Caveat: I'm done proclaiming my relationship's resurrection from hot mess. Ya'll know that story (if you don't, make use of the archives): Things were bad. We tried to work on it. They got worse. I've since said my thank you's and good riddance.
The downside of relationship building can no longer be my headliner. The joy of staying put, of building and seeing things through, has got to get some shine if I'm to adequately represent the reality of long term relationships and God driven unions. (My best friend is getting married this weekend, for Christ sakes!) However, the catch 22 of staying put is jumping over the hurdles created, not by past choices, but by anticipation of past choices taking root in your present and future.
It has been a long time coming on undoing all the damage and unlearning all of our toxic tendencies. I know that we still have light years to go, because (if I'm being frank, and when aren't I being frank?) there is a part of me that measures our success against the length of time we've spent without cheating on each other. That sounds terrible, but it's our truth.
Our history boasts that we were cheaters. That we lacked the ability to be forthcoming and monogamous. That we would always choose ourselves when lust made its way into our list of priorities. Our track record is truly nothing to brag about. However, I'm beyond being shamed about it, and (plot twist!) I'm also done dishing the dirt.
What I've come to realize about our past is this... I'm the one that has been hanging onto it, thereby making it a stakeholder in our present.
There are times when I psyche myself up and get to over thinking and asking myself whether or not I settled for a lack luster love story... if I suited up for war and found familiarity in the trenches. Those thoughts don't ever linger longer than it takes me to realize I that I chose my love story just like I chose my husband. I'm not advocating for anyone to nestle into a love that hurts more than it heals. I am saying that I chose my equal and holding a mirror to myself meant realizing the toxicity I created and thought I could thrive in. Hence, I chose someone who had room to grow, because I didn't want them deterred by the work I also needed to do. I chose someone unwilling to be permanently labeled by their shortcomings, because Lord knows there are chapters in the story of my life that I hope everyone skips over.
After all the chaos and discovery and digression and evolution, finding yourself in a good place can be scary. Because history says that we've been in good places before, and the carpet was still pulled from one (if not, both) of us. What's done in the dark comes to light, and reality tells a story where underlying issues undermine (what seems like) the re-emergence of happiness.
Note: We always realize how instrumental the bad moments are in hind sight. As the writers of Jane the Virgin put it (loosely), our road to each other involved necessary detours. They always show us the fault in our interactions that led to poor choices outside of our home.
So, when we start to find our rhythm and look like we might actually do well at honoring each other and the commitment we made - I get anxious. I wait for the other shoe to drop. Hell, sometimes I'm the one to drop it, because self-sabotage is as real as self-fulfilling prophecies.
Today, someone was sharing their story with my husband and offering him advice as if their experiences had to be his own. The part of me that is an innate nurturer wanted to coddle him, like a child. I wanted to affirm that he is the captain of his own ship, and God has already determined his course. If I'm being honest, the part of me that is innately protective and outspoken wanted to tell them not to speak over my husband's life and leave him room to make his own way.
Gratefully, the part of me that is learning when my input doesn't need to be vocalized won out. I texted him my two cents directly and carried my hind parts to the gym. I was later reminded that had I not said a word, our story is testimony enough. We are not our parents. We are not their choices, whether good or bad. We are not our grandparents, either. However, we're moving forward with the resilience each of them embody and thanking God for the glory that's surely coming.
And it's scary to profess that. To claim all the goodness I'm feeling... but if Beyonce said she won't feel bad for it - then I shouldn't either. She's sipped lemonade and been humbled like every other woman, but she also claims her abundance. So, I don't have to keep rehashing how many ways we've gotten it wrong. I don't have to walk around on alert. If we're keeping it all the way live, I'm ready and equipped, either way. But I made a choice to live in this love. And I'm starting to feel confident in saying I chose well. Therefore, it's time for me to start acting like it. If this seems like an extensive note to self, then don't mind me. I'm just over here getting out of my own way.