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Trace the moment.

Chris and I have a perfect place. He found it first. He shared it with me. It’s this little tucked away place that doesn’t even feel like it’s part of our town. Or our state. It’s our sacred place. It’s hitsuzen. We have to have a certain kind of weather for it tho and winter is often not it.

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A couple weeks ago it was perfect outside tho. Still snow on the ground, but the bike path was almost entirely clear of snow and ice. The air was crisp, but the sun was so warm that it didn’t matter.

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Despite the fact that the car had been making this weird noise, we risked the 20 minute drive to go for the walk. It was worth it to get that kind of time in that kind of place. A place that brings us back to ourselves. For me, it doesn’t bring me back to an older, idealized version of me or an older, iidealized version of Chris. It just always brings us to a more grounded place of our present selves. I think that’s what I always love most about it. The everything else falls away and we’re stripped down to our purest, naked selves and we can just be.

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We walked for maybe an hour and munched clementines and kiwi. We showed L all the cool things we love and he ooh’d and ahh’d the 50 foot wall cliff and the train tracks and the river and the trees.

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We stopped and marveled the sewer/tunnel pipe and L made up stories about it coming out into the river. And then he sang songs as we walked on.

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The day before this walk, we walked too. The weather begged our presence. Our relationship begged connection. We showed up. It’s the greatest thing we can do.

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We always walk back to us. This season has been filled with ebb and flow and pain and growth. Distance and connection. Falling away and coming back. As the earth warms again, I feel a tingling of change. There’s a buzz my skin feels. A fire sparking. Despite the ebbs–and there will always be ebbs–I can feel the flow’s energy building up momentum.

Yesterday Chris and I had a…discordance. It wasn’t an argument. It was just….an overwhelm of feelings and thoughts and fears. It was vulnerability and anxiety and honesty. In years’ past, it would have broken us. It would have been a full on argument. It would have been irreconcilable for hours, the day, the weekend. It would have been the thing that, Chris especially, wouldn’t have been able to navigate through. (I say Chris especially because for the most part, I lean toward compartmentalizing as an involuntary coping mechanism. I’m not bragging here…)

But yesterday, because we’ve both had so much growth–because he is diligently searching to reclaim his self–it was only discordance and an exchange. The moment of ebb made the subsequent flow that much more energized. It was like reaching hitsuzen without the walk.

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Like an ocean that you can’t see.

Funny thing about someone pulling their floor out from under me. My floor is still pretty damn sturdy, so I’m just standing here going “huh…well, okay.”

And now I just kinda got nothing. It could be deft compartmentalization. But really it just feels like…I dunno. Not that.

I re-prioritized my day a bit. I was gonna speed read through an online library book I’ve been wanting to read that’s due back in two days, but I had been on the fence anyway because I had other goal stuff I wanted to get done. So I breathed and centered and returned it early for the people on the waiting list. And I texted my sponsor, I guess just so I could acknowledge that something did happen even if currently I’m okay.

Now I’m gonna get back to my day. Because time ticks on and all the stuff has to get done whether people make un-ideal choices or not.

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Illuminate the blackest nights.

It’s fascinating what a difference a day makes.

Thursday was a day. Thursday was such a day. It hurt. It was also a day of growth that propelled me into today. Maximum amount of growth from a maximum type of experience.

This morning someone said something that reminded what Chris and my communication looked like at the start of our relationship. There was an obscene amount of us being present for one conversation, but experiencing two wholly different conversations. Our very different sets of experiences and baggage provided very skewed filtered translations of our words.

I’d repeat back to him what he said, but really what I was repeating back was what I heard (how I translated it), and he wouldn’t understand what the hell I was talking about. Or worse yet, I’d tell him and he’d get mad I took it that way, which only served to make me feel more terrible. Or sometimes I would have said something once and maybe even off cuff, and then a year later he’d be like “well, I’ve never done this thing because this one time you said you didn’t like it”…. and I’d have no recollection of saying that and would have had no issue with this random thing he wanted to do, but had never done.

We spent a lot of time navigating that. Until we maybe didn’t have to navigate it so much? And we were just on the same page most of the time.

And then life, as it is wont to do, got bigger and deeper and more layered. And perhaps we took the communication for granted and the translators surfaced again unbeknownst to either of us.

There are things that I felt on Thursday–things I wrote–that are totally valid. And then there are other things that were filtered through a broken translator. Things that were filtered through pain I have compartmentalized and avoided. It doesn’t make them any less valid. It doesn’t make them any less real. It just makes them…not the truth.

