Archives for posts with tag: the crumpled paper analogy

Fuck, being a human primate can be ridiculously complicated and fraught with misunderstanding, conflict, distraction, and absolutely pointless emotional garbage, sometimes. Just saying, I am not enjoying my Sunday experience, today. I seem to be endlessly at odds with my Traveling Partner, which completely sucks (and not in any of the good ways). I am in pain, which is more suckage layered on top of other suckage, and the end result? Unusual. (Maybe that’s progress?)

I am sitting in the “food court” seating of my local grocery store, thinking thoughts, drinking an electrolyte beverage, and… writing. Using my cell phone instead of my computer at home. My Traveling Partner is trying to get some rest after our unpleasant moment(s) (which were peculiarly interspersed with a couple very nice meals, and some fun hang out time). I can’t seem to find a really good way to create (or maintain) a reliably quiet environment for him to nap, typically. So, yeah, I got the fuck out of the house, without really having a plan… but I did have a couple errands and a short grocery list.

I ran out of errands and shopping in about an hour. That’s shit for nap-worthy time, so I figured I’d just sit down somewhere and write. I don’t have to be at home to put words to page, so… yeah. Tick a self-care box, however awkwardly.

That’s sort of where shit went wrong this morning… My Traveling Partner was feeling restless and wanting to go for a drive – we’d had so much fun doing that yesterday! He invited me to go for another drive. I get it. It did sound fun, and we did have a great time yesterday… only… there were (and are) other things I very much wanted to do today, and I said so. Somehow it managed to become an unpleasant interaction; the more I tried to “explain” with some sort of reason not to go, the more annoyed he got. I felt like I was being criticized for wanting to do things other than “whatever he wants to do”. I don’t think that’s how he intended it (or how it actually was), any more than I was intending to reject him as a person (though it sure seemed at some points that he was taking it that way).

Most troubling for me is that I came away from the discussion feeling perhaps I am “too much to handle”, or that I have no legitimate potential to be a better partner (than I am)… or a partner at all…

He went for a drive, by himself. I had a couple hours to myself. When he returned home things were strained and frosty for a while. I made lunch. We ate. Things seemed to be improving… It’s rarely that easy, eh? So… here I am. Writing a blog post at the grocery store. lol New experience. I wonder what I can learn from this?

Yesterday, though? Amazing. Entirely different experience. What an incredibly lovely day together. We went for a drive out towards one of the interesting camping destinations we had discussed (but which my partner couldn’t reach due to snow just a few days ago). We figured most of the snow would be gone after a few days of heat. (Foreshadowing; we were wrong!)

It was a gorgeous day to go for a drive. A great day to share an adventure with this human being I love so deeply! As we headed further into the forest, we saw a couple unexpected camouflage-wearing guys, just walking down the road… no gear. My partner slowed down and we stopped to ask if they were okay? Nope. They were stuck in a snow bank up the road, and had been walking down the mountain hoping to catch a cell signal. (Good luck with that, there!) My partner offered to give them a ride back to their truck and pull them out, if we could. We could. We did. It was amazing to feel so prepared! Being able to give fellow travelers a hand feels great. It was even fun.

I am impressed and proud of my Traveling Partner and his skill and general readiness. I am super excited to get out there with him again, more, and further. Nothing about today’s stress changes yesterday’s joy, delight, and wonder. I make time to reflect on that and cherish him from afar.

It’s hard to get “everything” “right all the time”, and however much I may feel like this is what is required or expected of me, it’s not a reasonable expectation. What is reasonable is that I will make room to listen, make a point of hearing my partner, communicating that he is heard, continuing to do my best, and keep practicing.

I know my results will vary. I know frustration and disappointment suck. Still, my best effort has to be enough (for me), even when it also “isn’t enough” (for someone else). Intent matters. Will matters. Sometimes I am going to fail. That’s just real. When I do? I will begin again.

It is a quiet morning. I slept in, and managed to do so in spite of a ringing phone next to my bed, left turned up from the night before. I woke minutes before my exhausted, distressed traveling partner arrived at my door. At this point there is little about my leisurely morning that differs from many other leisurely mornings; I have my coffee, and this safe and quiet place, and I am writing.

There are differences; each day, each moment, each experience differ subtly one from another, however similar in most regards. Today, some differences are small (I spent the morning writing notes on holiday cards, checking addresses, and getting them into the mail – as usual, at the last possible minute). Other differences are more significant; my traveling partner is sleeping in the other room, exhausted but feeling safe and able to sleep in this quiet space. I am ‘standing watch’, quietly writing and drinking my coffee. We care for each other in the face of any challenges the world throws our way, and today he earnestly needs to rest, to give in to sleep, until he wakes rested and able to reason clearly. My vigil affects the content of my thoughts and the emotional tone of the morning. I take time for me, too, ensuring I don’t inherit my partner’s stress (which could potentially render me less able to be rational and supportive). Quiet mornings are excellent for meditation. Meditation is excellent for maintaining perspective and balance in the face of stress.

Today balance is important, most particularly that balance between honest recognition of difficult circumstances in a relationship, and not over-stepping the boundaries as friend, lover, and partner by dictating decision-making in a ‘you need to…’ or ‘you have to…’ sort of way; there’s no win in doing so. The outcome of telling a loved one what he or she ‘must do’ about a problematic relationship is rarely anything other than later stress and agita over the outcome, whatever the decision-making may have been. So, I do my best to simply love my partner well, and listen deeply, and answer only the questions asked, and to do so honestly but without attempting to persuade or influence – to ‘be here’ for my partner, without making demands on his decision-making, whatever my own opinion may be. I sometimes feel as if I am holding a very detailed map… pointing at the map… and saying ‘you see where this is going?’, but it is truly not for me to make decisions about a relationship I am not part of, or to plan the route on a journey that is not mine.

I pause for a moment of compassion for the Other in the equation, feeling complicated emotions myself – a soup that includes concern, sadness, frustration, anger, and a very real helplessness. I have no power to improve things in any way, and no words to share that could change how many verbs are involved, how many choices are being made – or not made – or to ease the suffering, so much of which is self-inflicted. I take a few deep breaths, and think back on other years, other relationships, my own challenges, and as I exhale I let it all go. This one isn’t about me.

Storm-tossed, damaged, emotionally flooded - there is still a chance to begin again.

Storm-tossed, damaged, emotionally flooded – there is still a chance to begin again.

Today is a good day to practice those practices associated with listening deeply, with non-judgment, with acceptance and compassion. Today is a good day to practice those practices associated with not taking someone else’s experience personally; we are each having our own experience, truly. Today is a good day to avoid diving in to ‘fix’ something that isn’t mine, and that I haven’t been asked to fix. Today is good day to ‘be here’ for a friend, a lover, a partner – and to understand that sometimes just being here is enough.