oh the sweetest thing

June 15, 2014

Today I was having a mid-afternoon snuggle with my wide-eyed, smiling 6-year old and she gazed and me and said: “Mummy, sometimes I think I was supposed to be born to you.”

“Yes, darling,” I said. “I think that is what love feels like”

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A Sad Day

November 14, 2011

Yesterday was a very sad day.

We decided to have our dear dog, Honey, put down.

Her health was rapidly deteriorating and it was painful for us to watch and clearly painful for her.

She spent her last night walking around the garden constipated due to growths in her abdomen. She had started avoiding us and had no energy.

The lovely vets came to our house and we let the girls give her cuddles and we told her we love her. We thanked her for all the good times and then I took the girls outside to pick flowers.

Steve stayed with her and Honey died in his arms, where she was most happiest. When I came back into the house, Steve was holding her, wracked with grief.

Honey was the best dog I’ve ever known. She was a swimmer of oceans, chewer of logs, lover of children, chaser of cats and snorer of sleeps.

She was completely awesome with children with a sweet disposition. Even some people who didn’t like dogs liked her.¬† She completely and totally adored Steve and would pine for him if he was away.

As sad as I am to have lost this sweet soul, I know that Steve is completely cut up to have lost his loyal mate.

What do you call that space between the person you really are and the person you strive to be?

You know that space I mean, where you wish you didn’t care about things like tidy sock drawers but you actually do. Where you try to be spontaneous and devil-may-care but you actually feel boring and predictable. Where you try to laugh off silly things but inside you’re sulking and brooding. When you strive for generosity and endless acceptance of others but you’re feeling selfish and neglected. Where you aim for confident and sexy but you’re really insecure and feeling frumpish.*

How do you bridge that gap?

Is bridging that gap even a good idea? Or is it that very tension which keeps us on our toes, a psychological routine we run through everyday just to stay mentally fit? As if the effort of striving for personal improvement is enough to actually cause personal improvement. Is it like a horizon? Endlessly out of reach, even as we do make progress towards ever better versions of ourselves?

And what if that gap is too big and can never be bridged? Have we then been perpetuating an unrealistic (even if much hoped for) portrayal of ourselves? If the reality of our true nature is too far from the version of ourselves we try to be, then are we just lying to ourselves and worse, to others?

For some of us, isn’t this one of our greatest fears? That we’ll get ‘found out’? That our loved ones will gaze at us in mild horror when it suddenly dawns on them that we’re not that¬† interesting/generous/fill-in-your-appropriate-idealisation-here? That the person they fell in love with is deeply flawed and so very very human? (Suddenly becoming aware of what my friend calls ‘the fine print’)

Or is it in such moments of beautiful and painful vulnerability that we are being truly honest, bravely trusting others to really see us for all we are. A point of singularity where our authentic self is painfully aware of the distance to the horizon and for a brief moment, we are revealed. Instead of standing on one end of the bridge, we are in the middle, in the fog, in between one or the other.

Perhaps that is one of the best gifts we can give someone, our vulnerability, our moments where we are filled with fear.

Is that then what love is? To love another human being precisely for their very flaws, which they are painfully aware of and may valiantly be trying to overcome? To accept the fine print and more importantly, that bridge we all walk.

 

* I’m sure some of us have a smaller gap than others, but I would wager that most of us have some kind of authenticity gap. How many of us can be truly authentic at all times?