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  • Writer's pictureAlice Wyatt

The Gift of Knowing

I ask, “Why do you accompany me to burlesque shows, pleasure mapping workshops, poetry readings, and yoga classes." His answer?

“I like to be with you. I would rather be with you doing something that is not really my thing, than doing something I love, by myself.” This answer feels unbelievable. I mean, I know me. I am not really that great. A bit crabby, very opinionated, I need coffee in the morning to be human. When my blood sugar drops, I am hateful. I can’t be too cold or too hot. Don’t boss me! is a common refrain. When I am impatient don’t you dare be impatient back! I was born stubborn. A propensity for the dramatic flows through my veins. I am a black hole of insecurity. He knows all of this and more.

Last week I stood in a Cabelas parking lot in El Paso, Texas. I was crying. It was raining. I stood in that very spot in June 2019. A brief stop on the way to the dermatologist for my MOHS skin cancer surgery. A surgery creating a nickel sized hole in my nose. I needed thirty odd stitches to pull my face back together. A surgery I did not know would be a tipping point in my 32 year marriage.

I had to face the fear of my skin cancer surgery. “What if I am scarred for life? What if my face is no longer my face? What if…. what if…. what if…?” When you face one overwhelming fear, the next has less power. My marriage was crushing the life out of me. My fear of making the wrong decision was holding me hostage. No more. I asked for a divorce with my face swathed in gauze, my eyes black and blue, not daring to shed tears because crying caused intense agony. I left for nine long months. My face healed, my heart healed. Both carry scars from that traumatizing time, but I am healed.

Why am I still crying three years later? The juxtaposition, I suppose. Three years, same parking lot, same man opening the car door for me, leaning across the console to give me a kiss, driving with his hand comfortably on my thigh. Three years, two different Alices.

You don’t know what you don’t know. I love this phrase. So simple but containing so much mercy and grace. I didn’t know the depth of this man’s love for me. For many reasons, my heart had no receptors. His love had no place to attach. I felt so alone, and empty, and hungry, despite having things everyone said should bring happiness.

When I left, I gave myself permission to follow my heart, no matter where it led. For the first time ever, I made decisions without attaching moral judgement. I let myself out of a box constructed by my faith, upbringing, and fear. I wonder… became the constant question.

Yet every new feeling, every adventure, self-discovery, lightbulb moment I experienced, I wanted to share it with him. Lots of times I did. He always answered my texts, my phone calls. His response was consistent. “I am so proud of you. You are discovering things about yourself I have always known. I love you. I am so, so, so very sad.”

I remember being in a beautiful, happy place. A place I had wanted to be. I waited until I was alone, then crying uncontrollably, thought, “I just want to be HOME.” Knowing home was not a place but a person, a person I could not live with and be the woman I wanted to be. Even so, I called HOME. HOME answered. When I heard his voice, I cried and cried and cried and because he couldn’t hold me, he held the phone. He knew where I was, he knew who I was with, and yet he held the phone, absorbing my grief while holding his own in check.

You don’t know what you don’t know until you do. Knowing takes time. I was given the gift of time. Nine months is an eternity to hold space for someone in your broken heart. He gave me time to know what I needed and why I needed it, to know I had most of what I needed all along. It was a process that couldn’t be rushed. I had to undo much of what I believed. Dissecting unhealthy thought patterns is exhausting. Justifying your actions to those you love is draining. Mustering confidence for the future when you have no plan feels insane.

So here I am three years later, in a wet parking lot with wet cheeks, triggered by a fear echo. Can someone really, truly know me and still love me? Of course they can. God loves me. I finally love me. And this man loves me too. His tender kisses erasing my tears are all the knowing I need.

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Rebecca Lyons
Rebecca Lyons
Mar 12, 2023

I’m honored to have witnessed this process of you finding and embracing YOU. The conversations we had and your tenacious bravery were a wonder to behold. And we all cheered when we heard your journey led you back to Michael. A love story that brightens all it touches.

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