Last night I experienced the really icky feeling of getting busted in the act.
You see, I can be really honest with my friends about what I do, I can relay a story to Bryan from the day, I can even blab about my issues on the internet – but I am still in control of the information flow. You hear what I want you to hear, and see what I want you to see. Even in all my dysfunction, I can come out of a blog post looking as good or as bad as I deem appropriate for the sake of storytelling.
But last night my ugliness was exposed in real time as the kids and I had our evening chat with Bryan over Skype with the web cam. It wasn’t anything huge, really. I simply became impatient with Ruthie over something, and cut the activity off abruptly.
Later, over an IM conversation, Bryan mentioned how sad it made him to see me shut her down so quickly.
I felt like the air had been let out of me.
My first instinct was to be defensive, make excuses, shift the blame, be the victim, accuse him of having NO IDEA what I have to deal with on a daily basis. But instead I stopped. And I wrestled with his words. And I let them sink in.
Honestly, I think God grabbed a hold of my tongue. Or my fingers, rather, since we were typing. When it comes to fight or flight responses, I’m definitely a fighter, and I really wanted to argue with him about what an asshole he was. But like I said, I had the air let out of me, and I could do nothing but ponder his words.
Then I just felt broken and I started crying. I thought about all the shit I’d given Bryan over the last year when all he’s been trying to do is help me. And even though the way he tries to help me is sometimes not very helpful to me, at least he cares enough to try and help, and now he’s even hearing me better when I try to explain why his help isn’t always helpful, and I give him lots of really good sex when his help IS really helpful so he is sure to remember that stuff for the next time (it’s all about association, right?).
I think the clincher came when I really felt validated by him.
After he stated the obvious, I shot back with a really bitchy, “don’t you think I know that?” sort of response. To which he responded, and I quote: “I think you know it, but that you are still learning to know it.”
And that was all I needed to hear for my heart to melt and receive what he had to say.
I don’t like it when he sees me at my ugliest, especially when it involves the kids. I don’t always treat him well when he tries to intervene or calm me down. But last night he was so tender – I guess you could say he spoke my language. Or the planets were aligned. Or the gods were smiling on me. Or whatever.
But despite my ugliness, he still made me feel beautiful.