Honeymoon Do-Over

If I had the chance, I’d do it over. Not that we didn’t have fun, because we did. I just think we missed out on something, or maybe there’s just a dimension that exists now that wasn’t there back then. It could have been, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know if we were ready for it then.

Back then, I cared too much about the silly things. I didn’t eat seafood, didn’t like the bed, and it was entirely too cold to swim. I didn’t do PDA, I didn’t like wine, and I was very self-conscious about how I looked. The list goes on, I was so reserved. I think we only had sex once or twice (seriously, I can’t even remember). We saw the island, but I think we missed out on an experience. We missed out on one another.

If I could go back, I’d dance with him on the cliffs, maybe a waltz around the perimeter, not noticing if anyone else was around. I’d sit atop the seat in the convertible and try to touch the trees while he drove on laughing. I’d eat (and let him taste) more ice cream and take a long run with him along the water and make-out at all the lighthouses (maybe more?). I’d drink the wine and stop to pet all the dogs at the gingerbread cottages and open the curtains both day and night. I’d get him to skinny dip off the dock and have sex every morning and build a fire for no reason at all. I’d wake the neighbors (if you know what I mean) and sing with him in the shower and eat breakfast with nothing on. I’d make him coffee just the way he likes every single morning. I’d snuggle as often as I could and hold his hand and sit on his lap in public places or not. I’d insist on chartering a fishing boat and watch him catch the most amazing fish ever. I’d even let him touch me after. I’d watch the sunset from Menemsha with my face nuzzled in his neck while I whispered that I’ll love him forever. I’d take a long kayak trip with a picnic and find a secluded spot and have just him for lunch. I’d take my time strolling the gardens and arboretum and I’d see every blade of grass and every petal and leaf, quietly through his eyes. I’d be naughty and get kicked out of the theatre where we’d see ‘There’s Something About Mary’ and I’d leave not knowing a thing about Mary. I’d listen and hear and be quiet. I’d watch the wonder and awe on his face while we went whale watching.

But, most of all, I’d be HIM watching. And smiling. If I could do it all over.

Duct Tape

My youngest sister has called a few times, suggesting we take my mom to a nearby casino for her birthday in February. She wants us all to go, my two sisters, myself and my mother. Originally, I thought it might be a great idea, a fun way for us all to hang out, laugh, let go a little. But the more I think about it, the more I dread it.

Not long before Christmas, they had a blow out. What started the blowout was something small and insignificant. The problem is that their issues are so ingrained and woven throughout so many aspects of their lives, I’m not sure they’ll ever resolve them. So, they tiptoe around one another, sweep things under the rug for a bit, but those same issues ALWAYS surface again. Usually, I get caught in the middle somehow, asked to listen to all the sides of the story and help mend things. My husband always says I’m like the duct tape in the family, because duct tape fixes everything.

As much as I love them, I won’t do any of that anymore. I don’t want to be the duct tape. They are quite capable of resolving things on their own if they choose to. I’ve told them so, but only by phone, we haven’t visited since then. Sometimes it feels selfish, but I just don’t feel like dealing with it anymore. Individually, I’d happily visit with any of them. Together, it’s an explosion waiting to happen. I’d feel obligated to be the mediator or fear I’d be expected to take sides or smooth things over. I know I’d feel like I was walking on eggshells, having to be careful of what I said, not really having any fun at all.

Since the day of the blow out, they’ve not even spent any time together and they live within a couple miles of each other. I know they haven’t tried to resolve anything or tried figure out how to move forward in any positive way. They are just tiptoeing and sweeping again.

Sooner or later, I have to be in the same room with them all, I know this. I think I’ll suggest a Mother’s Day trip and give them a little more time to smooth things over on their own. Maybe I’ll even plan a visit to my mother’s so we can all be in the same room in a non-public place in case the shit hits the fan. Who knows, maybe they’ll actually talk? Or finally just let things go? And, if not, I’ll have to continue to be neutral and positive and just myself, not who they want me to be, definitely not the duct tape.

Most Days

Most days, I wake up tired, but I wake with intention and purpose. I never, ever hit snooze and I move about the day trying to forge my way, to make the most of each moment, to cross things off my list, to see and hear and appreciate all that is around me. I try to nurture new, positive habits, put all my effort into making each day of this journey a positive one for my family, even among the bumps and turns.

