Sunday, March 21, 2010

Checking in...

I've spent the better part of this morning editing backlinks in my old posts.  Since my domain name fiasco blew up like Britney Spears on Cheetos, I have to go back and fix every place where I linked to an old post--they're all wrong.  It's time consuming and annoying, but it's forcing me to go back and read through my old posts.  Man, I have had a lot to say for the last year, plus!

One thing I noticed is that I haven't written in so long about my relationship with E.  It stands to reason that now that things are more stable, it's on my mind less, but it was one of the major reasons I started this blog--to be honest about what was happening between us, and I thought it would be as good of an exercise for me to give it some thought as it is for blog land.  As I tell my students, happy doesn't make great art, dance, or literature.  Angst is way more interesting... but I can stand to check in once in a while.

Last night E looked at me (as I worked on a super-secret craft project at the dining room table) and he said "you know what?  I'm really happy."  After a short pause, I answered back with a knowing "me too."  Even in the midst of the devastating news about the dogs, there's this wonderful peace on our house in knowing that we're facing things together.  Even shared pain, pain understood, is easier to bear with a healthy relationship.  Our financial troubles of the end of last year, the inevitable arguments or bickering, the big pain--all easier because we've fundamentally changed how we relate to each other.

Now I'm not saying we're not fighting anymore.  Get flipping serious.  We fight all the time.  Well, mostly me.  I disagree.  I'm disagreeable.  I'm needy.  You got a problem with that?  I kid, I kid.  And really, he's not always such a bowl of cherries.  He has his own very specific set of complications.  But E is better now at knowing when and how to respond, how to listen, how to structure what he does say to me so that I'm not going to spiral into a pit of The Crazies.  And I measure my words a little more carefully too.  I know which buttons get pushed with which words and I know when he needs room for air.  Like I said, we're not "fixed" but we kinda know when to stop now.  And we know when the path we're on is a bad one.

Case in point:  text fighting.  I feel like it's been sufficiently long enough since this happened that I can talk about it now without using my blog to continue the argument.  He was out late with a friend, I was home alone with the kids.  This was the first night that happened since the dogs died.  I was scared.  The house was too quiet.  I was lonely.  I was still running scenarios of their deaths through my head.  I couldn't get away from the guilt and the sadness or the loss of those dogs, and on top of that I was missing the security they gave me. I texted E to see if he'd be home soon.  He didn't want me to dictate his schedule--I don't blame him.  We have a history there that came from my being young and afraid and his being young and not wanting to be tied down to someone else's rules.  But this wasn't that, this was a very specific hurt I was still experiencing related to the dogs.

So you can see why text fighting about this was the worst possible idea, ever.  It's easy to feel attacked when you're reading 120 character messages.  Nobody wants to be out with friends and have one eye to the phone to see if it lights up with emotional word barf.  Nobody wants to feel alone in their grief, either.  Things get said just to push the boundaries, feelings get hurt.  It was like walking in our old footsteps for just a few minutes that night.  It's amazing how easily we can follow an old pattern.  I went to bed and cried until I slept.  He came home, woke me up, and we worked it out.  I didn't want to even look at him.  He wouldn't let it go, and then he wouldn't let me go.  He listened about what I was feeling about the dogs, about my safety.  I reassured him that I wasn't trying to keep him from his friends.  It was tough and we were tired, but we didn't give it up until it was better.

I wrote a post a long time ago based on an article I'd read that said women's feelings are like a plate of spaghetti--everything a tangled, interwoven mess.  I might be better at working through things with E, but I will certainly always be that plate of spaghetti.

E and I are really so truly happy.  The changes I've made to my schedule in the last year have opened my life to a much more relaxed joy with my family.  His accomplishment in finishing law school and now in working a steady job have only brought more stability, more opportunity for togetherness and peace.  He doesn't even have to say it, but I know we both feel the same pride about the life we've assembled--the same rightness, the way we put things back together and made them stronger than they were before--and it's wonderful to be able to trust each other (with even our arguments and hurt feelings) and to enjoy each other's company in such a way that isn't forced or pressured.

So there you go.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome, hopeful post. You have a lot of wisdom.