Some of you don’t have obsessive minds that keep you awake at night, and it shows…
I have not been sleeping as well as I would like. My mind has been all over the place. I have been trying to come to grips with the fact that we are not moving to Hawaii for at least a few years. Our business that we have here in Florida has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and we need to stick around to get it back on its feet before we can feasibly move.
Also, we still live in an RV that is 110 square feet and fall is coming in and we need more space. We have needed more space for a while and my claustrophobia has been diminishing my spiritual soundness on the daily. The tiny sink, the dirty carpet, the tiny shower, the lack of privacy, the tiny fridge and on and on…
The idea that has been coming to me repeatedly is “if you can’t beat em, join em,” and I am doing just that.
This idea came up a lot on our digital detox because I was not immersed in my idyllic world on social media. I was not confronted with activism memes, perfect food prep pictures, political rants, or any of the goings on in the digital world. I was squarely confronted with the regular old world, reality as it were.
In my mind, if we move to this small hippie town in Hawaii, we will no longer be the weirdos. We might even find ourselves on the other side of the fence and feel remarkably normal compared to the greenies we find ourselves around.
Fast forward a few weeks. My husband and I decided to go to counseling again. We’ve been married for 8 years and together for 9 and with two little kids (4, and 2) we have been drifting apart. For years we have slowly neglected our relationship and tried to keep the boat afloat, and we have, its just that the boat has been taking on water and our arms are getting tired from all the bucket-shoveling we’ve been doing and its time to actually fix the damn thing.
I’m just going to say it, our intimacy sucks. And let’s face it, we are married, not dead. We have needs, they just aren’t being met, so I think the natural tendency is to think they can get met somewhere else, by someone else…Just being honest. I don’t think he or I are bad or even wrong. I just think we are human. The desire to be seen, to have attention that isn’t mired in resentment, which is light and easy, is undeniably desirable. When we meet new, potentially hot, new people, they are easy. There is no baggage. There is no fighting, in fact it is the opposite. There is laughter and excitement. To think that we are not going to be drawn to that when our ship is sinking is complete hogwash. The shiny new yacht looks pretty attractive. But the new yacht means complete destruction of the boat and the life you have just come from. I am not ready for that. I still love my shitty boat. Plus, my kids are on that boat, and they don’t give a hoot about a new yacht…
Last night I went to a “Friendsgiving” gathering. I started to talk to a good friend about how to invest instead of buying a new car, and it definitely wasn’t well received. I changed the conversation topic and texted her later I hope she gets the car she wants because really, I need to not give unsolicited advice. I just love not being in debt and not giving away money that could be going to work for me instead of for someone else. Also, I was just feeling a little out of place. I was really missing my best friend, my husband.
I was at the Friendsgiving alone because at the behest of our couple’s counselor I am taking two nights to myself in a beach-front condo while Jason stays in the RV with the babies. I am writing while looking at the waves, it is pretty nice. The solo-staycation is two-fold, one to give Jason more one on one time with the kids (and me time alone), and two to try to wean our two-year-old. I only cried twice when I got here, and my boobs really hurt (engorged) but already, I feel closer to him. We are not totally back in the groove or anything but I’m proud of us. I am proud of myself for asking for what I want and need before letting the ship go all the way down. I am a recovered drug addict, there was a time where I reveled in burning my life to the ground, it felt appropriate, comfortable or the way it is supposed to go. I used to thrive on chaos, following my feelings, love addiction, attention and blaming others. I guess there is a part of me that wants to change the story. I want to have the good life. I want to learn to like my best friend again.
I called Jason on the way home from the party, and it was nice to talk to someone who understands how terrible I am in social situations. Someone who doesn’t care and keeps answering the phone. Someone who loves his children and his family. Someone who is dedicated to making it better and willing to put in the work necessary. These are the qualities I fell in love with once.
Can I just plug in here how effing hard parenting small children is right now. It is effing hard! And I know that it is a precious freaking time and I’m going to miss it someday, but right now, it is a mother-freaking-bitcoin. Most of our friends have little kids too so we never see them, and the friends that don’t have kids are off making better friends because we never see them. Missing the days of sleeping through the night and going for runs with my friends that I saw multiple times a week does not make me a bad person or friend. It makes me a mother. My life has changed, and I can still feel the timeline of my old life bumping and rubbing up against the current timeline and they are incompatible and thus make for some uncomfortable feelings. But just for today, I am feeling the things. I am feeling the grief and loss of my freedom mixed with the joy and love of my babies. I am feeling the loss of my energy and body prior to having kids but also loving and accepting my new, squishier self. I am feeling the loss of the freedom to focus on my passion with my husband and feeling grateful for our shared dedication to this new companionship. Even though I am writing in a condo all by myself (for the first time in 9 years!), I am feeling more in partnership. I am feeling the love in the empty, free space, that my husband is giving me by dedicating his time to feeding, bathing, putting to bed, consoling and loving our babies. He is parenting and I am parenting. We are doing it together in this way and though we needed help to get here, we both wanted to get help. We are both dedicated to listening and changing and growing and that is worth it’s freaking weight in gold-spiked-universe-fairy-dust.
Okay, now the tears count is at three times…I feel gratitude mixed with relief, coupled with exhaustion and fear. Fear of the work ahead of us. I still have my human doubts. But someone in the recovery world once said “courage is not the lack of fear, it is faith plus fear, and we walk through this world with both. We hold hands with our Creator and ask for the courage,” to be able to do all the hard things. To go to counseling and say out loud, all the secret things, the dark things, which have lurked near our hearts. We will walk through our intimate fears, our traumas, and hope that in our feeble humanness we can summon the courage of God to love each other again. We will try to listen to the quiet love and quell the ever-louder lust that screams at us to burn the ships. We will pick up our hammer and our nail and we will keep hammering away until all the holes are plugged. We will pick op our oars and row together towards an unknown shore. And even though our dreams are a compromised version of what we thought we wanted for our lives; we will have our best friend with us. No, we will not go it alone in a world full of strangers. We will use our powers for something else. Hopefully we will build some character in the process and show our kids what it really means to be honest and to work hard. We will show them what partnership looks like. We will show them that commitment means working hard and being ourselves at the cost of what the outside world may think. We will turn towards one another, and we will put down our shields. We will stand naked in our truths and see that we were lovable all along.
We are capable of great things, even if they go unnoticed by the world at large. I have always been attracted to people, writers, films, etc. when they just told the truth. The kind of attraction that brings up feelings of connection, not the kind that brings up possession or validation (a super-drug). One comes easy, and the other I have to work to find. I am proud of all of you out there still working on your boat. I understand that for some the boat wasn’t the right one to begin with too, my heart goes out to you, I’ve been in some ill-fitting boats myself along the way. For whatever reason, the Universe has seen fit to hitch me to the one I’m in now. I picked a good one, not perfect, but immensely good. When I met Jason, I told my friends, “I like him as a person. What I’m saying is that, even if I didn’t want to sleep with him, I’d still really like him and want him to be happy.” Like I said, he is just good at his heart. He wants to do good, like really bad. Inside he is a man who loves deeply, he is an old soul. I am an old soul. We are just trying to understand this world together. We joke about being from the future, that the world is just not ready for our level of weirdness; that we were born in the wrong time. Maybe so, but I am glad we are together for now, right now…