Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finding Normal

It's 4 am and I am awake...again. As of late this is a totally normal thing. The only difference is today I am not going to lay in bed hoping that sleep will find me. I am so over being a patient person in regards to all the stuff I am processing through. Ugh...processing.  That seems to have become a dirty word as I am so tired of hearing it or using it. Usually I lay in bed waiting, ever so patiently for sleep to find me so I can drift off back to dreamland. But if I am going to be honest with myself I am going to admit that if I do remember dreaming, they would be considered nightmares. Sure, they seem peaceful enough... and then there are a few threads of truth to my dreams, enough to remind me how scary the life I once led would be terrifying for most.

See, I sit here so torn. Do I talk about the reality of the shell of the person I am coming out of being, do I put the truth out there knowing there might be a few people from my combined life with my ex still reading my blog? Tough decisions. But the reality is, I am finding that where I am is the common humanity thread among a lot of women I know. My label for so long was the #partnerofanaddict. Now, due to divorce I am merely a survivor. But a lot of people do not have to have been married to an addict- they have a childhood or even a season of life they are trying to overcome- not realizing the extent of the damage they have to overcome.

So many people think because the marriage I once had has ended, their unintended naive remark is "Well that's good. At least you are out of that situation and moving on..." Hmmm, really?  Some days I don't feel like I am moving on? Most days I fight feeling stuck. In cold tar. Fighting with all I have to make it through another #trigger. Yes trigger- not moment, hour, day, or week.

Triggers... insane feelings, emotional responses that pop up, at the most inopportune time reminding you of all the years you have lost- the hurt, pain and grief you now feel, and all the post traumatic stress you never knew you had and are working through. And they happen All. Day. Long. But if I want to add the silver lining to this- triggers mean I am now safe. See, we don't have triggers until our brains really know it is time to re calibrate and find a new normal. So now I know why I couldn't stand certain smells, didn't like certain foods, didn't ever want to eat at particular restaurants, and found myself freaking out after a few moments of laughter with my kids. My old responses now all have meaning and it is so extremely clear. It is amazing what the mind can do, how it can heal itself. I have not had to fill in the gaps, it has all just come flooding to me when a particular trigger pops up.

My trigger at 4 am? Intimacy. No- not sex. Intimacy. Intimacy implies an acquaintance of one’s partner with privileged information. A unique knowledge of your partner? Having them know all my flaws and idiosyncrasies and still loving me because of this knowledge. Intimacy is vulnerable ...to open yourself to another knowing you can be hurt. But the love part in intimacy doesn't hurt- it is not supposed to hurt. Intimacy in a loving, caring relationship is used to connect and have closeness and they would never hurt you. And then it hits me...I recognize I don't know what the hell intimacy really is. I know the terminology. I can now define it. But the sad part is, I can define it because it strikes the fear of God into my soul when I now try to experience it with my new husband. I realize as the ex partner of an addict, intimacy wasn't ever part of our relationship. Intimacy before was used to hurt me, not to love me.

He, my new husband, tells me I am beautiful. I freeze. My breath catches in my throat. I look like an idiot as blink repeatedly. Time stands still as tumultuous thoughts of defense run through my mind. "What does he want?" "How badly will it hurt my heart of I accept the compliment only to realize it was suppose to be intended as currency?" "Do I have it in me to 'give' or will it feel taken at the end of it all?"... He doesn't know this has gone through my mind and jokingly prompts me to say thank you. So I do, reluctantly and with a lot of hesitation. Tyson gives me a low chuckle and asks me to try it again-without the question mark at the end. It takes me about 5 tries, because I am fighting the old, negative thought process of "What is this compliment going to cost me emotionally?".

And now I realize... this is what normal is. This is what life should be like. Normal. I am loved, and there are no strings attached. Compliments are free. Affection shows love, not lust. And intimacy is there for me to match him in our unique relationship - to become more connected, attached and committed to each other. Intimacy isn't just hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc... it is the physical closeness, with the emotional closeness to back it up. And just because I haven't really had it before, doesn't mean I need to be scared of it. I just need to find my normal. It requires self compassion, self care, great friends, and a relationship with my Heavenly Father.

So here's to all of you out there, that may be in my same boat. Here's to normal- whatever that is, and whatever you want it to be.