This is happening! I am (finally) moving in with Dave! (After quadruple-checking, he doesn’t mind if I blog about our lives, so I might as well stop calling him SO)
When I say finally, what I really mean is – we have been talking about it for months and we decided to do it. The conversation started with “When you’re ready, I’d love for you to move in”. Then it was “sometime next spring” and that turned into “sometime in the next few months” … and then I lost my job. My mother, who is a brilliant woman, pointed out that if I moved in with Dave it would make so many things in my life so much easier. Plus, I had a feeling that the whole losing-my-job thing was for a greater purpose – and I think this may have been it. The universe was tired of these abstract conversations and said: seriously, what the fuck, just move in already. Stop talking and start doing!
So that’s what we’re doing!
What’s fascinating to me is the reaction I had upon “making a decision” – moving in during this week or by the end of next week. Read: ohmygod this is actually happening. Read: PANIC. Despite my fondness for Douglas Adams, I ignored his sound advice and panicked anyway. Anxiety and nervousness and this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Now, because I am more-than-slightly neurotic, I analyzed and analyzed and analyzed some more. Where were these feelings coming from? I love and adore this man! He is fantastic! I mean, come on guys, did you not read the love letter I wrote to him? Anyway, it really bummed me out. First I felt all these negative feelings, and then I felt super guilty for not mirroring the feelings that he had. Dave’s all about it. Dave’s so on board. Why didn’t I feel that way? What does THAT mean? Does it mean I don’t really want to? Was I kidding myself all along? How completely messed up must I be to only want something in the abstract? Round and round my mind went, and it only got worse. I couldn’t sleep, I felt terrible, and one night after one too many glasses of wine I completely broke down and cried and told him I was so afraid and I didn’t know what to do but I loved him so much – after that I think I just went into a fit of hysterics, so there’s not much translation available.
As a side note, I would like to mention that I am not really a crier. At least, I never used to be. As it turns out, divorce brings out all the tears one has been repressing for years and years. I’ve cried more times in front of Dave than I’ve cried to anyone else – except my immediately family. Certainly more than any previous relationship or friend. The day I lost my job – that entire week – I was totally fine until I saw Dave. Suddenly, I knew I was in a safe place, and I just lost it. I cried and cried and cried and got sexy girl snot all over his shirt and I know I looked totally gorgeous with my puffy red face. He just loved it, I know it.
Back on track. So, how is it that I have these intense (yet calming) feelings of love and respect for this individual, and I feel mutually loved and respected, but the idea of us living together completely freaks me out?
Well, at first, I chalked it up to being gun-shy. After all, the last time I lived with a man it ended terribly. Actually, that’s the only time I’ve lived with a man. It was awful. All… sucky and stuff. Even worse, I was so ridiculously “happy” in that relationship, and it went so terribly wrong, I had convinced myself that it was just as likely to end that way with Dave and I. Stupid, I know. But, the mind of an overly emotional woman is a stupid and illogical place.
We talked. We talked about it again. I apologized for how I felt, apologized for apologizing, and Dave continued to be patient. I think he knew something that I didn’t, and was just waiting for the light bulb to go off. Or maybe he just doesn’t question everything like I do. Who knows. He handled it really well. Lots of validation and comfort and hugs. None of it helped, I still felt the same rising panic as the days ticked closer. I found myself looking for reasons to push back that move-in date – which concerned me above all other things. Was I going to bail?
It was early in the morning – after a rough night of not sleeping well and in dire need of a cigarette and coffee – that it dawned on me. Suddenly, one thought appeared and then in an explosion of inspiration many other thoughts branched off from that one. And then, mere moments later, all of the panic and anxiety melted away.
You see, human beings have two basic emotions, upon which all other emotions are based: fear and desire. On top of that, fear and desire dovetail. They are intertwined. So, I had to get to the bottom of my fear. No, it wasn’t an effect of a messy marriage and divorce. That wasn’t good enough. I spent a year in therapy and massive amounts of time healing. I am not so damaged that the idea of moving in with someone – just because I had done it before and it didn’t go well – would result in panic. It wasn’t the fear of the unknown – I’ve learned that lesson the hard way: you have to let go of what you cannot control. So, then what was it?
Then a small voice in my mind spoke up: I can’t do this.
That got my attention. I can’t do this. Can’t as in… incapable. Can. Not. Cannot. Don’t have the skills, don’t have the talent, or don’t have the capacity. That’s what I can’t means. Except – that statement is so ridiculously false that it actually made me laugh as I was driving. What an absurd thing to say to myself! To think of myself! Bah. I can’t do this. Bitch, I already did. And I rocked it out.
I was a great roommate. A great girlfriend. A great wife. I am a nurturing spirit. I live and breathe to take care of others. While I have learned that it is a waste of energy to try to take care of everyone – especially before myself – once I do choose to care for someone, they get the red-carpet five-star-hotel celebrity treatment. Maybe not every day, and maybe not long-term (because I get so tired of it after a while) but for a few solid years you will be well taken care of.
