What other shoe?


May 11, 2011 by 8junebugs

So, I could write about how weird it is living with another person full time, particularly how weird it is living with a man again after being on my own for a couple of years. I could come up with some snark about unmade beds or beard shavings in the sink or how OMG HE ALWAYS TURNS OFF THE SHOWER WITH THE SHOWER LEVER STILL UP. WHY?!

Or? I could tell you that we’re settling in so well together that it’s a little scary. I’m not afraid of the scariness…and even if I were, I’d be a little afraid of telling you that I’m afraid, because that fear could be misconstrued. It could be received as a sign, if a reader were so inclined, that something is wrong, or that I feel like something’s wrong.

What’s scary about this whole new/not-that-new thing, though, is that nothing feels wrong. Everything has been…easy.

Nothing feeling wrong is causing powerful waves of random emotion in me. Joy escapes in random giggles. Certain songs make me bawl and grin AT THE SAME TIME. I am leveled by a tenderness toward Graham (and Rodney) that borders on ridiculous. Because of our history together, everything that’s becoming so real also seems surreal.

But my own recent history is colliding with all this happiness and throwing images from my past into stark relief. All this rightness comes with the big ugly memory of just how monstrously wrong things were in my marriage. (Relationship Rule #14: When you marry your rebound, the terrorists win.) As much as I knew things were wrong then and kept moving forward anyway, part of me had always mitigated how wrong…because I moved forward anyway. I justified what I was doing while I was in it, to myself and to others, and I minimized it when I left because I was finally out and didn’t want to dwell on it. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t write about it, and when it was finally over, very few people knew why. I had their support, sure, but the only people who know what goes on in a relationship are the people in it, and even they can convince themselves of a different reality.

I haven’t decided how much more I’ll write about those days, or if I will. It’s difficult, now, to write about those days without comparing them to these, and I don’t spend a lot of time making those comparisons, except to marvel at how easy and joyful and right I feel pretty much all the time.

“Easy” and “joyful” and “right” were not part of my marriage. There was anger and acrimony and alienation of affection. There was a lot of yelling and name calling. There were long periods of time when I was under orders not to say “I love you” first (clearly I didn’t mean it because I’d bought the wrong kind of ibuprofen again) or initiate any physical contact (it had to come from him). We tend to recognize abuse when it bruises on the outside, the result of violent contact. It’s harder to explain when physical contact and words of affection are how you show love and your spouse (a) says they’re worthless and you can’t use them and (b) banishes you to the guest room while he works on forgiving whatever you’ve done, for however long that takes.

I’d even rationalized most of this away after I left. I was DONE, so what did it matter? Then I told Graham a little about what had happened. I saw the reaction of the man who still knew me better than anyone else ever has, even though we hadn’t spoken in seven years. It finally sank in how wrong all of that was, not just in general (because, duh), but because of who and how I am.

There’s a cavernous difference between being with someone who wants to control you and being with someone who thinks you’re awesome and can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. If no one minds, I’m just going to go ahead and get used to this kind of Happy.

(Also, PUPPY! Jesus, the level of unconditional love in this house is a little nauseating.)


8 thoughts on “What other shoe?

  1. Boo says:

    You deserve every tiny shred and glorious epiphany of happiness…and also you two (three?) are super sweet together. I’m so glad to hear how absolute your happiness is!

  2. ECH says:

    Ahhh! I have to admit that I squealed when reading this but your happiness radiates off my computer screen!

    When John and I moved in together (and moved to a whole new continent together) I was shocked at how easy it all was. Then I started to panic because it was so easy and I’m that crazy person who is unsettled without anxiety. I love what you say about the difference between being with someone who controls you and being with someone who just loves you and can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. We’re pretty lucky to have found the latter!

    • 8junebugs says:

      “A person who is unsettled without anxiety.” Yes, that sounds familiar. I occasionally went around wondering WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN/MISSED/IGNORED?!

      Nothing, it turns out, or nothing critical. It’s just actually this easy.

      We are pretty lucky, indeed. 🙂

  3. Jenn D says:

    I am so totally happy for you!!

  4. Tammy Spires says:

    I’ve got all kinds of happiness up in here for you! 🙂

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