Perhaps this is the reason for my apparent 'different writing style' as was announced by my husband last night?
I prefer to think of these past two years as,
I chose days because
hours didn't look as night in my graphic every DAY I had to make a choice. EVERY. DAY. The choice wasn't the same every day. Some days the choices presented to me were easy to chose. Other days so very difficult. But the days that were the most challenging by far, were the days where I wasn't even sure what the choices were. Sadly those days were plentiful.
We all know marriages and relationships in general are work. HARD work. Throw ttwd in the mix and well life just got a whole lot more 'interesting'. Speaking strictly for myself here, year two and the beginning of year 3 has been difficult because the lines keep changing. The writing on the wall is no longer there. What once was is no longer, and yet it is. We have changed so much and at such a slow pace we don't even recognize those changes in ourselves for the most part. The natural evolution, however has given the changes in us very strong roots, buried deep beneath the soil.
Have you ever heard the quote, " If you repeat the chapters, the ending will never change" ? During these past 2 plus years I have read, and written. I have communicated and listened. I think for us, for me, there came a time where I needed to find a new book. As I mentioned before, I ventured to places I had never been . I honestly don't think I was 'searching' for something. But something FOUND me. It took me a while to get used to a place where basically no one knows your background. They formulate their opinions on just what is presented to them at the moment. That can be a bit terrifying at first. For myself , it worked out tremendously in many regards ( inner thigh spankings not one of the things I would categorize as 'tremendous').
The questions directed at me where just that- questions directed AT me, about me. Barney was taken out of the equation and in turn my thought process. That sounds horrible doesn't it? Well it wasn't/isn't. For those who don't know our story to Dd like many of you, but not all, it began with me. I needed more out of life. I wanted to feel, to express, to desire, to engage, be the woman on the outside that I knew was on the inside, as I have said countless times. The first few months of Dd I focused on ME. On how I had to open up. How I had to change. To not be afraid. To let that woman out. To let the little voice inside me become the LOUDEST voice inside me. Many call the first few months of Dd the honeymoon phase. Many long to go back there and feel that rush. For me it was bitter sweet. Almost like high school, some memories are great, but dig a little deeper and there was a LOT of angst too.
Our first year of Dd was, well challenging. Simply put Barney appeared to have a blockage ( his words not mine~ although I agree) and me, well.... The second year seemed to be more about Barney's growth. This past summer in particular. When I refer to growth, I don't actually mean his willingness to spank. (We had issues with 'injuries' for a long time but more on that another time). So many difficult times that erupted out of what I thought was nowhere. So many difficult conversations. So much pain in many ways. Each time giving way to a small glimmer of hope and understanding. Each time, I wish to GOD I could remember the positive is right around the corner in the midst of all the pain.
Last month, or maybe it was longer ago than that, we had one of our most painful exchanges in a long while. Perhaps ever as the depths of these waters only seem to grow with time. After listening to conversations that actually weren't about Barn or myself, I took some things to heart. " Why would you ask him to do something he clearly isn't comfortable with? " " Submission isn't a gift it is a burden" ( I btw don't think it is a gift. Again maybe some day I'll talk about that). Something happened around here, or not more likely, and I went off to
pout think. The hurt changed to anger, back to frustration, to numbness. Later I said to Barney when he gave me his expectations for the night while he was away,
" Don't worry about it. I won't ask you to do something that isn't in you anymore. It is okay"
After collapsing in a chair, he looked at me and said,
" I don't believe you. You are testing me to see if I will push back"
" With every fibre of my being I wish that were true B. No I am not testing you. I mean it. I won't ask for something you don't want"
With that he left. When he left, it felt like he left me more than just physically. I honestly meant what I said. I wasn't testing him. I just didn't expect to feel so empty. That night I packed up all things we had accumulated over the past 2 years. Not just implements but jewelry, dresses. lingerie, toys. Anything that reminded me. Again I did so not in a huff, but numb. As I hefted the boxes into the attic for a brief moment a feeling of relief came over me, in the most unusual way. I was relieved that I didn't have to worry about how my reactions affected our new life, his ego or lack thereof in his appointed position. That moment spoke volumes to me. How would I ever feel like he was in control and leading if I was editing myself? I don't mean to be respectful- I mean in fear of him being frustrated or upset with HIMSELF. In that area there was a lack of trust on my part. (Some of its validity founded in past experiences). That moment past as I closed the hatch to the attic. Leaving behind something that I thought I wanted in our lives. And opening up the door to 'okay now what?"
