I am no rocket scientist, especially when it comes to my own emotional terrain. It has taken me years to figure out things like: Say no when you don't want to do something because when you say yes, you will be resentful.
That must have been about four decades of work right there, so if you want me to do something, please be prepared for a no if I don't want to do it.
Here's another one that is slowly becoming a habit: Say what you need to say.
Okay, maybe with care and modulation, but say it, dammit. The world will likely stay in one whole piece and life as I know it will still go on.
But can I tell you the grief and anxiety that presaged this revelation of behavior and thought? I mean, thousands of dollars worth in therapy. Truly, you don't want to hear about it.
So when I had my epiphany this morning while emptying the dishwasher, I thought to jot it down because otherwise, years might go by before I remember it again. And then who knows how long before I will actually be able to live it.
Here it is: Just because you had it in the past doesn't mean you have to have it now.
Doesn't that seem like a big duh? I mean a HUGE duh, one of those duhs that is making you want to stop reading right now. But seriously, a certain longing for things in the past has been haunting me until just about fifteen minutes ago.
Let me explain. Since I've known Michael, I've bemoaned internally the way we sleep at night. First off, let me tell you that he could likely fuel the entire city of Oakland with his body heat. It would be pretty damn boring for him, sitting in that room and being fed, while tubes and wires stole his heat and turned on lights and heaters and entire systems that required electricity. But what savings for us! Hyperbole aside, he is hot (literally and figuratively!). And he likes to cuddle for about a half an hour and then spin away to make heat on his side of the bed.
Many years ago, I read a silly article that informed me that how couples slept was a metaphor for their relationship. Completely cozy spooning couples were the happiest on the planet. The man who spooned his wife and put his leg on top at the same time was domineering. There were other drawings of sleeping couples, and this type of analysis went on. But then there was the couple on opposite sides of the bed. They were doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Alienated, lonely, alone. Headed for divorce court. An axe murder was in their future.
Cut to my marriage where my former spouse and I spooned from day one of our sleeping together life. First in a twin bed and then in other beds for years. Spin and spoon. That's what we did all night long. It was cozy and warm, and I was used to it. I'd had it. That's what I expected.
But lo and behold, I don't have it now, and I've spent a couple of years thinking about it and wondering why. Today in the kitchen, I thought, why am I holding on to what was? I left my husband, didn't I? Spooning didn't keep us together, did it?
And I re-envisioned the article, thinking that constant spooning could indicate a relationship with not enough separation. Where both members of the couple are forced to hide their true selves, fused into this one being that doesn't allow self expression. The couple who spoons for a short time and then separates shows a great deal of individuality as well as caring for the other.
Bingo. Issues solved. A miracle of self-therapy.
After solving the sleeping crisis, I went on to think about other things I kept thinking I needed to have because I had them. Family meals, for one. I don't have a family to feed anymore, and Michael and I have different hours in the evening. Sitting down every night together is impractical, but we do manage to do it three nights a week at least. It's like our sleeping. Individuality with a dollop of togetherness. It's the way we do things.
The way we do things. Not the way I'm used to things being done. Hallelujah!
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org