The Safe Ones

Are you safe?
Can I be seen?
Can I speak?
Is it okay if I risk being myself?

If I’m frustrated, will you roll your eyes? Will you tell me I’m making a big deal of nothing? Will you say I’m being silly? If I’m upset, will you see a complainer? Will you look down on me for not being more positive? And if I’m sad, will you say it’s not as bad as I think and remind me to be grateful for all that I have? If I’m depressed, if I can’t get out of bed, go for a walk, if I can’t eat or shower, will you say it’s all in my head? Will you tell me to snap out of it? If I’m anxious, will you tell me to get through it? Get out of my comfort zone? If I share accomplishment, will you downplay it? Will you tell me how I could do better? How others already have?

If I confess, how will you respond? Will you look at my scars and bruises with disgust? Will you be shocked? Ask how I could do such a thing? Will you shame me? If I break, what will you do? Will it terrify you if I lose control? If I cry or yell or swear? If I shutdown, will you leave me? If all of my words abandon me in the moment, will you think I’ve given up? Will you think that you’ve won an argument? That I have nothing more to say? If I’m angry or bitter, will you look down on me? Will you tell me it’s wrong to feel that way? That I need to forgive? Will you point out my flaws? Tell me to be more patient, show more grace, have more self-control? If I apologize, will you actually forgive me? Or will you hold that grudge? If I admit that I was wrong, will you rejoice and hold it over me?

Will you understand when I’m uncomfortable? Is it okay that I can’t pick up the phone? Are you okay if writing is the best way for me to express myself? Will you be okay if I can’t fit in? If I’m different, will you try to fix me? Will you give up on me if I don’t change? If I say something wrong, will you hate me? If I ask questions, will you think I’m crazy? If I challenge things, will you see an instigator? If I won’t fall into line, will you view me as belligerent? If I disagree, will you walk away? Will you ignore the things in me that make you uncomfortable? Will you refuse to acknowledge the things that set me apart? Do I make you cringe sometimes?

Can you reassure me, more times that you feel it’s necessary, that you love me? That you care? Can you remind me that I’m a good person? A good spouse, son or daughter, sibling, aunt or uncle, parent, coworker, employee, teacher? A good Christian? A good friend? Can we challenge each other on our good days while we learn how to handle the bad? Can we let go of the need to fix one another? Can we meet each other where we’re at? Can we ask questions? Can we set healthy boundaries? Can we practice self-care while enjoying the benefits of our relationship?

Can I trust you to keep my secrets? Not to run and tell unsafe people all about me? Can you give me advice if I ask? Can you hold back if I don’t? Or at least ask permission before giving it? If I tell you that I need you, will you brush it off until I stop asking? Can you sit with me, in all of my complexity? Will you be strong enough, at peace enough, to endure the silence? If I’m lonely, will you hug me? If you hug me, can it be a real hug? Can you squeeze my soul back into my body so I can feel again? Will you be upset if I can’t be touched? Is my push and pull too much for you? Is my humanity too much? Will you tell me if it’s too much today? Can you make your boundaries known?

Are you safe?

As much as I value our relationship, I will always work to have more than just one safe person. It’s okay if you don’t respond right away, if you take a few days to recharge. It’s okay if everything seems too much right now. I love your questions and the way you think. It’s okay if your different from me or anyone else. It’s okay to cry or swear, be angry or sad or bitter. I’m here and I care. I want to applaud even your smallest accomplishments and I know that your hard days are darker than I’ll ever know. I won’t look down on you for being human. I will always try my best to understand. I don’t want to shy away from your pain. I want to walk with you through your struggles. I want to laugh with you. I want to enjoy life in the simplest ways possible. I’ll hug you, if it’ll help. I’ll listen. I’ll hold space for you. I’ll try to ask if you want advice before I give it. I’ll keep your secrets. I’ll reassure you. I’ll try to be honest and open with you. I’ll make my healthy boundaries known and I’ll try my hardest to be consistent. I want you to feel safe, to feel seen and heard. I want to help in a way that doesn’t hurt.

Do you know that I want to be safe for you, too?

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