This, is the story of a 52-year-old woman with an above average IQ, and the Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), of a four-year old. I will apologize to all of the four-year olds in the world here and now, they probably would have figured this one out long before I did.
As I believe we all do, I have some emotional triggers and fears, primarily surrounding the people I hold dearest; my child, my mother, my closest friends, and the man in my life, known as the BB-Dragon-Knight (BB-D-K). I live in a different town than all of these, my favourite humans, so one of the ways in which I stay connected, and ‘OK’ in these relationships, is through the various and respective methods, means, and patterns of communication specific to each one. My mother and I phone, she does not do text, my son and I phone regarding most things and text regarding the little stuff, like when I will next come by in my work travels, to receive and reciprocate our weekly drive-by-hugging. The BB-D-K and I phone whenever possible in the evenings, and text often, on days and nights we do not spend together. Always, we let the other know when we will spend time with the other important folks in our lives, and may be somewhat incommunicado. I like this. I do not need to be in contact 24/7 when we are apart, but given past experiences, I like this a lot. Apparently, I am very attached to it. This particular Marcela Moment of the Month (yes, I realize it is early on, but really, it’s a gooder), pertains to him, the BB-D-K, and a complete and utter disregard for what I often advise and model for the folks I work with; critical and logical thinking skills during times of stress, emotional and otherwise. Take my advice people, I was not using it.
The trigger, as they generally do, originates in my past, and the experience of hostage-takings in e-communication by humans I once cared about, as well as a life fraught with some fairly horrific circumstances, events, and much loss. But still, it has nothing to do with the present. Absolutely nothing. I have no evidence what-so-ever, in several months of time spent with this truly soulful, smart, honest, humble, loyal, and adorable-as-all-get-out human being, that logically speaking, would support or lead me to the place I have spent too much time in over the course of our relationship, and particularly the four days preceding this one.
He is, other than my ManChild, the only human on the planet who does not simply tolerate or put up with; my inside and outside crazy, my flying pigs and other winged creature tattoos, my inner and outer child, my intense, at times over-the-top passion about issues related to my work and the world we live in. He is one of two humans on earth, who engage , encourage and indulge these traits and passions, fully, without reservations. He gets on the swing and climbs up on the playground equipment, and he always worries and admonishes me when I swing too high and make the chains bounce, or when I spin myself in circles until I’m dizzy and wobbly-kneed, just for the amazingness of it all. He admonishes not because he thinks it is silly for me to do these things, but because he could not stand to see me hurt.
So what happened? Well let me tell you! I spent a full day and two lovely evenings enjoying him and his surroundings, and left refreshed and energized early Friday afternoon to go into what are my most gruelling workdays, the weekends. We communicated via text message at approximately 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning prior to my departure, LOL-ing about the crazy goings on in our respective work worlds that morning. I went about my work, sent him a couple of texts, photos of interest from my day, and the ritual good-night-text in the evening as I lay in my own bed and counted him as one of the all-time best blessings in my life. I did not get one back, since early in the day, or the ritual good-morning-text, but I have some idea of what his work world looks like so I did not fret, too much. Yet.
By Saturday evening I was somewhat anxious and memories of e-communication-hostage-takings began to creep into my mind, and fear began to grip my oh-so-vulnerable heart. I am a human service professional after all, and so I counselled self: self, remember to examine, very thoroughly examine, the evidence: 1) Do you have anything to base this anxiety and fear upon where this human is concerned? No, I do not self. Thank you self. 2) Do you realize, self, that you are likely projecting historical events into your present, and that there is likely a logical explanation for the ‘dead air space’ you fear so much? Yes, self, I realize that, but I cannot think of a logical explanation, I have right out asked him why the dead air space, and told him in several texts that I am concerned, worried that something has happened to him, or someone close to him. 3) Seriously self, relax, you know he is likely with one of his children, or just sleeping a lot, the last several weeks have been gruelling in his world too! 4) Ok, I’m certain he will say good morning, I will try to sleep. Fail, epic fail. No visions of sugar plums dancing in this self’s head, just horrible accident scenes, and worse, a ‘Dear Marcela’ letter in my snail-mail box.
The brain ran on and on into Sunday morning, all that day at work, and through the night while I frantically tried to finish a very important court report involving some very important little people in my work world. I was to to be in court, a nasty commute away, first thing in the morning. The report completed, tired, anxious self dressed and mostly together enough to testify coherently, I went to do my job. And then I drove another two hours to look for the BB-D-K, and find out what horrible life tragedy had befallen him, someone he loves, or be-still-my-heart, to hear what I knew in my core had to be the real truth; he is done with me. He will kick me to the curb the way others had, but gently, for he is not like them. I will take it like the proud woman I am, drive home crying like a child once he is well out of sight, and begin the process of grieving, immediately followed by a bout of workaholic feelings-stuffing, and bacon. Large quantities of bacon, when I was able to stomach food again. I knew exactly how it would go.
