Monday, April 03, 2006

Circle of Trust or Enemy Camp?

Bean and I have not been having a good few days, so please forgive us for being M.I.A. Bean is currently in Texas because a member of her husband's family passed away last week. She and Tex drove down from Utah. It's a difficult time for both of them. For him, he's lost someone he's close to, and for her, she has to see someone that she loves in pain. Thankfully, he has her to support him through this time. Funerals and dealing with death are so incredibly difficult, no matter the circumstances. Dealing with death alone is awful. Nobody should ever have to do that.

Bean told me to keep up the blog in her absence, but unfortunately, moving-out, moving-in, and finding myself sharing a tiny little space tripping over boxes and fighting with Boyfriend left me feeling too stressed and drained to write this weekend. I felt yesterday like my chest was imprisoned in this heavy, tight, metal sack that was weighing me down, and I felt closed in and sad. I felt like I had no where to go to feel better. Being depressed is no fun, and it's no fun to write about, especially when you're right in the midst of it. When I tried to express this over the weekend, I was accused of being dramatic. I wish I was a drama queen. It would no doubt be far more entertaining then feeling depressed.

This is how bad this weekend made me feel: When I arrived at my office this morning (Monday Morning), I felt relatively soothed and calmed. That's a BIG problem, when coming in to a place that regularly gives me stomach aches makes me feel better than spending Sunday in "my" new home. Which incidentally I did not. Instead, I spent most of Sunday walking the streets of my new neighborhood contemplating the status of my life and my relationship. I walked and thought in lots of circles. It was better than sitting on the bathroom floor crying, and it gave me some time to reflect.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that your home should be your center, your oasis of calm. It should be a soothing refuge in which you can heal and rejuvenate and be happy. My fear of losing that peaceful space was one of the major reasons that I had doubts about moving. During this past year, my home has been one of the constant positives in my daily life. My friends and family are not in New York, but I had a nice apartment close to work that was pretty, filled with light and windows, and all decorated in purples and pinks. What could be better? It made me happy, and since it was mine and I was alone, I could do anything that I wanted at any time. I could do yoga and pilates on my living room floor, I could curl up on my futon and watch movies, I could be quiet and still and think, or I could be loud and happy and listen to music.

Sometimes I used the space for semi-destructive things, like eating too much, and sometimes I felt very lonely. But I would get myself together, walk down to Blockbuster, get some movies and mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I would feel better. Or I would write in my journal, or go to they gym, or call my friends or my family, and I would feel better. I had space in which to feel sad and to cry when I needed to, and I had space in which I could get away mentally and emotionally from everything that was upsetting me so that I could reflect and rebalance. Now, that space feels like it is gone, and I'm in a bit of a quandry as to how to go about recreating that mental and emotional space now that I'm sharing my very small living space with someone else.

During my walk, I talked to my friend Pas for a bit. It cheered me up to hear her voice. It's been far too long since I talked with her. She told me about some of the details of her upcoming wedding, set to take place in November. A half a year ago, Pas went to North Carolina for a job and hated Carolina, but wonders of wonders, she met a man that is perfect for her. I'm very happy for her. I can't wait for the wedding, and to finally meet this boy that has brought such happiness into her life. She says he is a male version of her, which is just really funny. Pas is quirky, smart, beautiful, passionate and wonderful. It's nice to know there's another her in him form out there, and that they found each other. It makes me believe there might be some truth to that whole soul mate concept.

I shared a little bit with Pas about the issues Raj and I had this weekend, but not much. Since Raj and I got back together 4 months ago, I have had hardly any conversations about "us" with my friends - at least not about fights or issues between Raj and I. While we were apart, I turned to my friends and analyzed our relationship and what had gone wrong, tried to figure out what I still felt for Raj, and I tried to get perspective. But now that we are back together, things are different. Or at least, they should be different. As part of my decision to get back together with him, I made a conscious decision to focus on working out our issues with him, and to keep everyone else and their opinions at a distance. This is part of what my therapist calls building a "wall of trust" between the two people in a relationship. In Focker speak, that would be a "Circle of Trust." Sometimes it's hard to keep that relationship wall intact, but I do my best to not add cracks to it by airing relationship laundry. That is for Raj and I, and no one else, to sort through and clean.

That goes for my family as well. I am very close with my family, but I try to refrain from sharing the details of our issues with them. This is not because I don't think they would support me or be fair minded to Raj, because I'm sure they would be. And it's not because I feel like they wouldn't be able to give me valuable insight, because I'm sure they would. It's because I want my family to like Raj, and I want Raj to feel comfortable with them. I don't want to risk my family building up grudges, or ever create a situation where Raj feels like he's walking into enemy camp when he's visiting with my family - and an enemy camp is what it would be if they've all heard every detail of only my side of each one of our fights.

The other alternative, to have Raj tell my family his side of every one of our fights, is even more problematic. I most certainly do not want my family refereeing my relationship (nor his of course!), and poking their noses into places they simply do not belong. Regardless of how well meaning the poking might be, it's still poking and it's ultimately damaging to the relationship. When you are on the outside of a relationship looking in, you never truly understand what's going on in the inside, so your opinion is always distorted. Anyone who has ever said to a friend, Break up with him, he's horrible, only to have your friend make-up with the boy and look at you askance knows what I'm talking about. Because there's no practical or desirable way to get both sides out there, the only fair approach is to keep both sides between the two of you, where they belong, and where you can deal with them together. As you should.

I feel as if I'm a bit all over the place in this post, but I suppose that is an expression of where I'm at emotionally and mentally at the moment. I still feel uprooted, but work, somewhat shockingly, is having a stabilizing effect on me today. I'm surprised that all of these issues were kicked up this weekend, but I suppose I should have expected this to happen. My therapist told me that moving is stressful, and that it was going to be difficult. She was right. Well, now that I have passed Phase I, I'm hoping Phase II will be much better. At least there are no more boxes to move (except for a few last minute things to bring to storage). Hallelujah! Another positive: Raj brought home yellow tulips for the apartment, and they look beautiful on the coffee table. I appreciate flowers, and I also appreciate efforts to make amends.


Wood said...

I'm really sorry I missed your call yesterday.

It's tough to lose your own space and all of the good things you had there, but over time, you can have that space again with someone else. It's an adjustment, and it takes time.

thinking of you.

wordnerd said...

Hi Buttercup, I think your good friend Wood said it I guess I won't repeat that.

I did however face a similar situation a few years back when me and my now husband (then boyfriend) first moved into a bachelor apartment when we first moved to a new city together right afer law school.

Not sure if this will work for you, but what I found that helped me through it was to create a sanctuary for myself ...which was all my own. SInce our apartment was so small, it could not be IN the I started doing a few REGULAR things for me...and me alone...a few times a week. I joined a book club, read the newspaper at a coffee shop, did pilates at a studio rather than home and took up photography which gave me a great excuse to wander a bit on my own. We got used to the space and each other after a few months and now look back on those times and smile....not because we romanticize these times but because we know that they were DAMN HARD and that we got through them anyway.

Good luck in finding that calm and peace you are looking for.

Pas said...

Sounds like an adjustment period, for sure. Moving is always, always uncomfortable and I would imagine even more so, considering your work situation.

And thanks for the kind, kind words! That was very sweet.

Buttercup said...

Thanks Girls! Wordnerd, that is an absolutely wonderful idea, and I am going to spend some time thinking about how I can create some sort of sanctuary just for myself out of the home. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Tracy said...

Hi Buttercup,

I'm glad that, at least, you have your blog to get some of that stuff off your chest! I know you don't want to air all of your dirty laudry with all your friends, but I think it is almost impossible to keep all of the "negative" things in a relationship private. Don't feel bad if you have to blow off some steam to a friend or to your sis every once in a while.

wordnerd said...

Buttercup...noticed you took down the post on your mental healthy it and didn't have time to post a comment.

I wanted to say see, it gave me a really good and constructive approach to illness. My husband suffers from very serious diabetes and I've tried alot of things to convince him to get the proper help he needs. He's not abusive towards his health...but certainly doesn't look after himself in the way he I'd largely given up on that part of 'helping/fixing him'....but there was something about the way you wrote that post that made me want to try again...from the angle of helping him create a team of people to help him manage this disease properly. Anyway, sorry so long...but I did love the post and wanted to let you know that it inspired me to try again....I'll call it MD's Diabetic Ass-kicking Tribe.

Take care