Part of the defective translator is my long past experiences and apparently not having properly explored them. There have been times I felt slighted or dismissed or overlooked and I react from those moments. Not because I’m mad. But because it hurts. I support him because it’s in my nature to do so. I want to feel it in return. He is supportive in other ways, but it’s not the same to me.

Another aspect is a fresh wound. The fresh wound has been something I haven’t wanted to peel the bandaid off of to look at yet. I haven’tbeen ready. I don’t know what I’ll find exactly and also I don’t know whose help I’ll need to employ. Will a nurse do? Or do I need a surgeon? Can the wound be cleaned and heal with time or is the whole limb a lost cause? Will the body survive the loss of limb? So, I keep the bandaid on.

And mostly it is fine.

Every now and again “mostly” leaves and “not fine” shows up.

For now, I know that no matter the solution I choose for healing it, I need to make the choice soon.

I tangented tho. The point I was wanting to make is that Thursday I translated communication through my pain (and maybe Chris translated through his something as well) and I was inaccurate. He didn’t think the enneagram was stupid and he didn’t think me stupid for having interest in it. He took a quiz today and listened to some of the Rise Together podcast episode about it and seemed genuinely interested in it, just the way that I hoped. And I hoped it because he is such a bright light and for too long he has been trying to dim himself.

And I guess now begins some me/us work because all the things I’m feeling and protecting just under the surface only serve to dim bright light as well.

I’m nothing if not the girl who finally catches up to remember I practice what I preach.

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Tap on my window; knock on my door.

This hilarious thing happened. Where I was listening to the Rise Together podcast and Rachel and Dave were fucking geeking out about their enneagrams and I wanted in on it, despite having previously been vehemently (read: quietly) against taking the quiz. So I stopped the podcast and took a quiz. And apparently I had gone and decided some expectations beforehand because of all of my growth and accomplishments. I thought my results would give me further fuel to kick ass and take names amidst my personal growth journey.

And then I got a 2.

And I was like “what the shit is this?!”

Here I’ve been working on personal growth and growth mindset and so much me me me for a really long time and now I have this thing in front of me saying I do everything for everyone else and at my expense and to top it all off, I disrespect others’ boundaries.

I was not pleased.

To add insult to injury, I had been chatting with Chris about it beforehand and I felt like he had completely dismissed my everything about it. Which then triggered me to remember the random things he has dismissed in the past that mean something to me.

(Side story. The first time was back in 2014 when I went to a neuromusculoskeletal specialist (MD) who gave me an adjustment I was ill prepared for and I experienced my first…I’m not even sure what to call it. I had to navigate trauma that was released from my body. I sobbed. Like, sobbed. The doctor called me a delicate flower and he said it in such a sweet and loving way that he made me feel loved and worthy and strong in a way I had never felt before.

After I navigated this experience I felt so at peace and free and practically giddy and I relayed the whole thing to Chris on the drive home and he was so….mad. And he was so….oversteppingly protective. And then suddenly I felt invalidated and stupid.

This memory hurts. I know he never wants me to feel hurt. I know he wouldn’t want to be the thing doing the hurting. I also know that the reality is, we hurt people without realizing, especially when we ourselves are hurting.

I can view that part objectively. It doesn’t ease the hurt. Both things exist simultaneously.

I don’t purposefully hold onto this. I have never mentioned it to him, tho we did talk about it shortly after it happened. I don’t hold it over his head. It’s not usually any source of resentment or ill feelings. It’s not a chalkboard checklist of ways Chris has done wrong. It’s mostly just a feeling that resurfaces when I feel triggered by invalidation, if I feel unseen, or if there is something I’m interested in that is…not tangible.

The interesting thing to note here is that Chris has interest in things that he himself deems as hokey. It must hurt a lot to follow something, to take stock in it, to have it have meaning to him….and to also invalidate it as crap. I wish he could see that believing in something “other” or spiritually unexplainable doesn’t make him less than.

So it shouldn’t surprise me when he dismisses love languages and enneagram and whatever else could help give him insight into himself or me or our children or the relationships that intermingle all those things.

Also, I want to say, that I have never been anything less than wholly supportive and compassionate about anything he has ever had interest in, be it Jesus/god, when he was super religious, or cigars or pipe tobacco or vaping, for that stint, or when he was blending tobacco or making snuff (ground tobacco) or blending juices and making his own mods. I was present and stood next to him for all of it. Even when he drank. Twice. I show up every time. He could never say I don’t show up. I am there and I support every endeavor and every mistake and every rabbit hole. I listen through every news blip and political rant and all the Joe Rogan and UCF fights and Sargon of Akkad.

And some days I have real, tangible pain that I don’t feel the same in return. Not all the time. Not every day. But enough.

