From the movie, Miss Congeniality, Sandra Bullock's answer the first time around when the judge asks what she wants, she pretends to be emotional and says, "World peace." By the end of the movie, she admits with true emotion that she really does want world peace.
I have just recently figured out my latest defense mechanism that I have been using for a few years. I realized that I don't want to be the person who has to step in and make peace after a big fight has happened. Instead, I find myself going through the greatest efforts to prevent the confrontation in the first place. So instead of playing the peacemaker, I am more of a peacekeeper. I'm finding this to be a difficult job! And, I am currently thinking I don't want to be either one because neither works!
This is how that is working in our ttwd marriage: He can handle hearing why I am upset with him. Am I always calm and nice and patient when I tell him? No. He is the one exception where I don't feel the need to tip toe and find the exact, least offensive, politically correct, religiously correct way to express why I am upset with him. (Yes, I have many people in my life with whom I absolutely have to do that......unfortunately, it's mostly family.) One area that I do work on hard with Storm though is the peacekeeper one. Storm is already a calm, steady guy, thank God, and he is a peaceful man. But our communication breakdowns are not (on my end.) There have been a handful of critical situations we found ourselves in through no fault of our own doing or at least things we didn't do purposely in error. As a result I took the attitude at this particular time to do everything within my power to be on the same page with him......... and it is near devastating for me when it all falls apart anyway or he does the exact opposite of what we agreed upon. I.lose.my.freaking.mind. Why do I have such a strong negative reaction? I hate it.
Because I put the prep work in already to AVOID even the slight appearance of a hiccup. Double check. Triple check. Use my words like "I hear you saying......" and repeat what I think he said. And vice versa. And then it still all goes down the toilet somehow anyway. He did whatever he said he wasn't going to do or he didn't do whatever it was he agreed to do with me. Or you both completed a task that you had agreed which one was going to do it. Why is that problem? Maybe it's not. I mean who cares if the dishwasher gets run twice? Nobody in this house, but who cares if we both wrote a check to the pay the mortgage and mailed it?!!! EVERYBODY!
I'm not talking about agreeing on who does the dishes, the laundry, brings in the garbage can type stuff. I'm talking about things that would include major parenting decisions no matter how young or old our kiddos are. Love them, but go play or go to work , school, or get married or something. Jesus, deliver me.
I recall that back in the day when all the bills were coming in paper form in the mail, we had to remember to order new checks, and pay the bills on time and decide which one of us unlucky souls was going to be in charge of all that? You know those days where you'd do it for 3 months then throw the job back at him because you were tired of worrying about money? Then after him screwing up the checkbook and paying bills late, you yank the job right back again. Repeat until it's all mostly online these days and Storm is a programmer, so....... woo hoo! Not my job anymore!
Specifically during this worldwide pandemic, we have had to maximize our potential for the least amount of exposure to The Crud as possible due to comorbidity that exists in our home. Because I am the primary grocery shopper, I wanted to somehow maintain this role while staying home. I discovered a reasonably priced local shopping and delivery service and we have been very blessed with how it has all worked out and kept us safe (and hopefully it kept somebody employed and tipped well during these difficult financial times.) Like many other people, I also did all of my Christmas shopping online last year. Since I am the online gal regarding those kind of things, I take great care to do everything I can to get FREE SHIPPING, dog gone it! This is not as easy as it sounds and every place doesn't have every thing for delivery....sometimes it is only for pickup, so I might think I found a great price, load up the cart only to discover something is out of stock and it puts me under the total minimum required to earn free shipping. So I decide how to rearrange the items in my carts in each tab that I have open for say, 3 different stores at one time. I ask everybody in the house what items they need within the next few days, next week, and stock up for next month. And I almost always manage to get free shipping. Then Storm decides to Christmas shop at the last minute or the kid needs tampons IMMEDIATELY, MOM, although it happens every month like it does every month (Thank God!), why are we surprised? ....and guess what that most likely means? They're paying for shipping! All my hard work to budget goes down the tube just like that.