Some days, though, I wake tired and my intentions are foggy, my purpose skewed. My brain never quite fully latches on to the world around me. I get lost a little. These days, they are the most difficult. I don’t feel quite so sure of things, I’m too sensitive and sometimes, my immediate thoughts or reactions are a little too close to how they used to be. Then, I feel even worse, shaky, like I might crumble without him. While I’m not afraid to need him, a part of me is still uneasy when I feel like I so desperately do.

Double Take

Not long ago, he directed me to the basement to kneel. There was spanking, hot, rough sex and snuggling. We were still naked, sitting on the floor, him wrapped around me while we talked. He stood to get the water and on his way back to me, he just stopped and stared. I couldn’t figure out what he was staring at or why, for that matter. I was sitting with one leg crossed in front of me, the other leg crossed atop that one with my chin resting on my knee. My arms wrapped around my leg, I huddled in the warmth. It was a position my heavier body was incapable of. “You’re so beautiful,” he said. Then, he told me how beautiful my body looked, how the lighting was perfect, how much he loved me. I blushed. I don’t blush, at least I never did before. Thank goodness the lights were out. The only light was a blue hue glowing from the computer screen. He was so stricken by the way in which I was sitting and the perfect lighting that he tried to photograph it, but it didn’t work.

We’ve been married 15 years. This moment might be the moment I felt the most beautiful, the most sexy. I was heavy for 10 years and was very insecure. Sometimes, even though I know I’m healthy and thinner, my brain doesn’t always register those things. When he said those things to me, it caught me a bit off-guard, in the best possible way. I believed him, I felt beautiful. I felt loved and cherished. He’s said it and meant it so many times before, but those words were so touching, so vulnerable coming from his mouth just then.

See why I love him so much?

Gettin’ It Right

Aside

I get emotional more often. I don’t cry a lot and I’m not a mess all the time, but I do feel things to a greater extent now. Last night, I had an emotional moment. My husband was cuddling me after we’d talked about what was bothering me. Then, he said,”I’m still learning. I don’t know whether to fuck you into next week or tie you up and spank you.” I wondered why we had to choose just one……

He got it right.

Teamwork

A few years ago, when I first realized I needed to do something drastic in order to feel better about myself, one thing I did was join a walking club. I was seriously overweight and this club became just what I needed, providing motivation, friendship and goals. I walked, then ran my way through 12 half-marathons and lost almost all the weight I ever gained. Yesterday, I signed up for one of the most challenging trail runs I will have ever done. I’ve done some shorter trail runs like Warrior Dash many times, which was fun and I’ve done Pretty Muddy on a ski slope, but that was kinda foo-foo if you ask me. Bubbles? In a race? And you call that an obstacle? I paid $70 for that. Never again. This one is longer and on a treacherous course with ridiculous elevation. I’m actually a little worried, you should see the disclaimer! But, I love a challenge and I’m just shy of my goal, so this is just what I need, something to strive for in the next few months.
By fall, my goal is to complete another half-marathon. I need a goal to work toward that is just mine, independent of all the other stuff going on in our lives. We even added it to the rules, it was his idea. We also find that it’s healthy and important that we make time for one another to move or exercise without the other. We love spending time together, but we need to be alone sometimes. I do some of my best thinking listening to my iPod, logging in the miles, alone.
Biking is my husband’s meditation and thinking time and I always make sure my schedule allows for his rides. Not long ago, he was recovering from another surgery and needed motivation (this was his 12th corrective surgery after a college sporting accident). Sometimes, he’s an overachiever in this area, and he decided to strive to participate in a charity race…180 miles in two days. After a surgery. So, I supported his recovery and made sure my schedule put him on that bike whenever he needed to train for many months. One of my proudest moments was watching him cross that finish line. I’ll never forget it.
This all means so much to me because back then, when I first started all this, he believed in me even when I did not. He arranged his schedule around my exercise, made it a priority and has supported me the entire time. It’s taken a while, but I believe in myself now too. I know I can set a goal, work hard and find success in the trying. And no matter how many more surgeries my husband needs, he’ll always be perfect and whole and everything I’ll ever need. I’ll always support his goals and he knows I believe in him too. He believes in himself. We make a good team.

Connected

While I was not raised in a strict religious environment, I went to Catholic school all the way to college. My home life was tumultuous, so I found comfort in the church, it’s rules, school, books, and learning. When I was younger, I poured myself into school and went to church a few times a week on my own, I just walked or went with neighbors. As I grew up, those church rules and it’s doctrine became a sharp contrast to my mother’s behavior, which caused me so much confusion, embarrassment, even shame. By 7th grade, I was so intent on a path so far from my mother’s that I actually talked to the nuns about becoming a nun! Of course, after my first boyfriend, this changed rather quickly. Even so, I went to confession regularly and I chose to go face to face so I wouldn’t feel like a coward (and I told the truth!), I couldn’t accept any less from myself. I welcomed the opportunity for absolution and penance. I often found comfort on my knees, in prayer, alone.

