Come home my body whispered for 100 years until I finally responded.
Real homecomings are profound but exasperating and not like the movies. Sometimes our reunion is so tender it takes my breath away and some days I think it’s all BS and I long for the fake ease of our old estrangement.
Learning how to have an actual relationship is not the same as #slaying with a hard core workout or a green juice. I tried fixing her but duh everyone knows fixing debilitates relationships.
Then I remembered that nonviolent communication is good for inside relationships too so stop telling her what she is supposed to want and instead just start asking and listening and asking if she has any requests. Not easier but more truthful.
She had been waiting a lifetime to be asked of course so she had a litany: basic respect, an apology, eating breakfast, kindness when looking in the mirror, attending to the pain we have been ignoring for over a decade, to stop being secretly proud when I “forget” to eat, to remember that advertising, the patriarchy, and ballet did not always have our best interest at heart so we will need to collaborate on a new operating system.
Therapist Esther Perel says it is the job of a person who has betrayed a relationship to keep vigil for it.
I am keeping vigil by slowly answering her requests and saying one small apology every day.
My new doctor says the pain I can’t seem to shake is my body’s way of saying the way have been doing things is not working. We have gotten remarkably better but I have to keep up the vigil because forgiveness is not an overnight job.
Who are we without our pain? I ask her.
Trusting each other again, she says.
I love you.
I'm sorry it took me 3 decades to say it.
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