textile design, 1988, herringbone silk

I spent last Sunday with a charming man.

We had never spent an afternoon together so there was some trepidation on both our parts, I’d guess.

Me, because I wanted to somehow take the charge out of the ‘disability- thing’ and smooth out the rough edges a bit so we could concentrate on beginning to ‘learn’ one another.

He, because being a gentleman, he wanted to make sure I was ok and comfortable and safe.

Before we even went out he said: “You have to teach me how to be with you.”

I LOVED that forthrightness and clarity.

It gave me an invitation to match him there..

Meaning that I felt much less awkward in orchestrating my needs.

I know that a huge stumbling block in relationship to one with disability is whether the person feels patronized by offers of assistance.

If I help you , will you feel even MORE vulnerable? kind of thing.

People are generally kind of heart in my experience and just need a wee bit of a ‘go ahead’ from me to step into the hero’s role.

I give the green light by smiling. Or meeting their eyes with warmth. Or asking for help so they don’t even have to go to that weird place of wondering.

Sometimes, in new situations like on our date, I get in a muddle.

We had gone for a gorgeous drive through winter-esque New Mexico with her inky blue sky and blonde grasses and rust,purple,red edges of creeks easing through pastureland.

He took me to meet some of his good friends whom I really liked.

We sat around a big round table piled with books of art and poetry.

And we drank tequila.

Just a little bit.

On the way out, I had to negotiate three flagstone steps without a railing to steady me.

My date wanted to help and I found that I have been negotiating the world solo for so damn long that I didn’t even know where to grab or what to do to steady myself.

He says: “You aren’t using me..” as we both laughed nervously as I stumbled and lost all equilibrium but somehow steadied myself in the end.


I passed it off as the tequila.

But really… it has to do with too long spent reaching INSIDE myself for strength instead of taking the chance to hone the trust it takes to reach for another with the expectation they’ll be there.

Fact is: sometimes they’ll be there,

And sometimes not.

But what a sorry life it would be to withdraw the reach altogether.


6 Responses to “Tequila”

  1. Judy on December 8th, 2010

    “You have to teach me how to be with you.”

    Wow and wow and wow. I can’t know for sure from a distance, but he sounds like a lovely person.

  2. Pam on December 8th, 2010

    Ahhh, tequila and a good man…

  3. Laura Hegfield on December 8th, 2010

    Cathy I’m so happy you went out and had fun and are continuing to learn to trust…I think sometimes that is one of our main tasks here as earth beings…learning to trust…NOT a simple thing…learning to trust other people is hard…but learning to trust ourselves is harder for most people..YOU are so fiercely, brilliantly, strong and independent…this is your trust lesson…trusting OTHERS…

    today was foolish and got out of the tub by myself when my husband was downstairs…and I was/am fine…first time in at least 3 months…but I was stubborn and trusted myself a little too much…could have gotten hurt…I was so impatient, didn’t want to bother him, wanted to do it myself today…and I did and I’m fine…but patience…the other big lesson to learn here on earth.

    MS is a powerful teacher for both of these soul qualities.

  4. Muff on December 8th, 2010

    Aren’t people like that just wonderful?! He allowed you your independence, yet he also let you know he was there if you needed him. That’s so great. Please let us know if there are any more meetings with Mr. Right!!

  5. Carol S. on December 8th, 2010

    He does sound like a good guy, and it sounded like an enchanting drive…what a night. And of course, I like tequilla. Thanks for sharing this story.

  6. Carol Atwn on December 12th, 2010


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