Why anger of course. That horrid emotion that bubbles to the surface and shrouds all other emotions in a force field. " Screw him then. No ttwd. No unguarded me. And your 'safety stuff' pfff! " Well that phase lasted all of 3 minutes before breaking down into buckets of tears and snot. ( Stupid Dd messed with my force field. Now it is faulty) I didn't want to not give him guarded me!
I could still live without Officer Barney Safety Coordinator. I wanted/want to give him ME. I didn't WANT to go back, and I honestly didn't think I knew how to 'go back'.
In that moment I realized I had discovered another piece to my puzzle. My core was projecting outwardly. Now *I* could see it. It is one thing for those around you to recognize something and for you to agree, but it is something entirely different to feel it. To know it. To now have conviction in it. There is great peace found once that happens. The wind has died, and the leaves are no longer turned up. The water calm, clear as glass.
Wonderful. So now I can see my reflection but what of his? Nothing I can do about that. Embarrassment set in. Fear holding its hand. I thought back to the time we sat on our bed recently . Barney waiting patiently for me to expose my thoughts and feelings to him. Unlike so many times in the past there was no Final Jeopardy music in the background, just a man patiently waiting for his wife to do battle with herself and tell him what was troubling her. That sweet memory erased and replaced with such an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment. It was soon followed by the chant in my head, " How could you be so stupid Wilma? Why couldn't you just keep your big mouth shut " Which brought me to , " Two years. Two years wasted . Well not wasted but the pain. And for what now? "
Barney came home late that night. I had to talk to him. (I looked like sh*t by the way. I am so NOT a sweet crier.) I needed something. What, I wasn't sure. We talked for hours. His growth came. He said to me.
" All my life I thought that being a nice guy was good enough" ( My heart sank to those words. He really did think I was trying to change him) "Let me finish. It isn't enough. Being polite, and kind are good attributes to have, but not enough when it comes to your wife and family. You need to be actively involved. You need to outwardly show that you care, not assume they can see or feel it. You need to know I am here for you. You need to feel it. I can't assume that you just do"
We continued again with our circular discussion. I was exhausted by this point and excused myself. I explained to him that it really had nothing to do with him, but I was too embarrassed to sleep in the same bed with him that night. Again, I really wasn't trying to force his hand. I thought we were done for the night, until he 'found' me. We didn't talk long he just asked if I could find it in myself to come to bed with him. Swallowing my pride I did.
The next day, like the slow kid in class who just doesn't get it, I went to him again. I had to know how he felt about the past 2 years. I had no agenda, other than expelling the pit from my stomach. I did long to know why he would continue ttwd for 2 years if it wasn't what he wanted. I needed to pick at my own wound I suppose.
He explained how he knew this is what *we* needed. He said he understood and could see how Dd gave him me. All of me. To this day he still doesn't understand why that is, he just knows it does. And has decided to not think of the whys any longer.
Sometimes he feels uncomfortable, but not as much anymore. He told me that Dd doesn't just make me feel vulnerable at times. It has put a mirror to him and often he didn't like what he saw. Not the HOH part, the man before. He tried to explain how difficult that realization was. Once again I felt awful. He assured me all of this was a good thing. I have to trust him of course because Lord knows he has seen me at my most broken since ttwd started and has still trusted this was the right path for us. On that note he explained that he does become overwhelmed by my emotions at times. ( True fact aside from happy tears I didn't really cry for the 20 years we have been together..and NOW I am making up for lost time!)
