As I sit in the quiet of my own thoughts, I am reminded of one of my best practices, “Be your own best friend.” I love to sit on the couch before the house wakens and watch the sun come up. The sky changes hues, the clouds shift, and the world comes alive.
There is no one else I would rather be with in these moments than my self. We sit, the two of us, in our honesty and peace, and share a steaming cup of coffee, perhaps with cinnamon or cream.
“How delicious,” I say, as the warmth fills my chest.
I remember the week, with its lists and rush and habitual planning. I wince. “Remember what I said to that guy at work?” My self smiles, and remembers. “He knows you didn’t mean it like that,” she says. “You probably didn’t sound as crazy as you think you did.”
My self is practical, and forgiving. And she’s right. The guy probably doesn’t even remember what I said, much less how I said it. I reach for a doughnut hole that Bubba brought home the day before. It smells delicious and pairs well with the coffee. My self smiles. “Don’t forget how well you’ve been taking care of yourself.” I haven’t forgotten, and I promise my self that I will savor it and eat something healthier later.
The dog lays her warm head on my knee. Her brown eyes are irresistible. I trace her forehead with my fingertips. The sky is beginning to lighten. The clouds are purple-grey.
Funny stories from the week return. Bubba using foreign accents just to hear me laugh. A coworker teasing me on the phone. My self chuckles, and says, “What would it be like to see nothing humorous in the world?” For a moment, I feel guilty. “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that I shouldn’t make idle fun at every turn.” My self thinks this over for a moment and replies, “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that one should find humor where one can.”
We balance each other. Me, putting my best foot forward in the world, and my self justifying the way I do it. She eases my guilt, my shame, my embarrassment.
Blue is beginning to break through the clouds. White, fluffy puffs race across my window, right to left. Silhouetted branches dance in the wind. Cars begin to move on the street. Voices. A stirring from the bedroom.
“I could take a walk. You know . . . get a few steps in before I start the day.”
My self considers this. “I’ve been looking forward to this time all week. The peace and quiet. Just the two of us.” We guard this tranquility jealously. I tuck my cold toes under my leg.
“We have all day to get more steps. We can go to the dog park later,” I say. She smiles.
“I’m really happy with how my resume turned out.”
“You did a nice job.”
“I hope they think so. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
“Nor I without you.”
I think about how far we’ve come, my best friend and I. She isn’t always my best friend. At times she is my own worst enemy, letting anxiety and fear mushroom to the surface. But for all the times I’ve despised her, she is the only one who is with me every minute of every day. When it seems the world is against me, she is there still. When I’m in a crowd, or on stage, or in the dark, she abides.
Sometimes I see her looking back at me from the mirror. If I could remember when I was a baby, I would remember loving seeing her there. Babies gaze into mirrors, laugh at them, touch them, and sometimes try to kiss them. When does that end? Is it with our first bad haircut? Our first pimple?
There is so much we share that the world will never know. A random act of kindness is made more precious by keeping it between the two of us. She is the only one I can trust with wicked gossip or spoken confidentialities. My self even holds secrets from me too, revealing them only when I am ready to know — she can be very sly!
We celebrate together. We never wait for others to acknowledge our birthday. If she wants a party, I plan it! If I want a special meal, she comes up with a menu! If we want a gift, we go shopping! No one knows how I want to celebrate better than my self, so why would I place that expectation on anyone else?
I value this relationship I have with my self, and make time for us. It requires life to slow down. It necessitates waiting and listening until her voice is clear. It takes being honest with my self and accepting what she says with love and understanding.
The dog’s wagging tail tells me that Bubba is waking. My cup is cold and empty. Heavy blue November clouds now hang in the sky. Our quiet time is coming to a close.
I reach for another doughnut hole and my self says nothing, but I know she’s thinking it.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“You didn’t have to.”
It’s true. Best friends don’t have to say anything. They just know.
Peace . . .