This morning has been overwhelmingly educational for me, not because I am remarkably different in any way, but because he was different--when it mattered.
Truthfully, I haven't been doing all that well in this new town. I still have yet to leave the house by myself. I'm not sure I can even work the front door properly. I've been floating chaotically through these weeks, dealing with my own insecurities on top of his increasingly debilitating headaches. Meltdowns hadn't been a problem for a long time, but Halloween was the start of a very bad cycle, it seems. I could go into all of the reasons why I am struggling and how they snowball to the extent that it leaves me in a constant state of pure terror, but that wasn't my point. Everybody gets that about me. But this morning, there was no screaming. He didn't tell me there was no reason for me to be feeling the way I am. He just talked to me, calmly, no matter how argumentative or whiny I became. And it may have taken a little bit, but he did his best not to make the situation worse. It's not that he ever intentionally tried to, but it always seemed to happen. I'm still recovering from that meltdown, which resulted in an alteration of our plans for the day. That is, I'm not venturing out for a six-hour journey by myself today. But maybe Monday. (I doubt Sunday bus service will make any trip on my own feasible.) But I'm okay with that.
The different response to my problem makes me realize just how hard both of us have been working to do and be better. When he tries this hard, I want to try even harder. And with how stressful the rest of life has been, we haven't had much time to just appreciate each other and give each other the attention we deserve when there ISN'T a crisis occurring. Right now, I'm starting to realize things I may have forgotten over the years. I remember that love is hard. Well, real love. Love is easy when everything is going well--when you have all the money you need and maybe a little more, when you're both healthy and fully functional, when you have a comfortable schedule or routine, when you aren't being pulled in a hundred directions, and when you have a clear plan for your future. I remember that, when things go wrong, real love is about more than hugs and kisses and flowers on the table. I remember that, sometimes, real love is about dealing with frustration, anger, disappointment, and more in the context of the relationship. It's about wading through the painful parts together so that the good parts can stay good. None of this is anything revolutionary. But when you live every day of your life with someone, you want it to be that picture-perfect relationship. You want the highlight reel to be every moment of every day, and when it's not, you panic. You panic because you realize that you don't have great models for healthy relationships in your life, and you certainly aren't going to get them from mainstream media, so you often question whether you would even know if things are alright. You panic because your past tells you that any bad thing that happens means that he's thinking of leaving you and just hasn't found a way to tell you yet. You panic because you wonder what you could have done instead of thinking about how to do better. You get the idea.
But today, in the aftermath of a truly painful experience, I can say that things are working. Things are genuinely GOOD. I think my fears will stay with me for a long time. I still have flashbacks. But things are changing. And maybe a month of chaos is enough already. I don't exactly know how to implement the kind of routine I want to have in place, but I know that that would eliminate a lot of other problems. And help me deal with the ones that it can't.
My foot is asleep, and I'm in a bathtub. This is awkward.