While those are all examples, the root of why I lose my mind is most likely because of how I grew up...... parents fighting and I was the peacemaker. Ugh. Then days and days of uncomfortable silence between the adults at home and awkwardness for all of us at church sitting as a supposedly happy family. I have vivid memories of this since the age of 5. I can still walk into their house and after months of not seeing them, it's good because we love one another, but I also automatically put my guard up. I can physically feel through muscle memory the emotional toll it took on us all. Yes, it was so many years ago, but the longer I am in this life, the more I believe that we are who we have been since our personalities and impressions formed when we were little kids. Yes, we can educate ourselves, get therapy, reprocess, and work on forgiving, but none of that changes the heart of who I am and the peace that I seek. It's extremely important to me. But, when life is challenging as it often is for many of us, it's harder to find and keep that peace with our partners, families, friends and acquaintances.
I had exactly 2 specific very close relationships in the past (as in not recent, in case anyone is wondering) where I let the other person be right, didn't get involved in discussions in which I knew our viewpoints might not be in alignment, didn't get offended when I was told pretty much what my opinion should be or how I should be doing things including how Storm and I run our marriage and parenting our kiddo. I am so over that noise and although I don't plan on ever steamrolling over someone because their opinion differs from mine, it will be the dang day again when I let anyone else ever treat me the way those specific people did. My personal peace is now a priority. And might I overreact to protect that? Ummm, have you met me? Laughing.
I am a hundred percent sure that one of the reasons why I wanted to be with Storm for a lifetime even though we were very young when we admitted our feelings to one another was because I felt such peace radiating off of him. I didn't care if there was some well meaning, but misinformed adults who shared with me, "that there were other fish in the sea." Yeah, well I'm not interested in carp, so. He is my emotional and physical place of safety. And, yes, he is as steady as a rock and just about immovable and that does occasionally (or often) make me want to light a firecracker under his butt, but if I do, he'll start a fire on my ass! We always want the tranquil, satiated, content, and peaceful feelings to remain prominent in our relationship. Passion is nice, too, but not the kind caused by turmoil or conflict. I don't want to fight just to make up.
Just the other day I was thinking of a time period where we were struggling with some big things and I was feeling badly as I reflected on how poorly I handled some of that. Yeesh. We were standing in the kitchen hugging one another when I mentioned it. As one who does not focus on the negative especially from the past, Storm's response did not surprise me, "We don't want to remember that. I'm sorry, too. Let's think about the good things. We're good now." I don't know why I look behind us sometimes and let myself feel badly over regrets. I think it might be that I love him so much and when life takes a break from stressing me the heck out, I kind of slip into mindfulness and I am so glad to be in his life and in his arms that I just want to absorb him through my skin.
Just as I thought I was done with this post and put some of this stuff behind us........ bam! Major fight about one of the very things I already mentioned above, but not in detail. Unbelievable. And we can't really use ttwd to get through it because I have been chronically sick again. Although we'd have to reverse roles and let me spank him in this case because it was his fault, not mine. Why should I get spanked when he's wrong? It's my reaction to it all that gets me in trouble though, if I take a closer look, and the not wanting to sleep in his bed type stuff. Laughing. Dang, just when I thought we were there. Back to work at that flipping c-word, communication.
As you can see, there was a big fat NO, on the peace for us when this happened the other day. Thankfully, I calmed down sooner than I usually would have. As I was sitting on the couch that I was quite prepared to sleep on, and he was sitting next to me telling me I needed to come to bed with him, I had a choice to make. I thought back to when Storm the Dom made a featured appearance last month or so ago and made me sit in the corner and write lines for the first time ever about not sleeping in his bed and how that is was damaging to our relationship for me to do that. I didn't want to write that shit again. Or be paddled for it. Not sexy stuff. Later, thinking about it all, it is hot, yes, but not during. But, mostly I thought I cannot sabotage the progress that we have made, specifically his progress on taking charge. So, yes, I went to bed with him out of respect for our ttwd.
Overall in my life, I think it's too stressful for me to try to be a peacekeeper because when that fails and it will, then I have to be a peacemaker anyway and it makes it all doubly worse somehow. Maybe it doesn't do that to other people, but I honestly just don't deal with it well.
So where are you at with peace in your life? Are you a peacemaker or peacekeeper? Or is everybody worldwide just trying to hang on for dear life right now? Or finish this A to Z Challenge? ;)