About a month ago, my husband and I had a horrible conversation that left me terrified. It was one of the first times in my life where I felt more sure that we weren’t going to make it, than that we were.
I stayed calm throughout the entire conversation. I never got angry. I barely even got upset. I didn’t say anything I would later regret. I listened carefully to what my husband had to say; I made sure I really heard him. He did the same. We understood each other.
Afterward I got up, did the dishes, read a book, and went to bed. I felt godawful inside, but I didn’t lose myself to it. I acknowledged how bad I felt, accepted it, and moved on.
It wasn’t even hard to fall asleep that night.
There was a time, not long ago, when a conversation like that one would have absolutely destroyed me. There would have been yelling, and crying, and the exchanging of unfortunate words. Later I would have dashed around the house like a woman possessed, unable to quiet the torrent of emotions inside, wanting to make it all go away but not having the presence of mind to manage it. I would have been up for hours, tormenting myself with the what ifs.
I don’t do that anymore. I’ve grown up. I can sit with an uncomfortable feeling. I don’t have to flee from it. I don’t have to drown it in alcohol or smoother it in ice cream. I can just sit with it, even when it’s twisting my insides, and I can be okay.
I am really appreciate of that. Maybe even a little proud.
It took me a long time to get here. So so long. But I did. I read a ton of books, I practiced different strategies, I turned to meditation, then turned away, then turned back once again.
And in the end, it all made a difference. Even though I never fully embraced any one thing, that journey gave me the tools I need to manage some pretty intense emotions. I can sit with some heavy shit and not feel crushed under the weight.
I like to think it’s evident to others, in how I relate to those around me, in how I present myself to the world. I am a different person in so many ways.
I’m not the woman I was five years ago, and I like this new me so much more.
It’s heartening to believe that people can grow and change. I look forward to the acceptance that five or ten more years will bring me.