In high school, I really started to question the doctrine, it’s inconsistencies, and for a while I stopped going to church unless they made us. I think I needed to rebel against something I had control over and this fit the bill. Though I was a great student, I lived in my head most of the time, was very sensitive internally, and had difficulty connecting with others sometimes. I never felt anyone understood me aside from a few close friends. While maintaining my grades, I had as much fun as I could without getting caught. My mom trusted me since I got good grades and followed the rules, so I sort of took care of myself. The choices I made weren’t always good ones. I’d get upset at myself for doing exactly the opposite of what my brain knew I should do, thus feelings of betrayal. Betraying myself. Allowing myself to go against what I thought was right and good. Still, I’d wander into church now and again, on my own, simply to sit. To reflect. To hope. There was comfort there in the ritual. Stand, sit, kneel, pray. Confess and try to purge some of the guilt. Try to make sense of all those conflicting thoughts and feelings.

I spent a lot of time applying for scholarships so I could get out of my small town and my family situation. I left, focusing on college and trying to figure out how to be on my own, to trust in myself without all the craziness around all the time. The trusting in myself part was where I faltered. I tried so hard on my own, tried to maintain control, on the outside, at least. There was no church, a new city, no friends. I made a few close friends, played soccer, excelled in school, but I was empty. Again, I’d wander to the local Catholic church from time to time, simply to immerse myself in it’s ritual, to find comfort, to feel at home. Yet, there was guilt, feelings I’d betrayed myself over and over. Guilt at not being the person I knew I should be, could be.

Maintaining the facade of control was difficult, for many years, even into adulthood. Knowing what to do and having the courage to do it are two very different things. My courage came later. Much later. That guilt is still there from time to time, regret at having betrayed myself for so long, for going against what the church taught about being the best version of myself, who I knew I could be. To aid in this, my husband and I sought out a church and attended for a long time. For me, as I grew, it was always about feeling like a part of something bigger than myself, a greater good, a feeling of community and connection to a purpose. There was a gap that need filled and I was grasping at anything I thought could fill it – outside of myself.

While I still wander into church now and again, it’s not something I do often. I’ve found that I don’t crave the ritual or the confines of the walls in order to feel what I always needed to feel when I went there and to feel like I’m putting forth the same into the world. My experiences in church taught me to believe in myself, be true to myself, to find goodness all around me, to create goodness and to give of myself. I am finally at a place where I can embrace all these things. I’m able to look inside myself, see strength and accept who I am. I can look at M, see a leader and appreciate him. I feel a connectedness, not always from inside a church, not always from a god. I feel it with M – I draw strength from that connectedness, from our faith in one another. In our ability to provide absolution for one another, simply in our unclouded acceptance of who we are for one another. I find connectedness everywhere, all the time. On a run, in a handshake, in a nod and smile from a stranger on the street, in a hug, gliding on the water in my kayak, in a laugh or in tears and especially when I’m able to help someone in need. Even on a blog, when a few words from a wise person are able to punch me in the gut or squeeze my heart, I feel connected. Even amongst all the risk of the unknown. I can’t help it.

Taken By Surprise

Get your heads out of the gutter, not everything is about sex! Ok, maybe it’s not specifically about sex, but it’s sexy and arousing….

He has surprised me with his behavior, in the way he is growing into his role with an easiness I hadn’t imagined in some cases. There is no way to know ahead of time what the dynamic will look like in real life, how it will manifest itself and when. Here are some examples of things that have taken me by surprise when they first happened:

1. He actually pointed at me and told me not to pout. I didn’t even realize I was about to.
2. He asked if I had anything new to bring up in a discussion. When I said I didn’t, he said, “Then, were done discussing it.”
3. His one look has weight. It means, “Stop,” but it means more.
4. He told me to go take a nap.
5. He carried in all the groceries because it was cold. Actually, he’s been carrying in all the groceries when he’s home, period.
6. He told my daughter to stop being disrespectful with her tone. To me. Before I could tell her. (This actually happens frequently, she’s 12).
7. He told me to go to bed. Early.
8. He holds all doors everywhere and opens car doors too.
9. He smacks my ass very chance he gets.
10. And this is the biggest shocker of all: He likes the rope. He has a knack for it and can repeat what he sees easily, without an instruction video most times. He can make it up as he goes as well. It’s so beautiful, the care and time it takes is so arousing and thoughtful, the look on his face when it’s finished, and what happens next…..

