I bare my true thoughts to those I know every decade or so. True thoughts. Before this past weekend I remember being 21 years old. I was at a bar. Plastic cup of beer. Jay standing in front of me. He was a good 6 inches taller. I felt protected. Leaning up against the wall, I just started talking. I told him about the unwanted advance. My tough relationship with my immigrant parents. They wanted a doctor. They got a feminist who drank too much. Who wrote too much. He didn’t take his eyes off of mine. His were light blue. Mine pitch black. He didn’t touch me once. He listened. He stared. I cried.
As a catholic growing up my mother loved confession. You open up a heavy wooden door and sit on a cold wood bench. A man you could not see asked you to bare your soul. Then pray. My mother always followed the rules. I would tell the hidden man about how I cheated on a test. Or how I said a bad word. He would tell me to say 1 our father and 4 hail Mary’s. All would be forgiven.
Jay then bared his soul. His struggle with cocaine and alcohol. He never met his father. He had no clue how he would support himself.
Fast forward almost 30 years. I sent a message to women I have known for over 20 years. I told them about my almost 50 year old worries. My anxiety being so out of control. That I worry about my dad and husband at all times of the day. They are the only family I have. That I cannot believe I live on a planet without my mother who I spent the last 20 years as her best friend. We repaired the hurt. The pain was gone. She was my everything and now she was gone. I think of my colleagues and clients who are African American and Latina who face racism everyday by everyone and all systems since the day they were born.
I had real loving responses from one of the three women. Her responses so sincere. So authentic. The other promised to check on me and went skiing instead. The other had no response at all. After a few days I found myself laughing out loud. That I tried to be raw and authentic to someone besides my husband. I should have known the results before I tried. There are very few people on this planet who can bare witness to true suffering. In almost 50 years of life I have counted 3.