And I know I should say something. And I would. If I had any idea how to. Without it sounding needy or ungrateful or petty.)

So, back to today. I was trying to talk out my feelings about maybe being a 2 (77%). Or perhaps even being a 5 (74%) and he went the route of talking about coding those kinds of quizzes and how stuff like that is easy, and I…I closed off and shut down.

And there was no good way to say “but I want to talk about me”. And…it was such a 2 thing to do and to think.

And even tho it happened 10 hours ago, I’m laugh-crying about the irony and sadness and amusement of it all. I’m certain that any person who was well versed in 2s would say “oh, sweetheart” and envelop me in their arms and I could cry about how much being alive hurts and how much pressure there is and how I never feel seen and usually I’m okay with that, but today it just hurts, and they would get it.

But I don’t know any enneagram people because I don’t feel like I have any connections with people and it is a chasm that deeply aches.

So I’ll cry my good cry and I’ll “through; not around” and I’ll keep chugging along anyway. ‘Cause while I may be a 2, I’m also a fierce fucking fighter and I refuse to ever feel stuck.

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A perfect day for doing the unstuck.

I’m a little of the mind, in this exact moment, that personal growth is stupid. I’m a little stompy about it. I’m a little salty.

I’m leaning into the (perceived) (temporary) inconvenience of having growth.

I wanted a morning.

And I didn’t get said morning. Because I can’t control how other human beings spend their time or how they process information. And I wouldn’t want control of that. I’m good to not have control of that. And also, when there is such a strangely skewed processing of things, I just….

I have to stop to breathe.

And maybe cry some.

It’s not about what did or didn’t happen. It’s not about the other triggering things this morning–I’ll write about that soon. It’s not even necessarily about the apparent crapshoot of miscommunication. Right now it’s only about how I find the way to constructively put one foot in front of the other and stay true to my path.

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So I’m at the library. Typing. And watching my little watch the fish.

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Hands of a clock.

If you were to ask Chris how our week has gone as a couple, he would say that we feel a million miles away.

If you were to ask me, I’d say that he had some challenging days this week that kept him from me, and that I had a few hours one evening that kept me from him, navigating those days that kept him from me.

Last night, while we were running late and the cat was in the garage, making it inaccessible (the garage, not the cat…tho she wasn’t accessible either…), and I needed to get L’s carseat installed in the car and everything was all snowy and icy and slippery, and we were in a rush to get Chris to his meeting and get the boys to science night at the school, there was this incredible pause. He just came over and he put his hand on my face and the world stopped. And we kissed and nothing else existed in that moment. And no one would have ever been able to say he and I were a million miles from one another.

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The fire in your eyes.

Today I brought a freshly baked loaf of bread home from the store. My daughter was all ooooooh. I excitedly said, “feel how squishy!” She felt it and I could tell she wasn’t on board with my excitement. I said, “What’s the matter?” She said, “It’s too squishy. Is it too squishy? It’s not supposed to be squishy.” I told her it was perfect. She said, “But you always have me feel the bread first to get a firm one…”

And the look she gave me. The realization she’s been doing it the wrong way all this time. She could have disappeared completely and I just hugged her and kept her with me and said “Oh, sweet girl” over and over.

She’s been coming into her own so much recently. It’s just astounding to watch as she morphs from this hostile, hormonal teenager into…a person.

Tonight she came out and showed me and Chris her wrist. She had written “victory” on it and was giddy excited. She said it’s like the semicolon movement and she had worked so hard to write it all perfect.

After she walked out of the room I said, “Man, I love how every day she becomes a little more me,” and it was my turn to be a bit giddy. Chris said, pointing to my face and happy demeanor, “I love how this is all going on with you.” And, even tho I didn’t say it at the time, I love all the little things going on with him right now too.

I used to write on my wrists. Like R did tonight. Little messages. Reminders. Tethers. It’s all these separate things we’re doing that help remind me all the ways we’re connected.

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Running around in your head.

I feel like I should recap my day. Touch base with the multitudes of people who come across my words. (This is where you laugh. I know no one reads.)

I survived this day. Better yet, I was thriving by evening, even in spite of a nauseating headache.

I took a lot of cbd today. I dunno that it ever really did anything. I haven’t been that much of a basket case in a while.

While at the car place, Chris very patiently overlooked my psychosis. I couldn’t stop moving or rubbing my thumbs into my palms or rubbing my hands on my jeans or rubbing my fingers against my thumbtips.

Fuck. So disordered.

