Chris is my lifeline.
It is hard to convey in words what that means. Only people who get to see us—get to experience and witness our relationship—could possibly understand what it means. What it looks like. What it feels like. The beauty that radiates from us. That he is mine and I am his and most importantly, that it is symbiotic and healthy.
God (a god I didn’t even know how to believe in just a few short years ago) has truly graced us with this unicorn blessing.
We work. For whatever reason, we work. The whole world disappeared when our paths finally crossed. And we are still under the impression that our paths had to have crossed before that. There are too many events that line up just right. We are certain that, if life could be viewed as a movie, the audience would have seen us sitting in the same L car or passing blindly in the street. Our paths not yet ready to cross, but unable to stay far apart any longer.
Despite all this unicorn business and the symbiosis and the perfectness of being together, life is still life and even the most perfect, meant-to-be relationship isn’t easy.
I come from a long relationship with someone else who was very much not meant to be. Try as he meant to be the one, no one can fake something like that for long. He can fake a lot of things. He can try to be exactly who he wishes he could be. But he couldn’t make himself that person. There were too many cracks in a fake foundation.
So enter a divorce. Enter destruction. Enter doing the right thing even though the right thing is so.fucking.hard. So enter Chris.
Chris and I are the relationship of the perfect couple you see in movies. Except we’re real people and this is real life, so we have issues. And we get our feelings hurt and we overreact and underreact and we get it all wrong and then we make it right and then we do it all over again a couple weeks later.
The point is though… We talk to one another. We humble ourselves. We offer suggestions and sometimes they’re not good suggestions, but we try. And sometimes…sometimes we fall down the rabbit hole.
Mostly it’s me falling down the hole.
I live inside my head. And this is a dangerous place to be because I (read: the anxiety and fear and paranoia) make up stories and dialogue in my head and then I go on trips with these imaginary falsities and I put in a lot of effort to go very far away with them, to only have to make the long trek back to reality alone. I don’t do this on purpose, mind you. It’s just how my brain is and try as I might to curb this ability, it’s really tough. So Chris is often trying to pull me out of the rabbit hole, all the while trying not to fall in himself. Like yesterday.
Yesterday I asked for his help with a suggestion I had. And he offered his help and all was good. Except my reaction, I guess didn’t make it seem “good” and so he offered further suggestions. I took these suggestions as him trying to invalidate my initial suggestion. And my god, his suggestions gave me huge anxiety and so….rabbit hole.
In hindsight, it is sorta kinda fairly easy to recognize that I could have calmly said something like, “that’s cool, thanks for those suggestions, but let’s stick with my initial suggestion” and that could have been the end of it. Ta da! All wrapped up with a pretty little bow. No harm. No foul.
But that is not how I reacted. Instead I decided he didn’t think my suggestion was a good one. He didn’t think it was good enough. He didn’t think I was enough. He wanted to be the one to fix me because I can’t fix me. I wasn’t capable or worthy or enough. And I got so damn defensive. And everything turned upside and got really blurry and it didn’t make any sense. And my throat closed off and my chest was heavy and my face was scrunching up in that weird way it does when I refuse to give anything or anyone the satisfaction of letting those hot tears flow from my eyes.
This reaction occurred involuntarily and without my permission in the matter of about 2.7 seconds.
And then I felt I had tainted the entire rest of the day with my childish, yet “I fully deserve to be acknowledged and validated damnit!” reaction.
So then I wasted a lot of time trying to find a way to nicely say “I felt invalidated” without then putting him on the defensive. He gets very upset when he says something that causes me to react badly. He doesn’t want to be the thing that causes my upsetness and I don’t want to be the thing that causes his upsetness. So then we just got back and forth walking on eggshells trying not to further hurt the other person or muck things up.
This moment in time sucks. This moment in time is spent with me frantically trying to figure out how I can fix it, but still have it be okay that he is just feeling his feelings.
By this time, I’m exhausted anyway because my brain just spent a half hour going so fucking far down the rabbit hole again that I’ve imagined Chris can’t possibly want to be with me anymore because I am so beyond fucked up and that he’ll want to call the whole damn thing off. Feeling invalidated two hours earlier is just a fucking blip because all I can think about now is that I’m too far gone and he’s done with me.
And this is where I try to remember to breathe. Because I’m pretty sure it hasn’t happened in quite some time. The breathing thing.
So I breathe. And I try to remember that Chris can feel his feelings, even if his feelings hurt. And even if it hurts me. I don’t have to fix it. I have to breathe.
And I have to kiss him. Because it is all too much and it is all suffocating and it is all a lie I just spent two hours exploring and forgot it wasn’t real.
The rabbit hole is fear and insecurity and so many dark thoughts running away with me. The rabbit hole is not feeling like I’m enough. The rabbit hole is prison. The rabbit hole is all those visitors knocking on my door and me flinging it open and shouting, “let’s go on an adventure!!” and then frolicking away with them.
Chris is sunshine. Chris is life. Chris is that touchstone that brings me back down to even.
What I wish is that during my rabbit hole moments, it didn’t bring him down too. Unfortunately, the catalyst that brings me out of the rabbit hole is usually that I see him going down his own and I can’t bear that. My head can be all sorts of fucked up and for whatever twisted reason, that is okay with me. But Chris getting himself all twisted up… That’s not okay. Seeing Chris upset reminds me that I can’t frolic with those friends anymore. That I have to be on my way to my own adventures. That I can’t go traipsing off with the visitors. That they’re not my friends. That it’s not safe. So I bid them farewell and I walk away. Because I’d much rather walk with Chris than with them. Sometimes—most of the time—I then have to invite Chris to walk with me instead of with his own visitors.
We find our way back to one another in a short amount of time, all things considered. Sometimes people are gone for months. Sometimes they never find their way back at all. Chris and I only have to endure it for a couple hours every now and again. It is excruciating. But no one ever said finding your way back home would be easy. They only said it would be worth it.