear the loss of them. This is largely to do with our own insecurities, but even with the most secure of us, it is a painful experience when someone severs a relationship, leaving you to bleed out and regrow a new limb where the one you grew with them once existed. And often, we stay in something far too long where the inconsistencies amass to a giant heap of undeniable lies. When we are here, we are forced to put on highly clouded glasses in order to ignore the destruction to our soul that awaits, in an effort to preserve what tiny, dimly lit, thread of hope that we can cling to in order not to face the severing.
Not all people are liars or decivers. Nay. For a rare breed exists in the universe, hard to come by, that posses these hearts that tirelessly do the work and make the effort to not only earn your trust, but also live their own personal value of being deemed worthy of the title trustworthy. They aren’t perfect (no one is) but they endure the bumps and bruises, call outs, and criticisms – take them inside, examine them, seeking to understand what their part was. These are those that give you the benefit of the doubt but don’t shy away from calling you out when you aren’t meeting your end of the bargain or you’re failing to act in accordance with your words or not being something you claim you value. And they do it with grace, kindness, and care because they really are on your team. Ego isn’t their driver, honesty is. Being “right” isn’t their aim, harmony and consistency is.
These are those that actively look for an underlying cause or trigger to a behavior you’ve just commited – for what some would write you off for. Their goal is to understand you and help you understand yourself more. They’re looking for you, for your higher self’s intent and purpose in whatever atrocity you’ve just committed when you couldn’t see it – and willing to actually talk to you about it. You’ve said some horrible thing or done some horrible deed that has caused their, or someone else’s, heart pain, and they’re the ones to later let you know what you’ve done. They trust that your value is to love deeply too. And so you welcome those hard and painful conversations with them. They are the ones bringing the errors to your face, allowing you to process them, and waiting with open arms on the other end, ready to embrace you despite the pain you have brought in thier life.
I’ll be honest, it took us such a long time to get here, but Aly is that person.
My relationship with Aly is one of the most cherished I have. I love her with a love where words vaporize and utterly fail to construct the full representation of what it encompasses. I have never been known to this degree – not by anyone. Have we had fights? Yes, some that kept us at a distance for years. Have we been hateful to each other? Yes, embittered quarrels birthing deep resentments were left splattered and dripping from the walls of the last apartment we lived in together. And yet, here we are – bruises, cuts, scars and all – and I would give my last breath for her, gladly.
What brought us to this place? What assembled such a bond? Trust and Kindness.
While we put on masks and momentarily would venture into worlds where we denied deeply held values, causing great rifts between us, those values always sought us out, hunting us to submission. When trust, or being trustworthy is a top value, bravery takes center stage – admitting your wrongdoing, confronting your issues with the person, and expressing your repentance. And when repentance is met with kindness? Sweet Absolution.
These experiences likely were the backbone to what we have now. Horrors giving way to love. Atrocities burned in fire to resurrect into beauty. Without those trials and deeply seeded feuds, we would likely never have come to trust and know each other so profoundly.
And now? Aly knows me. She knows my heart, in and out. She’s peered into the edge and seen the darkness and still beckons me upward. She believes me. She believes in me.
In Aly, is home. In Aly, I vent, and cry, and chat, and gossip, and laugh, and share, and hurt, and hold. In Aly is trust. In Aly is whole Acceptance. Commitment. And Kindness.
In Aly is the safest place I know. Safer than even the man I have chosen to spend my life with. Equal in safety to that love that is found in my mother. Safety. Breathing room. Allowance for failure without the fear of the severing of ties.
Do I think this bond is only forged through trial? Perhaps not. Perhaps you’re a lucky soul that encounters one of these beings and you are able to instantly trust and know them. However, if not, it’s likely that you will need to pull up your sleeves and work out this kind of love with someone. Perhaps it’s you who need to initiate the honest conversations you’re scared to address within the relationship. And if they sever ties when you do? Well, firstly I hope you find a beautiful healing. But evenutally, I hope you become ever grateful for the end of something that was detrimental to your life. Because once you’ve had one of those relationships where you love, trust and respect this other soul, and more importantly, you no longer fear the loss of them, it is bliss…
So, sometimes the safest places are not literal places, but rather found residing in the souls of those who not only you trust the most, but also trust you, know your intentions and support, call out or champion your underlying motivations.
I hope that for you. And I hope you find the bravery and compassion to make it happen.