Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Smother or Not to Smother

I am reading Augusten Burroughs right now and I forgot how much I love that hilariously inappropriate gay man. In all his wit and candor he has reminded me that a writer writes best when they don't hold back. So here goes nothin.

I was talking to DC last night about writing, my life, existential crisis', the usual and he brought up to me that on numerous occasions he tells me to write and wouldn't it be nice if I actually listened to him and wrote? Furthermore, he also pointed out that it would be good for us to sometimes, (and this is where he started talking very delicately and carefully as if wisely and diligently avoiding bombs in Minesweeper) have time apart, as in independently, then he did make the treacherous mistake of pointing out that at times I can be... and this is where he mis-stepped and hit a mine, "smothering." In his defense, he was trying to avoid the usage of the word smothering by saying, "not smothering, but..." and then searching for a synonym to smothering that isn't as harsh, but I had already stopped listening at smothering. It was beyond my control; I blinked for a moment waiting for my highly sensitive emotions to catch up with my brain that was scrambling to register the onslaught of horror at the word smother.

Red Alert, the fiery independent portion of my mind was screeching. How did this happen? Smothering? Were you not paying attention, she accused the side of my brain that has been in a lovesick delirium, while the lovesick side was waving her hands in a frantic I don't know how this happened gesture because she has been tripping on dopamine for some time and it feels out of her control.

While growing up in a big family and sharing beds with my siblings and drawing on backs to fall asleep has prepared me for a life of sharing that I greatly enjoy, my life in the dating realm included ample rejection and boyfriend-less years making me rather adept at going it alone, seeing movies by myself, opting for solo museum dates and wine tastings because I enjoy those excursions and, bonus, my own company. I still pride myself on being able to go on road trips by myself, or venturing out with nothing but my thoughts, music and God. Also I think I am kind of the cat's fucking meow when it comes to girlfriend duties.

So it was rather alarming to find that I might be getting a little too comfy in the world of cohabitation with my boyfriend. Sure I fall in love with the kid more every day and am real keen on the place we're in of complete comfort and understanding. We get each other's little quirks and habits and we work, but was I getting too codependent? Apparently, as when I left for work yesterday I pouted that I was twenty minutes early and DC just couldn't wait to be rid of me. I don't know why I did it. I mean, sure I wanted to keep garage-sale-ing with him and not spend my Saturday serving wine instead of drinking it, but I think it was a whole mixture of things.

We are in the best place with with our love. That place I couldn't wait for. Where I don't worry if my hair doesn't get washed everyday or if I am doused in perfume, lotion or wearing fifteen coats of mascara. Where I tell him I am not shaving my legs that day, mmm, or the next and he surprisingly still wants to touch them. Where nights like Friday when we laid in bed and massaged each others feet and then dozed off while reading our own separate novels--too darling and perfect for words. At least in my mind. It also means, however, that the new fresh, beginning period of dating where DC sought after me relentlessly and couldn't get enough of me and upon seeing me had this raw passion of needing to kiss me long and good, like in an old black and white flick has passed.

I cling to wanting him to still be crazed with longing for me because there are still times when I look at him, like this morning and my land! I am bowled over. See, he is the cutest lil babe when he wakes up, his hair is mussed and he walks into the living room looking slightly dazed and almost like a kid. I can't stand it! I want to tackle him and kiss his face off and then I worry, because, um it's me and that's what I do, that maybe that feeling has worn off for him, but not for me, hence why I pull little antics like having a fit before I go into work.

So naturally after the smother comment and my brain going into hysteric meltdown mode, the passivity began. I refused to cuddle him last night because I didn't want to "smother" him. He cuddled me anyway. Then this morning after hearing his sweet sleep murmurs and seeing his messy hair after waking, I wanted to throw myself at him, but then remembered the word smother and tried to keep it cool and disinterested. I kissed him maybe three times instead of devouring him like I wanted to. Then, normally Sundays, my favorite day, I like to spend the day doing something pleasant like driving the countryside or eating pancakes with none other than my favorite, sir. I opted to go to the coffee shop and write without him. Oh and about him. Perks of dating a writer, baby. He commented that I didn't mind going and doing my own thing today? I answered that I wanted time alone.

