I’ve been wanting to compose an ode to my husband. To express all of his wonderful attributes and my appreciation for his unending support and steadiness. I wanted to show the world how lucky I am to have found this incredible human being and to share life with him. I will still likely write something along those lines. It keeps gnawing at me. But yesterday I had a flash of inspiration and I know better than to deny that compulsion. Here’s what spilled out. It didn’t begin as a letter to my husband. I thought it was more of a self discovery piece initially. Truly, it’s a little bit of both.
Delusional. Thinking I only began the practice of curling into myself since the death of my brother. Thinking it had only been these last few years.
But somehow I got a whiff of insight. I recognized that our whole relationship history I drew inward when in pain. Further evaluation reveals I have actually been practicing this withdrawal method my entire life.
It’s why I didn’t cry at my beloved Pop’s viewing or funeral at age 9. A man I dearly loved. I didn’t shed one tear the entire time. Not during the service nor as they were lowering his casket into the ground with finality. Not one tear.
I go somewhere deep within myself. Not quite like a snail. That’s too fragile and superficial of a barrier.
Nope, I burrow way down deep like the Western Australian Yellow Spotted Monitor. (Who knew? This tidbit came as a surprise to me too.) Then I hibernate. I survive. I process. I heal. All the while my presence remains outward, there daily. My soul is nestled deeply away. Safely confined, or so my defenses believe.
Yet I forgot or cannot care enough to realize that life thrums on without me. People move on without my connection. I have no capacity or energy to extend outward. To invest in anyone or anything but self-preservation.
But am I? Self-preserving. Would my complex downward spiral and thrust back into life be less dramatic if I plugged in, held on white-knuckle tight and remained firmly planted where I am- with you. Rooting into you.
What if I exploded volcano-like. Lava endlessly pouring forth. Would I create the same searing havoc and devastation all around? Ruin. Collapse.
Could you handle me in that way? The truth is, I don’t know. Therefore, I go where I know I can survive. Continue on. Nestled in my complex cavernous core.
My awareness reveals my desire for change. Instead of our typical Do-si-do dance. The “Come Here, Go Away” swing, what if we get close, slow dance style Ann Murray’s “Could I have this Dance” playing? Let’s lean into each other. Lean in when in pain. Lean in when in fear. Lean in being vulnerable, exposed. What would happen then? Am I ready to find out? Again, I don’t know. But I would like to try.
In my personal wanderings I have considered my lack of softness. I have never felt like a natural nurturer. Problem solver, yes. Nurturer, no. In my thoughts I travelled back in time. I replayed my story. I had been sweet and and cozy at one time. When did being tough and hard take a precedence over being soft and open and sweet. I believe when I learned that softness and vulnerability paid me with hurt, heartache. So I became a clam. I clamped firmly shut those unguarded meaty bits of me. Hard impenetrable shell of self-protection.
I ponder now. Has my shell, my guarded exterior ever allowed me to be truly unabashedly open, exposed? Have I ever fully, entirely bared myself or unbolted myself to another?
To Our Child?
Again, my response is that I don’t know.
Unintentionally, blindly. As the saying goes “Ignorance is bliss.” Unaware of how ingrained my survival strategy is to me. For so very long…..
Can I efface? Can I open myself? Can I emerge from my burrow, fill it in and never return? No longer hiding myself away. Knowing in my core, every fiber of myself that I am safe. Your love for me is without conditions. You see me exactly as I am and love me in spite of or because of me.
You are my people. You protect me. You are present.
If I feed myself this knowledge daily, can I come out? Slowly, tentatively. Maybe with this gift of clarity I already have.
I don’t know.
So here I am. Here we are. What a wonderful revelation for me. Possibly for my family.
Thanks for reading. This is me. Vulnerable and exposed.