With Me Not For Me

Holding Hands by Waithamai

You took every bit of crazy or anxiety or worry or stupid that I threw at you and you caught it. That’s all. You didn’t try to fix it or reshape it or turn it into something else. You held my vulnerabilities in your hands and sat down next to me. When you thought I was ready, you asked me to tell you about them.

You looked at the chaotic parts and told me I was beautiful.

You sat with me in the mess and fear and questions, just watching until I was ready to get up. You didn’t try to help me up when you thought it was time. You waited until I was ready and then stood by my side. Out of the dark we walked together – or waited if all I could do was stand for now. You never pushed. You never prodded. You let me be – my own person with my own timing.

That scared me at first.
Why are you not helping me up when I fall? Do you not care??
Why would you let me say all those terrible things? Do you see me as a horrible person??
Why are you just looking at me and nodding when I tell you how messed up my head feels? Do you think I’m crazy??

When I felt fear, you stood in bravery with me – not for me. You did not come to rescue me. You did not stand to fight a battle on my behalf. You stayed at my side waiting for me to welcome you in, to ask when I wanted a place to rest or a partner to take up arms with me.

When I felt strong, you cheered in pride with me – not for me. You did not see me as a fragile thing who needed boosting. You hold me as an equal, deserving of my accomplishments and never surprised when I achieve them.

You reached down and threw your own collection of crazy and anxiety and worry and stupid at me, waiting for me to run away. But I caught it. That’s all. I didn’t try to fix it or reshape it or turn it into something else. I cradled your vulnerabilities in my hands and sat down next to you. When you were ready, you told me more.

I saw your chaotic and called you beautiful.

Sometimes it was my turn to sit with you, letting you be as you needed to be, with your own timing. My hand always ready to take yours and walk on.

That scared me at first.
Why are you not asking for help? Do you not believe in me??
Why would you tell me all the things you don’t like about yourself? Do you not want me to stay close??
Why are you not leading the way? Do you not trust me to follow??

But now I see it differently. I understand what it means to be a whole person, emancipated from any other, and still dedicated to a partnership.

It is uplifting to surround ourselves with those who believe in us, especially when our own vision is blurred.
It is refreshing to find the one who fills this roll so easily, especially when you weren’t looking.
It’s comforting to settle into an easy stride with someone you trust to experience life with you, especially when it all once felt unfamiliar.

It is not about finding someone to give false hopes. It is not about finding someone to take on the world while we wait for things to get better. It is about finding an equal to stand with you – arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder. We will share this journey together.

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