I reminded my tortured self during that drive, that my BB-D-K was not anything like anyone else I had ever dated, been married to, or in a relationship with, so far from it in fact. But the thoughts and fears that had tumbled in my head for the better part of three full nights and almost four days now, had taken such hold that it was impossible to counsel self logically at this point, and the panic grew and eventually took over, as I neared my destination. So I re-focused all of my energy on driving safely, no point in arriving dead, it was already such a mess!
I arrived in front of his house to find his parking spot empty, and my heart sank. It was his day off, where was he? I knew it, he was in the hospital, haemorrhaging to death, or tending to someone he loved in a major crisis, and he was unable to let me know. Or worse, he left town because he could not bear to hurt my feelings face to face, and I would receive the dreaded ‘Dear Marcela,’ letter in the mail.
I left a note in his door, and almost started to drive back, broken, to my own town and abode, but decided to take a final swing on the swing set with an ocean view, at the end of his road. It was the saddest swing, ever. I could not see the view for the tears, and could only think about when he stood on the play set directly in front me, several weeks ago, when we were still together, BB-D-K and Myla. My BB-D-K. His Myla. It was tragic. I sent a text to let him know that I had been at his home, that there was a note in the door, and that coming to look for him was no more of a choice than when I was worried sick about my ManChild recently, and hunted him down, also.
And then something told me to turn my head toward the road, and I as I did, I spied his Pathfinder coming down the hill! I listened for where the motor went off, yes, just down the road, where the Dragon lair is! I waited, surely he would see my vehicle and come find me, apologize, explain what horrible fate had found him or someone else, why he was unable to communicate with me for almost four torturous days.
I walked toward his house but he was not on the road coming toward me, so legs shaking, I made my way around to the back, to where he always sits, enjoying a stunning ocean view. He was there. My BB-D-K, alive, not bleeding, looking tired but very well indeed! He said “hey you,” I said “would you like me to leave,”? he said “no, of course not, what do you have to say”? I said “don’t you have anything to say to me about dead air space for almost 4 days”? He said: “I sent you texts on Friday to let you know I would be with my son, and Saturday, and yesterday, and I wondered why you were getting all upset.” I was stunned, I told him I didn’t get any, showed him my phone, our thread, there was just me to him in there since Friday morning… what the hey!?! I asked him to send me a text, he did, I saw it go out, but it never landed in my phone… what the hey?
And then: a few minutes of poking around in contact settings, the settings for his contact info specifically and I find this option: ‘Remove this number from SPAM list.’ Seriously??? I had accidentally sent his number to the SPAM list, a function I did not even know existed, but now remembered seeing, and ignoring, some weird little message about SPAM coming up, right after I sent the Friday morning text before I left. Not once, did it occur to either of us that I was not receiving his messages. His phone showed them as sent, my phone worked, I tested it, several times a day over those four days, by texting self, obsessively, and then getting irritated every time it landed in my phone because it wasn’t from him.
OMG, really!?! My three sleepless nights, my four unable-to-eat or focus-on-anything-else days, my very own, personal hell, all of it, was entirely and utterly, self-imposed. I had been outsmarted by my very own Smart-phone, and tortured, by the EIQ of my inner four-year old. Wow!
So, the moral of this story has several key elements: 1) do not, under any circumstances assume that simply because you have sent a text, the recipient has received it. 2) Understand your equipment’s various functions, and most importantly 3) do not, like me in this series of unfortunate events, paint your present with the dirty paint brush of the past. It makes for a muddy and diluted painting. It did not serve me well, never has, and this hard won lesson is just one more indication that it never will. I have worked very hard to understand my past, forgive those who harmed me and others I love, and move on. I am not perfect at it, yet.
I sit now, this moment, with masses of gratitude for the man known as BB-Dragon-Knight, for he had a choice in the perspective from which he could view my comedy of errors: 1) She’s bat-shit crazy or 2) she really cares about me. He chose 2, and added that he quite likes my crazy. Further; he was less irritated than worried, about me getting so upset, kind of in the same way he worries that I might hurt myself when I swing too high, or spin myself in circles. Because he cares about me, and he does not like to see me hurt, let alone be the cause of my pain.
With all the brilliant insight I have at this moment, tongue firmly implanted in cheek, and so much deep, honest caring, yours as always,
~Marcela (Myla): Unfiltered.
Paul Young said:
OH MY GOD, you really worry to much!!Like I tell various people; worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere!! Also like I learned in NA expectations are premeditated resentments both of these little gems have served me well,that being said I have panicked similarly in the past re stupid technology and have learned that it is not always reliable, so I don’t trust it completely,But my God Marcela you should write a book you have an excellent imagination and amazing insights,I think you are awesome and BBDK is an extremely lucky man to have you in his life!!
No luck involved here, on either part… strong relationships, as I know you know, require work and effort… I am blessed, really… :) And truly, it was not about expectations, a topic deserving of it’s very own post… we have a right to some, I think…
and thank you, for the lovely comments, a book has been in my head for many, many years… it’s a matter of getting down to it :)