So I’m in my car, laughing at myself, for being so insanely idiotic. Illogical, irrational, and just plain irritating. Of course I can do this.
From there, my ever-analyzing brain asked the question: well if YOU can do it, why didn’t it work?
Ah. That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? That’s the NEXT BIG STEP in figuring out what the hell happened between 2008 and 2012. Well, I can tell you why it didn’t work: HE couldn’t do it. Sure, he tried. We both tried. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do lots of things. Things that I consider to be basic requirements for the foundation of any relationship. He couldn’t, for example, respect me. At all. His idea of respect is, quite frankly, a joke. To be clear – I’m not bashing my practice husband. I’m just reflecting on what I realized the other day, laughing at myself in the car.
There is no logical reason to be afraid. Everything I have learned about Dave in the past eight months has shown me that he is, and will continue to be, an excellent partner. This is something that I lacked before. I was pulling my weight in the relationship, and my counterpart was not. I need not worry about history repeating itself. For starters, Dave is fantastic. For seconders, I have grown to respect myself and I won’t take any shit that I don’t want to. I know how to assert myself, albeit in a neutrally-toned and polite way. No more doormat Kyrston, folks.
Once I figured that out, I couldn’t wait to go to Dave and tell him the “news” – that I could be excited to move in with him because I FINALLY figured it out. He just smiled and nodded, perhaps as if he knew it all along, or perhaps because he was just glad that the crazy had ended. At least for that particular issue. I’m still batshit crazy, but I think he’s okay with my brand of crazy.
So, for the past few days, we have been “reinventing” the space. It is important to me that the flow of energy be different, that it look different, that it not be “his” apartment that I am just moving my stuff into. I asked him again and again if I could change things around. He insisted that he just wanted me to be happy. I promised not to toss anything out without asking.
I did a lot of things. After all, he has been a man living alone for more than five years. It’s a lovely space – he has impeccable taste and it’s beautifully decorated – but certain things just aren’t practical. Read: I don’t like them and so I will use practical as an excuse to change it.
For example, there is one towel hook on the door. Technically it has two hooks but it’s one piece of hardware. Everyone knows you can’t hang two towels on it, they will fall down. Also, I use two towels by myself. That shit’s not gonna work for me. So I bought a six-pronged towel rack that hangs on the door. Perfect.
I replaced his shower liner and the shower curtain, because I didn’t like the one he had and it didn’t fit quite right. While I was at it, I replaced the shower rings that the curtain and liner hang on. Because I was in the store and I am a sucker for grabbing everything I see that I want.
I bought little plastic containers for things like q-tips and cotton balls and my bazillion hairties and bobby pins that are currently just all over his apartment, which I hate. I also bought one of those things you put toothbrushes in. And cloth bins for the shelves in the bathroom to store my assorted girl crap. And the few items that were on the shelves. And an over-the-tank toilet paper reserve thingy. And I fixed the hardware that is supposed to hold the toilet paper roll. One piece fell off so I used a swiss army knife to screw it back in. I moved the mirror that was in his bedroom to the bathroom, because apparently the apartment-builders think their tenants are ten feet tall… even when I stand on my tiptoes I can only see to my nose. That is not going to work for me.
I also tossed out the bag of socks under his sink that are for dusting…. because I’ll be the one dusting and I am not using socks. I bought tupperware and (with his permission) returned the plates/bowls to the thrift store where he got them… the man has service for eight already, who needs service for five more? We went through junk drawers together and had a lovely afternoon where he asked me what he should keep and what he should toss… like receipts for things he bought five years ago. (Actually, that was for furniture, and it made sense to keep them. I am just teasing. Love you honey.)
We tore through that apartment, talking about how to rearrange furniture and how to deal with clothing. I hang everything, but his apartment doesn’t have any closets (weird) so he uses two dressers and this spinning department-store style rack. My dad offered to build us a free-standing wardrobe so everything could hang and we could put the dressers and spinny rack in storage. My dad also gave me a feather comforter, and when I went to get the duvet cover, I went ahead and got new sheets too. Whole new bed set, essentially. It’s this cool dark purple with cream sheets. Dave loves purple.
At first, I was a little worried that it would bother him that I basically barged in and changed everything, as if it would offend him to change his space, like it meant it wasn’t good enough. I expressed this to him and he just waved me off, insisting that he wants me to be happy and he doesn’t care. He then went on to tell me that I am “a good getter-of-stuff to make the place better” and he loves all the changes. FTW.
I have the best partner EVER!
On a slightly related note, I am still waiting to receive the books I mentioned in my last post for the Seven Principles project. I actually emailed the seller to ask where they hell they were, and also where is my tracking information? Sigh. Keep your eyes peeled for that!
To summarize… do your emotions come from a base emotion of fear or desire? Is the thought “I can’t?” at the bottom of your self-esteem? How do you identify with failure – do you take personal responsibility for any bad thing that happens to you? Do you give yourself enough credit? Are you honest about how things happen? Because – although I can say that what happened in my past is partially my fault – it was never because I couldn’t be a roommate, girlfriend, wife, partner, lover, or friend. I totally CAN.
THAT is exciting.