He's holding me.
I'm holding him.
He wanted to kiss me.
I told him 'no'.
I hurt him.
He laid his heart open and I turned him away.
He spoke his truth and I rejected it.
I rejected him.
He dared to do the the thing that few people dare to do.
He dared to go first.
But I couldn't give him what he wanted. Because it wasn't true for me.
He began to cry.
So did I.
And then I moved forward. I wanted to comfort him. To show him that it was ok.
And so we found ourselves here.
He's holding me.
I'm holding him.
He dares again to speak the truth of this moment.
"You don't want me near you", he says.
Agree with him. That would be the easiest thing. Just agree with him and be done with it.
Instead, I let out a big sigh.
"Leah, what's that big sigh about? Don't sigh your life away!"
It's our acting teacher, watching from the sidelines.
He knows instinctively what my sigh means. He knows that it's a lie. An attempt to avoid the truth. To side step it. To not be in the discomfort.
But he's right.
There is so much weakness in that sigh. It's an avoidance of life. It's an avoidance of discomfort, yes, but it's also an avoidance of the possibilities that might be offered up to me if I dare to go through it.
The sigh has been my protection for so long.
Instead of speaking my truth, I sigh it away, too scared of what might happen if I let it out. I let the moment pass. And as I let the moment pass I let my life pass too. One sigh after another. All the time avoiding going first. All the time avoiding being in the discomfort of the truth of the moment.
Life slips by this way.
My partner says it again:
"You don't want me near you."
And this time I find it. The place inside me that has the courage to be here, in this moment, with him. And to say what's real.
"I do want you near me."
"You do want me near you", he echoes back to me.
"I do want you near me." My voice breaks.
"You do want me near you." His voice breaks too.
And it's true. It's what I want. I may not want him to kiss me: that's not the way I feel. But I want to be close to another human being. I want to feel that connection. That honesty. That truth between us.
And just like that our tears and sadness turn to laughter and we hold each other tight.
I'm getting better at this. In real life, I mean.
Speaking it out instead of swallowing it down. Out instead of in. The truth. My truth. Daring to go first. Not allowing myself to sigh my life away.
Daring is difficult, because I don't always get what I want. Sometimes I'm rejected, too.
But sometimes I dare and win. Sometimes I dare to say "I want to be near you" and I get the warmth and comfort of a few moments of real connection with another beating heart.
No more sighing.
No more sighing my life away.
Instead, a willingness to say it out loud. Whatever 'it' may be.
And then to find out...
Where it will lead.
How to get anything you want...
1. Dare to go first. Take a risk.
Joseph Campbell writes:
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
And Anais Nin puts it like this:
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
To get what you want, dare to go first. Take a risk.
2. Speak your truth. Have the courage to ask for what you want.
Human beings are crazy!
We know what we want and then complain when we don't have it. But when we look to see whether we've actually explicitly asked for what we want, the answer is most often 'no.'
We want other people to know what we want so that we don't have to ask. Asking outright for what we want is hard. It's uncomfortable. So instead we dodge the truth, dropping vague hints in the hope that someone will notice.
But they don't. They don't notice. Because people are people, not psychics.
And then we get miserable and angry and frustrated because we're not getting what we wanted.
So the solution is simple, really.
Find the courage to ask for what you want. Be specific. Be explicit. Tweet that.
Yesterday I got an email from a friend who works as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Oppo, a startup ice-cream company. They recently entered the Pitch to Rich competition (a competition for new businesses to pitch their idea to Sir Richard Branson and win a sum of money to plough into their marketing campaign.)
They're down to the last 10 from over 2,500 entries and she was writing with a very specific request.
"Please take 20 seconds to vote for us."
And of course, I did.
It's simple. Unless people know what you want, it's impossible for them to give it to you.
3. Don't let failure stop you trying again.
Sometimes you won't get what you want. Sometimes you'll want to kiss someone and they'll reject you. Sometimes you'll make a proposal to a client and they'll reject you too. Sometimes you'll ask fifty people to give you what you want and they'll all turn you away.
But don't let that stop you.
Fifty one might give you everything you want and more.