Okay, I’ve had a couple of rough Don days. And the truth is, even without grief, and all joking aside (for at least the next sentence), I often don’t trust people very much. Not just therapists. I mean, I never trust them. They think they can change me and that’s trouble from the start. But I also find that it doesn’t take much to put me in a defensive and self-protective stance, wondering what someone else is after, what they are trying to take from me that I don’t want to give and sometimes, when I feel really threatened by what someone wants or did or said, wondering if my sense of self can survive their anger when I say no.
This has not been a quality that has enhanced my relationships. In fact, everyone I’m currently close to has called me on it at one time or another. And I try. I try to remember who my people are when they’re being unskillful, when they’ve scared me or whatever. But it’s all that intimacy/struggle/angst and so uncomfortable and not fun.
So it seems incredibly important to note when other human beings do something kind of wonderful. Like tonight, in the acting class I teach, one of my students actually asked me how it would be for me if she, or any of the other students, auditioned for my play, one in which I’ll be acting.
I mean, she asked how I felt!?*!
Of course, my feelings are complicated. But I have never had a student ask before. It’s just kind of amazing that someone would actually think about me, and what might be hard for me or uncomfortable, how I might struggle with the boundaries. Which, in fact, I do, I have, I will continue to.
But then, these are the students that stayed after class the week that Don died and formed a line so everyone could hug me. One at a time. And mostly they really held me, tight. They weren’t form hugs. They were comfort at a time when comfort seemed nearly impossible.
I am holding that in my mind right now. I am letting them change my life. I am thinking that perhaps part of the reason my friendship with Don was so wonderful was actually because he started out as my student, and once we worked through the teacher/student thing (which took years to really get rid of), the foundation of me being my very best for him stayed as first trust. His trust in me. I learned to trust him more slowly, but I think he trusted me right away because he thought if I was that trustworthy as a teacher, I must be as a person. Good for both of us that he thought that.
I see now, of course, that he was my teacher, too. He taught me that I am worthy of the faith of others. He is my standard for how to treat other people and how to be treated.
And I think of my current students holding me, and I think, okay. I have been holding them since the day they walked in my door, and I will continue to do so.
Anyone in Wed/Sun Meisner, if you’re reading this, I am saying metta for you. May you all be well, may you all be happy, may you be safe and protected, may you be at peace with what is.
Which is just another way to say love.
Or thank you. Really. Thank you.