I’m watching The Fantastic Four right now. I’m lying on the floor, on my stomach, typing this. The Suitor is on the sofa, watching me and the movie. We’re at the scene where Plastic Man says to the sometimes-invisible Jessica Alba, "I mean, you broke up with me right? I mean, you walked out the door." She was ready for the next step. She wanted to share an apartment. "Did you feel anything when I left? Do you feel anything now?" Well, it went something like that.
So I slinked away to write this. I cannot begin to express how lucky I am. I hear things like that and remember when I was there, in that position of trying to move things forward, of wanting more, of having talks about "us." Don’t get me wrong, I bring up the "us talk" probably way more than The Suitor would like, but it’s what I do, part of that introspective me who wants to reaffirm things daily. But when I hear it I realize how lucky I am not to be there now, to be in a relationship with someone who, despite how much we argue, never EVER makes me feel like I’m trying to convince him of "us." In fact, he does a lot more of the cheerleading. I want to run, and he reminds me why I’m there. He reminds me that I never want to leave; I just want to run out of fear. So we stand our ground, and we share it. And I’m so so Goddamn lucky to have someone in my life, a partner, who always wants to move things forward, who isn’t afraid of our future, who loves us and me, and I’m lucky not just because he never makes me doubt that but because he reminds me that he’s my choice. I chose him not because of how in love he was with me, is with me, but because of who he is, every single day. I feel blessed because I get to live with him, to sleep with him, to smell him and hear his stories every day. I get to be the voice he hears when he walks in the door. To be his dinner companion, his Marc Cohn True Companion, as cheeseass as that sounds. I get to see him every day! I am so blessed. Yes, he is a big pain in the ass, my God, he really really is, but I love him. And it’s not "but I love him" in that way that excuses anything. Believe me, I know how I want to be treated, and for the most part, except when he’s frustrated and screams "fuck yourself" at me (which I know he regrets), he exceeds my expectations. I love him so much it makes me cry. Okay, everything makes me cry, but he makes me cry in a way that makes me feel more alive. He makes me want to be a better person, as much as I argue with him about it at the time. I will admit though, I’m scared.
I’m scared of losing my identity, especially during a fight. As soon as I admit, "you’re right. I was wrong. I’m sorry," I worry that I’m giving up too much of myself. Intellectually though, I know it’s just a conversation, that I’m growing by saying, "I’m sorry; you were right," but emotionally, I feel like I’m handing him a piece of me, a thigh or a breast. I feel like a chicken. I’m so scared that it will become a habit, each of us in our roles, of right and wrong. So scared that if I give in, I’m giving in a piece of me. It stands for something bigger; I worry that I’m losing my footing on solid ground. But I know that’s not the case when I step away from it, get some perspective, think about the situation as if I weren’t part of it. It’s still hard, the letting go.
We had a fight the other night, and for the first time, we went to sleep angry with each other. And you know what? It worked. Letting it go just worked. Part of me wanted to bring it up again the next day, to prove my point. At weddings, I sometimes hear that advice in some speech from some uncle about "never go to sleep mad," but it’s a myth. Sometimes it takes morning. I didn’t bring it up because I realize we have the rest of our lives to work through together. What’s giving up one fight? It’s a lot when you’re one of us. But we’re both working on it. And it’s hard, and I’m glad because "hard" means I’m growing. When we struggle and hurt and think too much, I really believe we’re growing. I’m growing all the time lately, and I’m okay with that. Yeah, I think way too much, but I’m a writer, and that’s my sick little analyzing way, and I’m okay with that too.
It’s called picking your battles and learning how to control your emotions, not unlike the fantastic four.