Monday, September 01, 2014

Living the Subtle

I have a cold right now. Just about nothing feels subtle about me: I honk when I sneeze or blow, cough constantly, and my voice has dropped an octave, instantly declaring me sick to all I dare speak to. And yet, so many subtle things have been happening recently.

Under-the-surface, mid-sea changes that bring strong waves to the shore. Those waves I have yet to see, but I am learning to feel and trust what is happening deep underneath will have its own effects.

What do I mean?

Dylan and I "celebrated" our sixth wedding anniversary on August 15th. I put the verb in quotes because, in fact, we spent a good chunk of the day crying. Struggling through wants and needs, accusations and defenses, we were able to rest holding hands at the end of the day. But it was not pretty arriving there, and for days - weeks - after, I contemplated the ultimate, not subtle thing:

I thought about leaving her.  In a short period of time, she also considered the same about me.
Oh how awful it feels to write those words, to contemplate publishing them on the internet. Awful.
But I can write them now because we appear to be past that plate shift - for now.

So why am I writing about something phenomenally not-subtle under this post?

What brought that wave to the shore is six years of marriage, and the two years before that of non-marriage. Almost eight years, this November, of very subtle days washing over one another. Constant, reproducing, redundant issues that sometimes crop up and seem so huge but most of the time get washed under by all the other washing: dishes, laundry, dirty laundry. Finally, some of those plates made waves, and made us look at their results: neglect, a need to communicate, to be direct.

During my cold this week, Dylan and I have watched some nature episodes of a series called Wildest Islands (currently available on Netflix). Animal shows are good medicine for me, and this series has been lovely - combining (albeit overdramatically narrated) stories of animals with weather patterns and geothermic conditions. Most of the islands covered were or still are volcanoes - which makes a heck of a lot of sense, of course. I had never thought about it, but unless they broke off from the mainland (like Trinidad) how else were they going to develop mid-sea?

The thing about the drama of volcanoes, of earthquakes (apologies to the Bay Area's recent hit, I am taking poetic license here), of storms (ditto to the anniversary of Katrina) is that they take time to build. We see the results - the bursts, the tear downs, the devastation. But it all started somewhere. As we are learning to understand, it's not just that ecological disasters come from "nature" but also from "man" and our effect and lack of protection from the elements.

More often than not, especially the case in Katrina, these are preventable problems.

And also in the case of Katrina, looking back nine years now, the fixes appear dramatic.
But they took time and were subtle. Very subtle.

That's the kind of subtlety I am talking about. Seeing the whole picture, watching, looking back with wide eyes and open glances, with as little blame as possible to see how we arrived here. How did Dylan and I wind up on a wild island of insecurity about our primary relationship so far in? It's not uncommon to experience being unsure at this point (see the seven year itch) and yet, it's terrifying.

One day it all seemed ok - difficult, but fine. The next, we might break apart. At first it seemed impossible, but as we settled down and explored the semi-wreck, we realized some of these issues have been building for years. Buried treasure and buried mines.

And also, not that dramatic. So simple. The issues are not new, and in fact, we laughed about that last anniversary - Nothing new here, folks! Now we cry - Oh wow. Nothing new. Same plates scratching way under the surface. Same waves ready to devastate us. Same need for constant awareness without resorting to paranoid, edgy, blaming vigilance.

Such is life. In fact, to write about it even seems redundant - I know everyone out there knows what I am talking about. Yet the fear I feel pushing the Publish button tells me why I need to speak. One is never to talk of such things. It was hard for either of us to find "internet advice" in the wake of our fights. Friends were good - supportive, open, non-side-taking. Therapists help set boundaries. But when it comes to what people actually write about, blog about, share? Never the subtle stuff, my friends. Rarely about awareness. So here's one for that log, I hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment