I have been living with myself as long as I can remember, and at the ripe old age of 43 I have realized that no matter how much therapy, self-talk and medication, there are just some things I won’t be able to change about how I think.
For example, Bill has horrible restless legs and is a night owl, so I always head up to bed at a non-respectable 8:30 while he retreats the the basement and his man cave. Sometimes, he falls asleep on the couch and is still there when I get up for work.
However, instead of leaving him be, I put on my CSI hat and stealthily check to see if he’s still breathing. If I can’t hear anything, I don’t give my proof of life quest. I put a hand to his forehead to make sure he’s still warm.
Because, yes, in my head I completely believe that he might expire during the night while watching a Ken Burns documentary. And every time, I walk through my plan in case he isn’t warm. Call the police, arrange him so he looks all right, call my parents and gently wake the kids. This seems completely natural to me.
But my day to day anxieties don’t end there. If I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I will listen intently while, again, plotting my plan in case there is ever someone in the house.
But it’s not good enough to have one plan. There’s a plan if an intruder is coming up the stairs, in the kitchen or in the basement.
Sorry, Bill. You’re on your own there. I’ll tell the kids you were brave.
I used to hide these pieces of myself, afraid they would scare people away. They make no sense, and I get that most people don’t think this way. Even typing this, I hear voices saying, “You have kids, a dog and two cats. When would the house be quiet?”
I used to hide all of this from Bill too. I mean, what would he think? But maybe it’s because we’ve been married so long, or maybe I’m just tired of hiding, or maybe I’m just lazier about covering this shit up, but I started letting him in on this.
And you know what?
He. Gets. It.
Which means, more importantly,
He. Gets. Me.
So when I order groceries from Shipt (because you know how much I hate grocery shopping) and I make him answer the door, because, you know, strange people, he doesn’t balk. At all.
When I text him continually when the Got Junk people are here because it makes me feel like I’m not alone with them and I have a witness in case I get brutally murdered, He. Gets. It.
And this isn’t a gesture I take lightly. It is immensely beneficial to my mental health to have someone who will listen to my rages, who doesn’t take my shit personally, and who responds to irrational texts with “I love you, and everything will be ok.”
So why can’t I drink out of the mug?
Did you look at those eyes? How can I possibly DROWN THE DOG???? It’s watching me with love and trust! I feel horrible enough that dust collects on him messing up his cute fur coat.
So right now it sits on the counter like some sort of odd decoration until I figure out what to do. And Bill never moves it.
Because he gets it.