Alright, so as some of you may or may not know. I’m a huge fan of transformation of all kinds. But especially human transformation. That is probably why, as an actor, I’m drawn to character roles. The more out there the better. But as a result of my fascination with transformation, I love love love love love love love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE make-over shows. I do. I wouldn’t use the word addicted cause that makes it sound like I plan my life around them. I don’t. But if I’m home and the TV is on and one is on, I’ll watch it. “Redo My Wardrobe”, “What Not To Wear”, “Vanity Insanity”, “The Biggest Loser”. I do not discriminate because I love the idea of people becoming something more than they thought they were. And I’m fascinated by what that does to them. And I’m a big fan of what a make-over can do for someone. I don’t necessarily mean surgical. (That gets much more complicated psychologically) But even a change of wardrobe can make people realize they are worth more to themselves.
I saw a show this morning. It was an English (England) version of one of those shows and I was so touched, it actually had me a little teary. A couple had been married for 14 years. The marriage had fallen on rocky times and they were thinking of separating. Then a year and a half ago, they wife got breast cancer and they decided to stay together while she went through it. She ended up having to have a single mastectomy. She had not been intimate with her husband for year. In fact, she hadn’t let him see her naked for a year. The two female hosts did some emotional therapy with them and then some retail therapy with them and made them over. Now there where two things that happened that moved me. One was at the end when they couple had the beauty make-overs – hair, he shaved, new smart wardrobe – and then saw each other for the first time in two days. It was like you saw them fall in love again and the hosts had brought their families and they renewed their wedding vows. What was really heart-bursting was how excited the husband was and how much he was looking forward to getting to know his wife all over again. (He was clearly not that type at the top of the show)
The second moment happened earlier when the hosts had the two of them go behind a screen and get naked (I know, welcome to television) and they had to talk about what they liked about each other’s bodies. Now the husband got totally naked and the wife got down to her bra – she still couldn’t show the scar to him. As they started to talk about each other’s bodies, it was so gentle and sweet. Clearly they hadn’t talked to each other this tenderly in awhile. The husband convinced her that he was ready to see her scar and he was so loving and respectful, re-winning her trust, that she showed him and all he could say was how she was just as beautiful to him as she had always been . . . . and I lost it. It was such a small moment but it was huge. It meant the continuation of their marriage, the renewal of their trust in each other.
It got me thinking about how things can go awry when couples stopping making the other person important. I’ve never really been much of a relationship person, although I’ve been in a few. But the honesty that is required must be unrelenting. It’s so easy to start keeping little things from each other and then it’s easier to keep big things. And life can be so fragile sometimes. There is so much to rejoice in. And if you have someone who is a partner on the journey that makes you happy, who is your safe harbour, who has your back and will let you grow and change and discover the world and want to discover it with you, that is something that must be cherished and guarded and worked on. I see couples who get complacent and start to make assumptions about each other; taking each other for granted. I really do think that is the beginning of the end.
My best friend, Krista (best friend is an understatement – she is my soul-mate) and I have known each other for 24 years and been best friends for 23 of those. I never have a doubt that she is there for me. That I can be whatever and whoever I need to be and she is still going to be a safe place. With no judgement, no conditions, no comparisons. It’s a relationship I treasure more than almost anything else in the world. I’ve always believed intimate relationships have to be the same way. And it shouldn’t take a near-death experience to remind us of that.
So if you haven’t already today, tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t just assume they know. Actually say the words. And watch their faces light up and/or listen to the joy in their voices when they respond. That outcome should be the goal of every day.
Be well, y’all.