While these things took me by surprise when they first happened, it was a good surprise. The warm in the belly kind of surprise that makes you feel satisfied, hopeful, loved.

She Knows

I love my mother, but she’s difficult to be around and talk to sometimes. Even when she smiles, she’s not actually smiling. She wears the pain and regret on the outside now, it is evident, especially to me. My heart wants to hug her, tell her to let it go, but my brain wants to tell her how much she’s hurt me and hold onto it with both hands. I’ll likely do neither, not with any true intention. I do fall somewhere in between, accepting that she’ll probably never change and not allowing any bitter feelings I have to govern my life. I’ve let that go. It is what it is, a form of forgiveness, acceptance.

Since this all began for us, I’ve pulled away from my family quite a bit. My mom and my sisters always have some sort of drama going on between them. I needed to separate myself from the craziness for a while, devote my attention to my own family. I’d been pulling away a bit since summer, not getting involved in their drama or giving advice, encouraging them to fix things on their own. I’d realized just how negative getting involved was for me. I was taking on their problems and that was no good, especially when I was well on my way to making some lasting, positive changes in my life.

Interestingly enough, I was working on a post about my family when I decided to call my mom yesterday. We hadn’t spoken in a bit. Often times, I get frustrated on the phone with her because she talks over me, tries to finish my sentences and misunderstands much of what I say because she hasn’t heard me. Yesterday, she was pretty mellow. We talked about my girls for a bit, which led to how I worry about my eldest daughter being so anxious, a perfectionist. This led to me telling her how I feel I contributed to this with my own perfectionist behavior. She was so receptive, listened, and seemed interested, so I just kept going. I told her everything about me, about how I felt like I was a perfectionist, I internalized everything, put on a facade of control, shut people out (especially my husband), and was unable to lean on others or ask for help. I told her about my process of soul-searching, how I decided to change, put it into practice and what that looks like with my husband. Without terms or labels, I basically told her everything about our new lifestyle (I did not mention anything about what we do in the bedroom). I even told her she’d notice I wasn’t the one in control around here anymore and I don’t even want it. She floored me. She was so appreciative of my sharing and so happy that I’d discovered how to be happy and was trying to live it. She didn’t have anything negative to say. It was the first time in a very long time I felt like she actually heard me. It felt pretty good.

I don’t know if anything I said will help in her own life, but I know it made her happy to know I’m happy. I guess that’s all any mother wants.

Over-analyzing?

I know it’s not a good idea to continuously over-analyze things, I really do. However, I was unhappy with myself for SO many years and now that I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I’d like to continue the happy. So, occasionally, I realize my motive for something might be negative and I ruminate on it a bit. Recently, I was worrying about why I might enjoy pain. It might sound silly to even care, but I saw a pattern emerging, one that is difficult to share.

When I started thinking about why I might enjoy pain, I wondered if it might be because I feel like I deserve it. Maybe I deserve to be punished, not for any current infraction, but for past mistakes, regrets, for being a bad person, making poor decisions, and on and on. Punishment for being me. I thought this might be true because I began to make some connections with the experiences we’d had thus far. Looking back, even the very first time he truly spanked me with more than hands, I wanted it to hurt. It had been a difficult day with my family (mom + sisters = crazy), I felt guilt and anger and hurt after being with them. Mostly, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and the spanking. I had anxiety that it might NOT happen, not that it would. Another example was after I posted the first part of my story. I put to words all that ugliness and guilt and shame. Then, I wanted it to hurt. I wanted it to hurt until I cried (or something, I just wanted more, a lot more). He tried, but I did not, I wasn’t even close.

Staying healthy and happy is important to me, I don’t ever want to go back to stuffing things away and ignoring my issues. Occasionally, I need to be sure my motives are healthy ones. After much thought, I realize it might be pretty simple: I like it, it clears my head, I don’t have to think and can just feel, it’s grounding and freeing and cathartic, and it’s consensual, end of story. I’ll be aware if it feels like it’s going to a bad place. I think I’m self-aware enough for that now.

There’s an honest peek into my twisted, over-analyzing brain. Sometimes it’s just exhausting, but in the end, it usually pays off.