I grew up with the feeling that loyalty was for chumps. No seriously. Being loyal was the surest way to get the shit kicked out of you. Loyalty was for sidekicks who always end up dead. Loyalty was for ex-wives left with four children. Loyalty was for second in command types that somehow got the shaft at the end of the day. In the head of my 10 year old self there was a line drawn between those who were loyal and those who benefited from other people’s loyalty. I didn’t like either side of the coin, so, my gut reaction was to not play that game. Don’t offer it, don’t expect it. Work without it. I embraced an insubordinate nature wholeheartedly. It’s easy to do: be strong, be direct, be gracious, be unavailable.
But… I am loyal. It is part of my being. I don’t know what to do with it. I swear I’m looking for an anvil to drop on me any second now. Loyalty is when I let someone in under my armor and feel them rest against my bare skin. Loyalty comes when I don’t give up on someone. Loyalty is when I believe in someone when maybe at that moment they can’t believe in themselves. It happens. It has happened. It will continue to happen, I hope.
And I value the loyalty of others. I appreciate the gift that they are offering. It comes in many forms. When they are honest with me, when they set aside time for me, when they share a limited resource of theirs with me, that is loyalty.
The exchange of that feeling is powerful. You look a person in the eye, in the heart, and in the plainest of terms, you know they got you, and you’ve got them. There is a lot of freedom in true loyalty. We can be such mutable creatures. Being loyal is the opposite of being controlling. “I got you, now what are you going to grow into?” Is a question I feel like I ask a lot of my closest friends, because with a person like me as your back up, you better do something fucking impressive. No pressure or anything, I’m just sayin.
And my loved ones say it to me too. Over and over. I got you, now what are you going to do with it?