I was thinking about softness, and how it changes your vibe. We’re all very smart, very clever, very defended. We don’t want anyone to see how films about animals make us cry, or our scrap booking, or all the mistakes we made and continue to make around everything in life. We don’t want anyone to see that we’re lonely, or frightened, or exuberant about the simplest things. We don’t want anyone to see us being childlike and hopeful. So we cultivate our intellect, our opinions, our thoughts on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Today I was in the kitchen eating what I’d cooked, when my husband walked in. I have a horrible history of burning food. There was the time several months ago when I retreated to the microwave, defeated, afraid my absent-mindedness would burn the house down (talk about repressed rage). In the last few weeks I’ve been trying the stove again – scheduling cooking time, staying put in the kitchen, turning on the timer, sharpening my attention, and not burning anything! I’m cured! I’m a cook! I’m not a menace, I can do this! And the ground turkey I cooked in the pan smelled very nice on my plate. And he says, alarm and accusation in his voice, “Did you burn something?”
“No!” I look up at him in shock.
“It smells like you burned something. Something’s burned.” and he walks into the kitchen.
“No, no!” I defend, going for the pan, picking it up to show him, feeling five years old and incompetent. “It’s just nicely brown, see?” I say forcefully, totally righteously. It’s his nose that’s wrong.
“Well, it smells like something’s burned.”
All of a sudden I get what I really feel. Yes, I’m five. I screw up my face and do big time mock crying and whining. “But I didn’t burn it!” I wail. “I didn’t….” and I go all gooey, pan in my hand, miserable. And in that second, my husband does a 180. His eyes go deep and very blue-green, he smiles so fast I’m taken aback, and he comes towards me, arms around me, “Ohhhhhhh,” he says. And that’s the end of it.
“So, how’s your day?” he skips right to his next thought, and he’s standing right up against me, and we’re connected, and I leap from five-year-old to grownup, from lump to goddess. Long ago, whenever this happened, I used to think it was because he was competitive and didn’t want me to be big. I thought he liked me girly and the loser at chess and gin rummy. I thought he was scared of my fortitude. Now I know that’s not it at all.
He just likes me better soft. He likes me better where I am than where I wish I was. He likes me better human than mistake-proof. And by liking me better this way, he encourages me to rise to the ultimate test of any relationship: He inspires me to say that I like myself best when I’m with him.