There are times I truly question my submission. I wonder…..am I actually submissive? Am I really just selfishly trying to have my needs met? In doing so, do I disregard M’s? If my instinct is to think of me first, or how a situation will impact me, what does that mean? If I have such intense feelings sometimes when things don’t go my way, what does that mean? Am I selfish, hiding behind a cloak?
And there are other times I actually begin to question whether I’m getting lost, if that strong, independent woman I’ve counted on all my life is fading away. Lines become blurry, lines which have always been so very solid for me. Areas which used to bring me such strength feel not so strong, distant, and even feel non-existent. My feet feel as if I’m not walking on solid ground, as if what I knew was true, what I’ve counted on for so long is turning to quicksand. I wonder what to trust, in me.
I may not be submissive, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I don’t care, actually, about the term, at least. Fitting into a mold of what I ‘should’ be or what others see isn’t important to me in the least. How I relate to my husband matters to me. It’s maybe the most important thing in this world to me. I need to honor and respect him, love him with my whole heart, bare my soul, be open and communicative with him. He deserves it. I NEED to surrender to him. That is in my bones, in my soul. He deserves that too. And I need him to need me just as fiercely.
A large part of my surrender has been acknowledging that selfish, self-pitying, bratty, spiteful voice inside me. I’ve had to understand why she exists, why I’ve needed her. I’ve had to see that she has served a purpose. When it has felt like there was no one else in this world who made my needs a priority, she was there. I listen to her. I allow her to feel. I evaluate her motives. And then I choose to act in a way that is best for US. Or I try to, at least. Graceful surrender is what I aspire to, but there will always be a part of me which needs to feel my boundaries, to be reminded they are still there. And yet another part of me which will always need to be heard, valued, and understood. One valued half of a partnership.
Another aspect of my surrender has been acknowledging that M and I have a 22 year history together. We’d developed all sorts of behavioral patterns, some of which, despite our continued efforts, just didn’t work, or perpetuated continued miscommunication. I’ve had to look back on all of that and take responsibility for my choices and actions. I’ve had to make committed efforts at making choices that benefit us and move us in a direction of growth, and do not move us backward into those same patterns. It was a journey I had to take before I ever even spoke to M, in order to get to a place where I could truly begin to offer myself to him, my honest and true self.
This offering of myself to him, allowing him to be the captain of our ship and my giving up the fight for control, has been an exercise in balance for me.
My feelings of surrender run deeper than I ever imagined they would. Balancing that selfish-feeling voice with my need and natural slide into surrendering more of myself has been difficult at times. In times of stress, this becomes more apparent than ever. When we are faced with a big life stressor, or many at once, as we are facing at the moment (M got a new job, was essentially away for 4 days while my daughter broke up with her boyfriend, our getaway has been rescheduled three times, my job is overwhelming), I have an intense emotional response to what feels like the sudden withdrawal of the security of the dynamic. M has been present, but also excited and preoccupied with his job move, and rightly so. I’ve had to spend a lot of time talking with my daughter, and we’ve all spent a lot of family time connecting and using the opportunity to grow together. All positive, right?
Except, instead of focusing on those positive things, instead of focusing on what the logical and reasoning parts of me know to be true – that M and I have built this relationship with mechanisms to grow and evolve with our changes, to continually communicate openly and honestly, and that our intent is clear, that we always have the other’s best interests at heart – I sift though it all to find the potential weaknesses, the possible leak-through patterns of old behaviors that occur in times of stress. The ones that could damage our dynamic. I question my own needs, whether my fears are burdensome, whether the attention I seem to require is unreasonable. I wonder if I am able to be strong for him, as he is for me. I wonder if I’ve become too dependent and not listened to that voice which feels selfish, but may actually be my line of logic and reason, my source of strength which allows me to be the person he can lean on as well. The one we can both count on.
It’s almost like there are dueling halves of me. What I know doesn’t always mesh with how I feel. Am I selfish, pessimistic, distrustful and too dependent, or willingly surrendered and needing him this much is what makes this work?
Here’s the thing – my brain knows there’s a balance that works for us, because we find it, we feel it. It’s rather fluid, within certain parameters, actually. My brain knows what feels right and comfortable and that we can and will talk it through and continually adjust to remain healthy and happy. We’ve built it right in.
The problem arises when I get so far into that headspace, so confused and overwhelmed, that I look to him for all the answers. I look outside of myself, counting on him to fix it. Is that fair? Is that realistic? Can he not feel adrift or need me?? Can we not be unsettled at the same time? Am I not my own source of strength?
I do believe there’s a balance. I know so! We live a constantly evolving one. I do not believe it is his responsibility to make how I feel mesh with what I know to be true. I need to be able to do that, for me and for him. But do I need his support? Do I need his guidance when I’ve begun the slide? Do I need help sometimes seeing that I have the strength to fill the gap? YES!!! I do, so very much.
During these times, I need to feel at ease to readjust with him, with life, with us. Our relationship has proven that we can and do accomplish that.
Balance. It’s probably the most difficult part of my surrender, and I falter and fuck up royally at times, but I have the best support. I have M!! But I also have the strength within me. And I believe that strength is the very best thing I can ever offer to him. I need to remember that.