A stranger told me I should talk to you.
My first instinct was to scoff and ask, “Why?”
Then he insisted.
This time my thought was, “I’ve tried to talk to her before and the conversation just doesn’t flow.”
Before you start sulking away and feeling sorry for yourself, hear me out. You are hard to talk to. It’s not your fault though. It’s mine.
I’ve lied to you so many times in the past. It’s not that I meant to, it just happened. I wanted to protect you from the horrors of what was happening in my life. I wanted to shelter you from the bad thoughts I was having about myself, about you. Occasionally, those thoughts just came and my first reaction was to tell a little white lie so that you could keep thinking everything was OK, but it wasn’t.
Things were spiraling out of control at times and instead of confiding in you, giving you a chance to work with me on the problems, I pushed you away with a touch of my fingers to your lips when you questioned me late at night.
I pulled the blankets over you during some of the most troubling times in my life and whispered there was nothing to worry about, all the while not really knowing if that was true or not.
Of course, things have always worked out but I now know that wasn’t what I should have been doing. I should have been employing you as a close confidante. An advisor, instead of a detective of sorts. You were asking too many questions and I silenced you with half-truths and placated you with feel good stories from the internet and pictures of goats.
I know it wasn’t always about protecting you. Some days I just wanted you to shut up. To go away and leave me alone. I wanted to hit you, punch you and push you even further away than ever before and I succeeded at times. It never felt good though. I still felt lonely and afraid during the moments of peace from your never-ending inquisitions.
I see now that you were just trying to help me and now that I’m trying my hardest to help myself, here you are yet again, unfaltering in your loyalty to me.
Except now, it is you who is trying to silence me.
Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to bring the truth into light. I took it upon myself to bombard you with the honesty I’d been so good at hiding and what did that accomplish? It’s caused you to take a firm stance to negate all the positive that I’m finally trying to find.
I swear to you though, I’m really trying to show you the positive! Not just pictures of cute farmyard animals and cliché quotes off Pinterest to shut you up! Why won’t you believe me?
You won’t believe me because I’m a liar and now you’re afraid. You’re afraid that I’m still deceiving you and only trying to drown out your voice yet again. In a way, I am. I’ll admit that but this time it’s the truth I’m trying to suffocate you with.
When I realized that we needed to talk, I didn’t want to at first. I knew you’d be hesitant. I knew you’d push back; I had hoped you wouldn’t but never the less you have.
I’m scared. You’re scared.
I’ve sitting on my bed tonight and every night the past two weeks, holding your hand and in my mind’s eye I can see you backing away. Turning your head from me. Your distrust in me tastes sour on my tongue like fruit gone bad.
I understand though and honestly? I don’t blame you. I’d do the same.
It’s something we must do now. Don’t you understand? Won’t you please understand? Can’t you find an ounce of trust left in your beautiful heart for me? You see, our very life depends on it. Our happiness is contingent upon you trusting me this time.
All those years that I silenced you with alcohol. Those years I filled prescription after prescription, hoping this one would be the one that made you happy and helped my traitorous motives. All those hours on a therapist’s couch pouring out my soul only to find I was talking about the same things over and over instead of moving on.
Several months ago I found a new life for us. Divine intervention rained down on us and even though at this point you no longer believed in me, you were the first person I thought of. I was so happy to introduce you to this new life. There were a few times you slipped up and smiled. I saw you.
You were there in the mosque with me that night on my birthday. You were there with me at Jummah prayer in front of everyone when I declared our allegiance to God again. I felt you both times and your surge of hope invigorated me. It finally felt like maybe as the time got closer for me to finally reach out to you and ask for forgiveness that you would welcome me with open arms. All too often though that isn’t the case with those we’ve done wrong.
Now I’m asking you to believe my words and affirmations once again. It’s painful to see you staring back at me with that look in your eyes. The look of distrust. The shake of your head when I tell you everything is OK as I promise you that we can do this.
You’re not seeking revenge on me though. I know that. It’s not who you are. You’re only trying to resist your innate need to trust because you know what it feels like to be duped. Really, I understand.
Please listen this time. You will see with time that I am telling you the truth. That I am being honest for once with both of us.
I beg you to give me a chance the next time we are travelling outside of our comfort zone. I’m asking you to listen to me when I tell you we are OK as that surge of adrenaline hits. When all we want to do is buy some laundry soap or a bag of chips but instead we both want to run screaming into the night. Back to the safety of the car, to our bed, to our own mind.
Please take my hand and hold tight as I stand firm in the middle of the line waiting to pay. Look up at me and smile again like you used to. Like you did when you thought I hung the moon and you felt like everything I did was for the greater good for us.
We don’t have to hide anymore or run from the uncomfortable fear or a threat that really doesn’t exist. We don’t! Every tool we need to get through from here on out is inside of us. It always has been but like you are afraid now, I was afraid then.
You are trying to protect me now. I hear you whisper every time I open the door to an unfamiliar place.
“No. Please Misty, we can’t do this. We might die. What if something bad happens like you promised it wouldn’t?”
Now you’re begging me to do anything and everything to keep us from having to face what scares us.
I hear you. I will no longer shush your words with my lips or muffle your fears in a hug of uncertainty. I will no longer drown your worry in a bottle or quell your nauseating concern with another medication. No longer will I willingly take a new prescription to the pharmacist in hopes that it will quiet your chatter. No. I will hold your hand through this and you will hold mine.
We have a wonderful new life ahead of us and I want you to know that I’m deeply sorry for all the wasted years I thought I was helping you. Helping us. My intentions were good, believe me. We were all alone without our parents, siblings, or friends. Everybody had moved on and yet we remained stuck in a vicious cycle of anxiety and fear and regret. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. It really doesn’t.
It’s scary, I know. I’m terrified promising you this right now but I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe we are strong enough together to get through this and that we will go on to have a better life. More magnificent than either of us could ever imagine.
I promise to always be there for you when we begin to explore the world. Oh the places we’ll see and the people we’ll meet. The music we’ll hear and the laughter we’ll share. There will still be sleepless nights, I’ve no doubt about that. There will be moments where we will cling to each other as we push through the difficulties. The difference this time will be that there will be no lies. There will be no optical illusions thrown at you. I will be honest with you during these times and you will see that we will pass through them like a silent ship in the night. Like the tide ebbing and flowing against the beach. We will ride the waves, no matter how big or small, together, and will swim with the current instead of against it. It will work. You just have to trust me again.
Listen to me when I tell you that if anything bad is going to happen to us, it won’t be at the Dollar General, that’s for sure. It’ll happen living our lives happily somewhere out there in this great big world. With the sunshine on our faces instead of our backs. This I promise you.
It will take time for you to trust me again but I will not give up on proving to you that I have changed. I do believe deep down that you will, one day soon, take my hand in trust and follow me no matter where I lead you. Like you used to. Only this time it will be because I will have restored your faith in me once again to protect you.
You know how I know you will? It’s who you are. You’re just like me.
In fact, you are me.