It's not easy being married to me.
Sitting in the early morning light, strumming your guitar, sipping your coffee...
And I walk in.
With a notebook.
Is this a good time?
What’s he supposed to say.
I mean, I brought a notebook.
I like to think I’m like the writer, Joan Didion, who says she doesn’t know what she feels until she writes it down. Which sounds more glamorous coming from her than my, I’m awful in the moment. I get scattered then dismiss my intention as unimportant. Just sort it out yourself, I say, make a joke and get on with the day.
Which sometimes, is okay.
But when my heart feels heavy,
I know I need to stay with it and try my hardest to say it.
I know why I’m like this, but I still have to find a way to speak up and share my thoughts, the ones that might seem selfish and frivolous for even bringing them up.
He sees me struggle, sets the guitar down, sips his coffee and says, just say it. I don’t care how messy it is, just put it out there.
Starting is the hardest part.
Once it’s out there, he smiles and says,
“I thought you were breaking up with me.”
I forget that he knows this about me and married me anyway. I forget not to assume how he’ll answer. I forget that when I say hard things, it gives him permission to say them too. Because I’m not the only ones with thoughts that are hard to share. Thoughts that would be easier kept inside, but would make things better given some light.
I love this story from Erin Loechner’s book, Chasing Slow. She’s in a partner yoga class. The flier (Erin) is in a floating backbend, and the base (some guy) is supporting her weight.
Here’s the funny thing about that pose. It appears that the base is pushing back the flier and in a sense, he is. He is creating an unchanging foundation that the flier can trust herself with, can allow herself to lean into. Only then can her heart be opened, softened, stretched.
It looks like he’s pushing. It looks as if he will not budge.
One’s tension enables another’s ease.
One’s strength allows another’s softness.
One’s firmness offers another’s flexibility.
When we choose to be authentic in our relationships, when we choose to stand firm (to share our heart), we are offering a strong base. There is tension in this, but it is the precise amount of tension that another might need to soften, to flex, to change if they’d like.
Which is something I’ll keep practicing.
Maybe someday I won’t even need a notebook.