You can’t knock me off my pedestal. And I can’t knock you off yours. Because there is no pedestal. Not the kind that makes me higher than you or you higher than me.
Not the kind where I look down on you or you look up at me. Where I look up at you or you look down on me. Only the kind where we look across at each other. Our eyes meet. We connect. I am not better than you, wiser than you or stronger than you. You are everything that I am and I am everything that you are. We breathe. We love. We live. We’re here together.
I’ve looked up to my parents. To friends. To people who inspire me. But I don’t need to idolise anybody anymore.
I’ve always put my dad on a pedestal. He is a farmer who loves trees. He built our family house. He is the kindest man I know. My mum was working so he was there every day after school. He cooked dinner and grew sunflowers and rode a tractor. To me, he could fix anything that was broken and build whatever he put his mind to. In my eyes, he could do no wrong.
He is still there for me in so many ways and I care about him more than ever. But it’s time he came off the pedestal. I don’t need to put anybody up there anymore.
There is no reason to put you on a pedestal. Why would I raise you up without raising myself up? If I look up at you then I lose my balance and if I look down at you I lose my balance. I’ve done it before and it has only made me fall down.
A Mask of Perfection
You are someone I see every day or someone I’ve never met. My boss, my lover, a friend, my parents, someone I admire from afar. It’s ok for me to be inspired by you but not to idolise you. What happens when I pick you up and place you on a pedestal? Not face to face, not heart to heart. I can’t truly connect with you if we’re not on the same level.
I take away your chance to be authentic or vulnerable or imperfect. I only want to know about your accomplishments: the successful rise in your career, all of the followers that you have on Instagram, the perfect body that I’ll never have. All the things in you that I don’t see in myself.
I ask you to be more than you are. I place expectations on you. I don’t want you to fail.
My dad is the one I turn to. If I have a question I seek him for the answer. And I expect him to always be there. When he hasn’t been there for me I have felt let down. But he is allowed to be imperfect. I can’t keep taking him for granted. He has his own challenges and struggles and commitments. He has flaws of his own but those just make him who he is.
Nobody wants to be put on a pedestal just so they can fall off. Idolisation and not truly seeing you aren’t going to help either of us.
You never asked to be put there. You never asked to be seen as flawless. And when you fail in my eyes you fall. I see that you are not perfect, that you are just like me. I’m disappointed that you’ve let me down. I pull away from you or even blame you for not being everything I wanted you to be. I fell in love with a perfect picture of you that I created. Not the true you.
The Power of True Connection
If I put you on a pedestal you look down at me and why would I ever want that? I don’t love you more than me. I love you just as much as I love myself. I love you as you are. Flaws and all. Because I love myself as I am. Flaws and all.
There is only us. Looking across at each other. Connecting with each other. Saying with our eyes: I know. I know it’s not easy to be here. I know the pain, the struggle, the heartache; I know the love, the purpose, the joy. I know all of that because I live it too.
Not putting my dad on a pedestal doesn’t mean I care about him any less. It means I see all of him. I see his true self. I love his rough hands and his warm smile that crinkles his eyes. I love that he can talk for hours about trees and how they connect to each other. I love that he falls asleep listening to the radio with a cup of tea. I love him for him. And he loves me for me.
Loving my dad without putting him on a pedestal means that we can connect heart to heart. I can connect to everyone heart to heart.
When the pedestal is knocked down and we are standing face to face there is only us. There is no judgement or failed expectations or miscommunication. We see each other and inspire each other and touch each other’s hearts.
You are me and I am you. I lift you up and you lift me up. We lift each other. Not looking down. Not looking up. Looking across. Eyes knowing. Hearts open. I know you. You know me. There is no pedestal.