"I know what you're doing," he said.

I pretended not to hear. Then on my drive to the coffee shop I contemplated all the ways I could stick it to him. I would be so non-smothering, so occupied and driven to my old independent ways that he would altogether ache and yearn for the days of my wanting too much cuddle time! Until I realized, I was being slightly insane and needed confirmation on whether I was justified or not. I relayed my conundrum to my best friend, Ash. She saw my side and understood, however, told me not to go too far in my Anti-Smothering Movement, because then we'd both lose. She also knows me really well because she gave me this sound advice:

"Now don't just drive around listening to the Lumineers, staring out a rain spattered windshield and crying."

Okay, so I would scratch my melodramatic drive into the mountains and stop plotting to get back at DC with my extreme passive-aggressiveness. Except it was easier said than done. Every time I would calmly think, he's right, it's fine for us to have our own separate interests, I would become incensed over the fact that he used the word smother in the first place and I already did loads of adventures on my own, not to mention working two jobs that oftentimes overlapped with his work schedule. When did I have time to smother, I fumed?

And though I got myself back round to the notion of letting the whole, to smother or not to smother issue rest, when I walked in the door after my independent time at the coffee shop to see that DC wasn't yet dressed for his niece's baptism I was a little surprised. It was 1 and we were going to leave at 1:20 according to DC's planning timetable. I asked him if he was going to get ready and he seemed nonchalant like he had all the time in the world. Odd. Then after getting ready and coming out of the bedroom at 1:17 he casually sat back on the couch, while I was already up and waiting in the dining room. Okay, now I was suspicious.

"I thought we had to leave," I said.
"Yeah we've got time. We don't have to be early." Ohhh, now I saw what he was up to. DC has never been casual about being late or early. For not being early to him is being late.
"Um, what are you doing? Are you trying to prove some sort of point?"
"Were you trying to prove a point earlier?"

I didn't answer because I am a bad liar so why bother? He seemed satisfied that he made a point as well (though the point being that he can be less rigid about time was kind of a funny one to me) and jumped off the couch and said, "no really, we should get going though, we don't know how traffic will be."

"And he's back," I quipped, knowing all too well DC couldn't be casual about being late if his life depended on it.

Honestly, after leaving the coffee shop I had really good intentions to stop being coy and planning ways to act like this whole smothering affair had rolled right off me, but every time I looked at him and imagined at what point I had supposedly smothered him, I got back to being angry.

To quote Mr. Augusten Burroughs here,

"I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

I am flawed. Besides being highly over-sensitive, something that serves me well in the empathy department, but not so well when it comes to even a whiff of criticism, I also happen to have a huge problem with being passive. Am I working on it? Yes. My intention to be better is there. Just like my intention not to smother my boyfriend is now there. Truly it's a good thing I leave for vacation in two weeks. While I don't think my irritation over this will last into tomorrow, for I am a lover not a fighter, (I had a camo shirt that proclaimed as much, that I proudly wore in high school) the three week hiatus away from my boyfriend will be a built in Anti-Smother Movement all on its own and he will rue the day he used the word smother, whilst counting down until I am nuzzling his beard again.

No, but seriously, my boyfriend is probably a mad genius and did all this as reverse psychology to get me to write. In which case, kudos, honey, kudos. What a brilliant ruse. For with the word smother, I am getting back at my boyfriend by... feverishly writing. Yeah, look out undercover ops, this girl plays dirty.

Now if you will excuse me I think I need to go photograph the rain or attempt to learn guitar on my out-of-tune five string guitar to prove to myself that I don't need to be oozing relationship romance every second and there is more than a morsel of independence still in me. Or it's just to stick it to DC. I kid, I kid, of course it's just to stick it to DC.


Anna said...

So many of my friends living with boyfriends are dealing with these same issues right now! You're not alone!

Shawnee said...

Ugh you are just so good. I already know that our souls sing similar tunes but this, yes. Nothing wrong with creating a little distance/mystery to make their heart grow fonder ...or so I believe.