I am up at 4:30 in the morning, trying to begin to acclimate to European time before I actually get there. I am excited to be heading to Amsterdam, but I am nervous as hell and filled with anxiety. Leaving my kids, flying off to Europe, missing the holidays with my family, and sleeping in a small room with D for five days straight is causing massive stomach problems. It’s like there’s a writhing snake pit in my tummy. This latter issue (sleeping in a small room with D for five days straight) has nothing to do with D in particular as much as it has to do with the fact that I desperately need my privacy and need lots of space–to wake up, to go to bed, and to be alone when I need alone time. My desire to have that alone time, in fact, had me dreaming of getting my own room at the hotel. Like an adjoining room. That’s not unreasonable, is it? It reminds me of the movie The Sheltering Sky. In the beginning, Kit and Porter are in a hotel in Tangiers, Morocco, and they are in separate rooms. The husband explains that, because they travel so much and spend so much time together, they get their own rooms. To me, this is a romantic notion. To be so close to someone, and travel so much that you have to have separate hotel rooms is pure romanticism.
In my case, however, it’s pure egocentricity and the need to control my situation. Truth is, and I am ashamed to say this, but I am unable to be too close to someone. I am very much a loner (loners have one hundred percent control over their lives and what happens to them). It’s difficult for me to “share” my surroundings sometimes. I notice this about myself when all the kids are present in a room too– I, generally, have to leave because I can’t handle the noise and commotion.
And while D and I get along very well when we travel together, if I don’t get a little time by myself everyday, I start to get moody, cranky and short-tempered. When we went to Spain two summers ago, the traveling was a little hard on me. The rooms were so small and the bathrooms were located RIGHT by the side of the bed! Hello? Who puts a bathroom right by a bed? We were very much at the mercy of foreign ideals of comfort. Our trip to Sedona, however, was perfect because they upgraded us to a five-room suite. I had tons of space! I could write outside on the back patio in the morning, I had my own bathroom, and in the afternoons, I could go into the living room and watch TV, while D stayed in the bedroom or went out on the patio for a swim. We had a wonderful cycle of coming together, moving apart, coming together, moving apart again. This, of course, sounds high maintenance of me. And spoiled. I do realize that. But if I don’t get some time alone, the writhing pit of snakes in my stomach starts acting up and doing crazy things and ultimately making me miserable.
What’s making me so nervous now, is that I had no control over booking the hotel room, so it is most likely small. And I am now taking antibiotics for stomach problems, which paradoxically, gives me more stomach problems. Small room + stomach problems + man in room = disaster!
I told D yesterday, I am nervous as hell about what he will think of me and how he will deal with me up close and personal for six days in a row. I am not used to exposing myself like this, without the safety of privacy or running away. His response? Lighten up. You’ll be fine. I love you. As anyone with anxiety can attest, this approach didn’t really calm me. In fact, I started obsessing it about it more throughout the day. And then, at around two o’clock in the morning I realized that much of my time is spent on managing food, drink and mood so as to SEEM perfect and flawless for HIM. I am focusing so much of my time on thoughts of HIM and HIS comfort, worrying incessantly that my true ugly self will be exposed and offend him. How nuts is that?
D’s right. I really do need to lighten up.
But how? This part of me has not healed yet. I am strong, but not that strong. I am true to myself, but not 100% true. I am OK with some compromising in a relationship, but I still notice my tendency to want to control things. And I am mostly able to be myself in front of him, but not completely. Heck, after almost three years, I JUST now started to be able to walk around naked in front of him. Let me tell you, it’s liberating! But it took a long time to build up the courage to do that and feel comfortable with it.
Anyway, I have some more work to do on me, some insecurities that need to be faced. Courage that needs to be got. Tomorrow, we hop on a plane and I need to be OK with whatever happens. I need to let go of controlling the situation and D’s response to me. Above all, I need to accept my own humanness and not try to seem perfect or invincible. This, by far, is the hardest part of healthy living for a former co-dependent, love addict like me. My inherent need to seem perfect is what propelled me, in the past, to seek relationships with sub-standard people. It’s what still moves me to control my environment. Now, I’m on a level playing field and things are out of my control. It feels uncomfortable, unnatural and scary. And I can only hope I am able to mentally and emotionally resolve it quickly. Wish me luck!