But after Collin assured me there were no loose parts and it might be my struts but maybe not but was definitely something with the oil but still the car wouldn’t implode, I felt better. And felt like maybe I could navigate the car til next Thursday when he’ll look at it again. Fuck, the car gives me such anxiety.

But then I drove in a bunch of snow and it was strangely empowering. But really, above all else, it just really meant everything to me that Chris practically forfeited an after work shower to be there for me and treated me regular even tho I felt anything but. I’ve missed him so much and it felt like breathing to connect.

And R was really spectacular today too. Every day she is coming into her own and navigating her way, alongside her anxiety and depression. She makes me proud.

I feel a little bit like I lost the entire day. But I didn’t lose me entirely and I’ll take the win.

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I’m bare-boned and crazy for you.

Here it is Sunday night. Almost time for sleep. Truth be told, I should have gone to sleep an hour ago. I just want to take some time to reflect on my weekend first.

I don’t know that I had a picture Friday night of what I wanted for my weekend. And maybe that’s better. Expectations tend to sabotage future moments.

Friday night I ended up going to sleep and Chris and I hadn’t watched any episodes of Heroes. I know he had kinda passed out at one point and was pretty bummed about being human and tired and needing sleep. As I was getting ready for sleep, I came to find a very old blog I had written at for many years. Life is weird. It provided a momentary distraction and now I’m kinda over it. (It’s a good “over it” tho. The kind where there is nothing from the past holding onto me today.)

Saturday morning was sheets of ice for roads, and my alanon meeting, and later long connecty conversations with Chris and a snowstorm that didn’t storm as much as predicted. It was me buying a domain name for this here blog and allowing it to have an official home that I can call my own. It was lit candles and opening the year 4 anniversary tobacco blend. It was Chris marking me as his and kisses and entanglements and too cold kitchen and perfect warm bedrooms. It was spooning and contented slumbers. It was multiple Heroes episodes and bliss.

Today, yesterday’s sparse-ish snow afforded us a shopping trip and a restock of healthier food to make way for healthier plans. It was moments of overstimulation (on my part) that provided opportunity to share my voice and my thoughts and my ruffled feathers. And it gave Chris the opportunity to show me how “defensive” isn’t his go to anymore and how we can have reasonable conversations and I learned that I was able to perceive his reactions accurately.

I know we’re always practicing our individual, personal growth as well as growth in our relationship. It was really cool today tho to see so clearly how it has evolved. So many aspects of ourselves are the same as (almost) seven years ago, and soooooo many are different. We are better people. And really, that’s just always what I want for myself. I want to try and fuck up and try again and practice and mess up and, at the end of the day, no matter the little moments, I want my big picture to reveal that I was always growing into better. And that we were always striving for that together.

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Approach. Appear.

I didn’t know what the rest of my day would look like earlier when I wrote. I felt on top of everything, but in that way where you are until you suddenly aren’t.

I finished my paper clutter pile from yesterday and tried to occupy L because Chris has the flu, as well as detox from another round of medicine that didn’t get here in time. I know he feels like shit physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. I take great comfort in the fact that I am not the woman who contributes to that. That I don’t try to find (false) validation in making him feel worse. That I don’t have the means to feel better at someone else’s expense. Especially someone I love so much.

So I spent my day focused on me and my growth and my worth and betterment and evolution. And I was feeling so connected to me that I found connection with R and S and L too.

I taught S about time management. I empowered him with management of his own time, while giving him confines and boundaries to work within. I told him I was like the boss. “You gotta get this, this, and this accomplished by x time, but you manage the rest. You run your own show.” And he practiced in kind. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. But it was his and I let him own it and he took pride in it.

I taught the same to R. “Do what you want with your last day of winter break, but any food trash needs to be cleaned by 5.” She argued she might not get it done by then and I countered reasonably and objectively, “You’ve got four and a half hours to do this one thing. Choose how you want to do it. You can wait til 4:55 and then haul ass picking up trash. Or you can do it all right now. Or you can do some now and some later. It’s your show. But ya got til 5, and if at 5 it’s not finished, your phone goes on the island until it is.”

No shame. No guilt. No tough love. No bringing up past anything. Just right here right now, reasonable objectivity. Might as well have told her the sun was gonna set by 5pm. Just a fact.

And she responded with the same respectful objectivity and it was barely even reluctant when she said, “okay”.

And L and I worked on puzzles together today. And I let it be his show and we made a game of it, but I never rushed him or did it for him. I let him lead.

I gave them the opportunity and then I stepped aside and let each of them shine today.

What a blessing and a joy to take me and my feelings and my thoughts out of the equation and just talk to them.

I was afraid I’d break today. I was hoping I’d be able to withstand the bend. Turns out I stood tall all day.