He throws out a piece of advice, on the heels of a casual “As the person who knows you best…” and I can’t help but be offended, not by his advice, but by his nonchalantness. The person who knows me best? As if it’s that simple, that uncomplicated. As if it’s an easy feat to accomplish. And I put up no defense. Why? Why defend yourself against the truth? How would you even begin?
If I am an onion, with skin, and layers, that go all the way down to the bulb, would I not be better recognized by the one who took the time to peel it all away…layer by layer? Until I was exposed? Complications being tossed to and fro. And what about the ones who come, take a knife at you, cut you down the middle and peer at all the layers that lay beneath you, in absolute symmetry. Do they see you for who you are? Perhaps. But do they recognize the reasons why, and where it stems from? Do they possess the ability to take that bulb, and plant it beneath the soil? To take you apart only to plant you on fertile ground, and watch you blossom, and grow….into a better, more beautiful, more refined, more flavorful ‘onion’…?
So why is it, I wonder, that the ones who know you best have seen you at your worst. Not once, not twice, not just “over the years”…but repeatedly, day in and day out. The ones who are exposed to every fiber of an existence that cannot be exposed or held out so readily to the masses of the world. Funny. Funny how hard we are on ourselves when we are in a constant pursuit of evolution, self-improvement, betterment. It’s amazing how hard we can be on ourselves. But the true value of that experience lies in knowing that we fully appreciate our abilities, embrace our faults, and accept that we can evolve past them. At least that is what inspires us to take a noble stance on it.
And so they say…they say that half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb about. Interesting. Right? There’s a rare sophistication in realizing that the more you know, the less you need to show. It’s a rare art, to admit the things we suck at… So when he looks at me and prefaces his solid, resonating advice with “As the one who knows you best…” I want to walk away. I want to say “you don’t”. And no matter how many times we’ve argued the point, it is impossible to deny that this is why he is such a meaningful variable in the process of my evolution. This is the reason why he and I possess the experience of more than a decade of admitting what we don’t know and the wealth of sharing what we have understood. This is what allows us to see the world from multiple perspectives.
Our opinions collide and complement one another on the truest of virtues. Ethics, morality… But then come the why’s. The details about the why’s of attitudes, behavior, habits. And the debates escalate. But all it does, in the end, is allow us to be less ‘myopic’…less narrow-minded. It hurts sometimes to expand our way of thinking, to account for objectivity and subjectivity from the people who observe us, analyze us, and know us well…or in this case, “the best”…
So does it terrify me that he says it so casually? Does it bother me that he says it so nonchalantly? He’s the one who possesses the burden of knowing my heart and mind in a way he claims others cannot. The weight is his to carry…
When all is said and done, he’s challenged me to be the person I was meant to become. The person I’m still becoming. And who better to do that…than “the one who knows you best”?