Finally Saying Yes
December 16th, 2019
One of my oldest and best friends picked me up from the airport today. That is momentous for a multitude of reasons, mainly that I am blessed by this bond of twenty plus years AND that I actually finally said yes to a friend offering to show up for me, to do for me, to simply see me. She has never once pressured, guilted or tried to persuade me to see her, simply reiterating that no matter what and no matter when, it would still be her, still me, still us — and somehow, it was.
I vacillated back and forth on having her come scoop me until the very last moment. Would the mental stresses prove too much and wreak additional havoc? Would she understand me through my mouth brace and swollen lips after flying? Would she be put off by my bandages or the hair covering half of my face? Would I even feel comfortable in her presence, which has long put me at ease? I sat curbside in the wheelchair with a pit in my stomach awaiting her arrival, anxious about and unsure of what to expect — not because she has changed, but because I have.
This is not just any human, rather one who has been by my side through the throws of life since we were eight years old. She knew me before Turning Green, before New York, before running for office, before I ever thought about setting foot in Haiti or Israel, Lesvos or Standing Rock, Powder Mountain or Puerto Rico. She knows how my psyche operates, recognizes subtle shifts in my mood, offers up what I need to hear — heck, she even spells my mom’s name right and yes, knew my dad. We’ve done musical theater together, played in the Burning Man dust together, danced to surprise live sets by will.i.am and Alicia Keys together, hot tubbed in snowy Whistler together, sang our hearts out at Bruce Springsteen concerts together, gotten lost on the New York City subway together, shared too many yerba maté gourds in too many places together, yet all is never enough. She gives me the keys to her apartment without second thought, entrusts me with the inner happenings of her family, sends me photos of her working with our closest friends — and vice versa. She writes the most majestic, heartfelt, generous text messages at just the moment she intuitively senses I need to hear those words from her heart, so many of which I have screenshotted of late. But a few…
"Hi my friend. Just checking in, and reminding you that you’re an extraordinary person.”
"Change is still progress, even if it’s not what you expected or hoped for. Every step gets you somewhere, no? Maybe not. I’m sorry if that’s not accurate or helpful. Just a thought.”
"Hi! I just wanted to take a minute to tell you about one of the things i love most about you. You have an uncanny ability to make each person you interact with feel seen, and feel like the most important person in the room. It’s a quality I haven’t recognized in very many people, and you have it. That’s something I think makes you special.”
Oh how I love this woman. From when she hugged me gently at the airport to listening to her stories during the drive to her helping me bring my things in to closing the door behind her after she dropped me off, I felt safe and special, sans any brouhaha. There was no fuss to be made, no comments about me looking better/worse than she foresaw, no loud exclamations or excited movements, no tension around expectations of a next time. She has kindly and unpresumptuously offered to pick me up or drive me from appointment to appointment every single day and time I’ve been in LA since my accident (now back for more tomorrow!) — and our half hour together today was absolutely lovely, a gift, thoroughly appreciated, wholly positive. Nevertheless, I reaffirm to myself and to others that such an experience in no way indicates, means or compels me to see her or anyone else in the near future. Release and management of expectations is critical, both inward and public-facing. Still, I maintain hope that this may be a bridge to my opening to see beloved, treasured souls whose generosity and love are the things of my dreams. I miss my community. I miss you. I miss us.