“….Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
        Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
        But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
        Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade…”

                                       Polonius, to his son, in “Hamlet”

More than wanting to be loved, I want to feel safe.

As kids our parents would urge to neither trust strangers nor believe everything heard. We were circled by a shield of family and a fortress of what I’d come to learn were their life-long friends. It was a world of illusion, but no disillusion. Everyone I knew was bankable, believable and…I felt safe.

That all changed, says Tom The Shrink, when our parents split. It was the beginning, says he, of my “abandonment issues.” It was also, he notes with irony, the genesis of my overwhelming desire to believe early and trust prematurely.

He told me that five years ago and I thought I got it. I didn’t though, and stumbled again, just this week. It wasn’t a movie deal this time, nor rooms in Vegas…but I hurt. As such, Wednesday, at a meeting, I shared.

“Give everyone the benefit of the doubt…” counseled Steve, “…and you’re just pissing up a rope.” “You, buddy, are always looking for a Hollywood ending.”

He made me think—my pal did. For a few days now I’ve studied the bricks and mortar of my support system. Fact is, I’m in a pretty safe place.

Blessed with a cadre, no a company of timeless friends and steadfast family, I watch them, time after time, year after year, prioritize ME over my feelings.
This is, I’ve concluded, not only a good thing, but all the protection I need.

I recalled, this week, a talk with Bobby and Stuart from my first days of sobriety. We were speaking of a girl I’d been dating, (the one Fenton called “Fatal Attraction”).

“Now, B, you’re not going to drink over this?” Snyder asked. Stuey nodded assurance: “He’ll be fine.” Neither offended by Bob nor threatened by the candor, I knew well they’d never hurt me.

I thought also, of playing poker with Walt…and the times he’d called me on poor play, questioned my illogic and taught me with caring critique.

And, yes…Aunt Helen. I paused on her too. She’d ripped me a new one just recently….with love:

“Why are you wearing a hat?” I was asked.
“I’m doing a show and had to have my head shaved.”

Not once did she ask to see my dome. Not even curious. Instead, came her instant rejoinder:

“How is it you’ll wear a cap in summer but in the winter, when you always catch colds, you refuse? What’s wrong with you?”

Say what you want about the lady, but, (as my father would say), “She’d never give you a bum steer.”

My world is full Bobby’s, Walt’s and Aunt Helens… of blessings. I need to think of that, to be grateful when, as this week, I skin my knee.

Scars heal. Even unnecessary ones. In the meantime, I’ll take a step back, be less willing to believe all I hear, and, above all else….listen with my eyes.

3 Responses to “A MATTER OF TRUST”

  1. Albert Einstein says:

    It has been scientifically studied with double blind test groups and there was no difference found in the rate of infection with cold viruses when the study groups were exposed to cold or heat via different methods.

    Please advise your Aunt that she should not practice medicine without a license.

  2. ABL says:

    Hope I’m in that cadre considered good friends… You, my friend, are in mine.

  3. Up From Dysfunction says:

    Alice, if you ever have another 60th birthday party and I’m not under a vow of silence…I would tell you how much I cherish our friendship.

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