The Weeble challenges me to explain why now, with NBT, I'm finding a way to drop my defense mechanisms and rules and stop hedging and just run with the relationship. Is it because NBT is well matched for me? Is it because something has changed inside of me? Is it both? Is it something else?
Hmmm. Well, Weeble my friend, that is a good question. It probably won't surprise anyone to know I've been asking it myself a fair amount, too. I'll tell you as best I can what I know.
I think the answer is probably a blend of things, many of which I don't understand. But there are two things that I think matter. One is, I had a really lousy summer. I was blue, and lonely, and I felt overwhelmed and lost and dissatisfied with my life. I've been depressed before, once, back in college, and I wasn't there, but I felt like I had to stay vigilant about my exercise and my sleep and my self-care lest I slip back into it. And I was trying to be honest about that experience. I was writing about it here on this blog (e.g., here and here and here), not to invite pity into my life but just to get used to presenting a part of myself that isn't always strong and confident and sparkly-social. I think that's important work, a developmental stage I've skipped up until now. I'm not very good at being vulnerable. I learned something about it this summer, partly by accident and partly on purpose. And I did it probably more honestly here on this blog than in my daily life, although I was trying to do it everywhere. (Sometimes it's easier to talk about being sad when you are alone with a computer screen than when you are looking into the eyes of a concerned friend, who you don't want to trouble.)
Okay, so that's something that changed about me. I learned a little bit more how to be vulnerable, and I practiced doing it in front of people. And I learned that it doesn't drive people away as much as I was afraid it would. That sometimes, in fact, it invites intimacy and help.
Thing two is NBT himself. He is steady, and brave about this relationship in a way that has been necessary and, for me, really freeing. I'm a lot more skittish than I ever realized, likely to sidestep and doubt and leap forward and then pull back. And from the beginning he's been patient and steady and he has believed in the possibility between us. I trust him. I can't doubt him, even when my habits of mind pull me into that picky tricky mental game of perseverating and analyzing. It just doesn't work with him. He's unflappable, and his gentle unwavering affection is the most wonderful kind of sunshine that I've ever been near.