Relationships: Give and Take

As the words came out of her mouth, I gave her a quizzical look. Did she just say what I think she said? We were talking about my baby turning 5 years old next week and she mentioned that Barbra Streisand sang a song about turning 5.
Um, yeah. I know. I know all about it. You don’t need to tell me about Barbra. I know about Barbra.

The more I thought about that exchange, the more I wondered, how much does she really know me? As my therapist, she knows things about me I wouldn’t share with anyone else. She has truly seen me at my worst. She knows my character, what can set me off and my work ethic. This made me wonder, how much can we really know someone else?

I have many likes and dislikes in relation to many things. How can an other know all of the intricate details of these likes and dislikes? This may be silly and trite but is it really necessary for her to know about my love of Barbra, her music, movies, etc.? Maybe not, but at the same time, it is a piece of who I am. When I drive across state lines on my way to see her, I am belting out a tune by Barbra and am in my favorite place in my head. Is this important information to convey? I think it is.

We cannot fully know someone, can’t walk in her shoes, feel what she feels. What we can do is inform. Provide insights to others in your life and describe your experiences. This is giving a gift to that person in your life. You are trusting that person to hear what you have to share and hopefully reflect back some interest and curiosity.

I think we should remind ourselves that we have these pieces that may not be open to others, even when we assume they are. I made an assumption that after a 20-year relationship that this piece of me was already known, but I was wrong. I don’t view this as a negative thing or a break in our relationship. On the contrary, here is a piece of me that is fun, interesting and entertaining. What a great thing to share with someone years into a relationship, especially when the focus has been on a horrible illness.


Some Wednesday Lightness: My History with Barbra

At the young age of 18, I became a true Barbra fan. That’s Barbra Streisand. After viewing The Prince of Tides, I was hooked. I fell in love with her music and her films and did my research about her, as a person. I was instantly impressed with her charitable giving and felt her feminist activism was powerful.
When I went to college in New York City, it was important for me to go by the sites that she had been to and I would frequently experience New York while she sang into my earphones as I walked down Broadway. 
When I learned she would be filming a movie on my college campus, I knew I needed to be a part of it. I was able to sign up to be an extra and was lucky enough to get called. In the weeks leading up to my film date, I would see her on campus and get very excited. I so wanted to talk to her and tell her what a positive influence she was for me. I really just wanted to talk about anything with her, I didn’t care about the subject. I wanted to tell her how I didn’t realize how short she was and on days when she was not filming scenes herself, she looked so casual and comfortable. But, I remained quiet.
The big day came and I wore all brown. We were told not to wear black but to wear neutral colors. I was given a pink scarf to wear by wardrobe and I was ready to go. The scene is toward the end of the movie when Barbra is walking through campus with Pierce Brosnan. I am seen for a split second. Filming that one scene took several hours and was a very cool experience. I was asked to stay while they filmed another scene, indoors, but was not used. I was able to watch the process and really appreciate the work.
At the end of the night (after 12 hours of work) I knew what I had to do. As I got my stuff together, most of the extras had left, probably needing to return to their dorms to study. I took a chance and waited by the front door of the building we were in. I heard someone yell, “Rose is coming,” and knowing that was Barbra’s character’s name in the film that Barbra was coming downstairs. I waited. 
As she walked past me, this was the interaction:
Me: “Barbra?”
Barbra: “Yes.”
Me: “I really enjoyed watching you work today.”
Barbra (smiling): “Thank you.”
Cue her bodyguard who pushed me away from her…
And with that, I walked to my dorm as tears began to flow down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed by the entire experience, but the fact that I was able to have a brief conversation with her sealed the deal for me. I was 20 years old and I felt as if I had lived a dream.
Fast forward 20 years and I am now living a dream with my husband and daughter. I do feel as if Barbra has been there through good times and bad with me. Her music can be haunting and uplifting, depending on my needs. Her films are all wonderful and I highly recommend the little known, Up the Sandbox. My love of Barbra will continue and is now shared with my daughter. 
And really, there is nothing like hearing your 4 year old daughter sing, A Quiet Thing/There Won’t be Trumpets at the top of her lungs while riding to preschool in the morning.