He informed me we would carry on our new life. I asked for one amendment and explained why. He agreed ( it is very minor not really Dd related ) and told me he understood.
About a month later it hit the proverbial fan again. I'll spare you the body-shaking-sobs story ( a lot of crying, feeling like I shouldn't have shared...you know the same old stuff again). THIS time it hit me, the bottom line was, I felt that I needed him more than he needed me. I felt he was more important to me than I was to him. The quote, "In your relationship be an asset not a hindrance" rang through my ears. A thought that cut very deep.
Among my snot and tears I told Barney how I felt, . Once Barney heard my words and worry, pain existed on his face too. His pain he explained stemmed from what he said the month before. He felt he had failed me, by not in reassuring me. Failed in SHOWING me, I am every bit as important to him, and that he needs me just as much. ALL of me. Ttwd is part of me. Now of us. More simply put, he believed HE was the reason for my tears.
Why tell you all of this in my two year reflection post? What I have learned most of all, NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SHUT UP
The Never Give Up I hope is self explanatory. But if it isn't~ I am stubborn. In both good and bad ways. You know the saying, " Those who say it can't be done, shouldn't interrupt those who are doing " ? This was me during our first 2 years of Dd. Don't tell me to be happy with what I have-to be content he tried. To me he said yes, and (with the exceptions of a few times lol) until he said NO I was going to do everything I could to help keep us flowing towards the us we both longed for. If he dropped the ball, I would
EVENTUALLY pick it up and hand it back. Yes I knew I could only change myself, but in many ways I thought that was the key here. I am not taking the full burden of this relationship, but I asked for it, I wasn't going to be the one to let it slide because I wasn't doing my part.
As for the Never Shut up:
All, I repeat all of our issues as of late seem to come from me 'shutting up'. At first glance opening up AFTER would seem to be the reason, but it is not. I feel 'things' coming on. I used to tell Barney, 'I don't know what is happening but something is brewing'. Somewhere along the line I decided it wasn't in our best interest to share. Maybe I would be 'manipulating' or tearing down at his confidence. Again all assumptions on my part. If I had just turned to him maybe things wouldn't have escalated. Maybe they would have. To be truthful I haven't a clue, but the angst prior would have been lessened for me. Sharing in the past was different. In the past it was more, 'when you do this or don't do that it makes me feel (insert good or bad)" or " I feel myself getting bitchy." Perhaps even deeper thoughts and feelings, but always something concrete.
Now life isn't so simple.
Despite what this post may seem to some, I am NOT in a bad place. Not by a long shot. I am a little lost I won't deny that. But I am certainly not scared. Things are changing around here, sometimes in the physical sense, but as been with so much of our 'adventure', more than that. I feel like someone is spinning me like you do prior playing to Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I stop for a bit, focus, try and pin the tail on. Some days I get closer than others. Before I can spend much time rejoicing in the accuracy of my attempts I am spinning again. It is okay though. More than okay. I am coming to understand more of myself-much like I did at the start of this adventure 2 years ago. This time on a different level. Heck a different dimension some days!
I don't know where Barney will take our relationship next. All I do know is that HE will be the one to do so. This is an unusual mindset for me. I can honestly say I have no vision of what our future could or will look like. I trust him. There will be 'more' -whatever that means when he is ready. Once the thought excited me. Now it brings me both fear, and peace. Fear because I know there will be many more painful days of discovery ahead. I am ready for that. (I could have written so so much more here about our lives as of late). I know it is necessary for me, for us. There will be more confusion. BUT after that another time of contentment and peace.
A friend's husband said this to her, and at the time it struck a cord in me. Now I feel it too. Not in relation to comparing with others, but because I finally feel that together we are striving for a better us. Ttwd has never been about changing either one of cores, merely a tool to allow them to shine the way they were intended to.