Why We Sleep Together

I was referred by a post on A Cup of Jo to an article in The Atlantic, “Why We Sleep Together”. One part of the article makes the observation that, “It’s important to talk about our days lying side by side, discuss children and household situations, gossip about neighbors and colleagues, plan for tomorrow in the confines of private chambers.”

This article hit home for me as I am a fan of the nights where J and I curl up under the covers, turn out the lights, and fill the darkness with our secrets, our fears, our future plans and belly laughs (So sorry, Mister and Misses Neighbor!). The dark, as scary as we believed it to be when we were young, now provides a sense of security. With the house dark, save for the light-play of the tree branches in the moonlight projected on the wall, I feel safe sharing, writing, and pouring myself out.

Some nights, the trading of stories and spilling of secrets lasts into the wee hours of the following morning—but I’m not bothered by it. If anything, I wake the next day with an extra bit of light in my eyes and spring in my step because of the love that’s washed in and over and all around me as I lie in the dark and whispering my struggles and listening to J tell me his worries and his hopes before wrapping an arm around my middle, burying his face in my shoulder, and whispering “have a good sleep.”

As The Atlantic article states, “We are creatures of attachment.” And boy am I. I am attached at the heart and mind to one of the most thoughtful, loving, hard-working, beautiful men in all the world. And I know I have this little habit to thank for a great deal of the bond we’ve built over the last three months forever.

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The Losing Battle

It’s stumbling. It’s catching your toe on the smallest stone or crack in the sidewalk and suddenly you’re falling — again. Around and around you go, your legs spinning as you desperately attempt to right yourself, to keep from slamming into the ground. You might catch the arm of a friend or manage to pull up before impact, saving yourself the slow motion careening, but the bruises, breaks, and scrapes appear on your hands, you knees; the pink-cheeked embarrassment now one more affliction, one more weight, one more reason to hide.

Whether you crash or are miraculously granted a steady (for the time being) foothold, you’re shaken, you’re rocked to your core. With both feet beneath you, the world still feels slippery, as though you’re no more than a few moments away from ending up back there. It’s constant, overwhelming, never-quite-succeeding attempt after attempt to regain balance, to restore right. It’s a never-ending masquerade ball, it’s spinning and bowing and distracting nearby eyes from tender wounds. It’s a life-long charade, a fight to save face when, some days, you don’t want to try again, you don’t want to fight anymore, you don’t want to lose anymore.

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Before

You have single-handedly redefined so many words for me: connection, comfort, security, right, love…

Before you, “connection” was simply having a number of fairly inconsequential things in common, it was attraction. It didn’t ensure compatibility. Before you, “comfort” was the word that I threw around when I knew how to make someone laugh, when they could reciprocate, it was when I could easily fall asleep at their side. Before you, “security” was nothing to do with my emotional well-being. It was nothing I ever knew. It was an idealistic goal for a future I wasn’t sure I was ever going to find. Before you, “right” just meant things weren’t horribly wrong, it meant that I still saw something worth clinging to. It was a word I fought to associate with. Before you, “love” was cheap. It was simply attraction and affection. It was well-meaning and hopeful. It was desperate and heartbreaking.

Before you, I struggled to foster connections; I struggled to create comfort; I struggled to imagine what security would feel like; I struggled to make things right; I struggled to love.

Before you, I tried to decide which of these words, these values I could give up, which factors I could compromise to find my future. Before you, I fought for futures I should have let go. I’m so glad I finally let them all go, so glad I finally shut those doors and cautiously opened the door that you strolled through.

You. You are right. You are so good. You, my dear, are love.

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Maybes and Somedays

The creeping doubt has set in once again. Smoking out my thoughts, replacing them with worry; that we won’t work, that maybe we weren’t meant to. We’re so different, my dear. You’re chasing a deeply rooted sense of security and I want a shared freedom, shared exploration, shared adventure. The two have some overlap, but I don’t know if that’s enough. Is anyone ever really enough or do we simply learn to make do? Can we really be enough for one another?

The trouble with these gut reactions, with these doubts, is that I’ve been here before. I’ve been consumed by worry and suppressed my doubts and in the end I walked away while the sinkhole in my heart attempted to devour me whole. I worry that my gut is simply trying to save me from the breaking we’re bound for down the line. I worry that I worry too much. I worry that I’ll always be running from doubts based on maybes and somedays.

I need your arms gently wrapped around me, wringing these thoughts from my mind, casting out the worry from my chest. Why am I so reluctant to let things be?

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