I drove to therapy this morning alone. Alone time in the car is pretty fun these days. One of the songs was Taylor Swift’s The Lucky Ones and I spent a bunch of time thinking about it. In order to be one of “the lucky ones” you have to be compared to other people, who are less lucky by comparison. Noah spends a lot of time telling me that people aren’t happy or sad on an absolute scale they are happy or sad compared to the people near them.
I’m kind of a miserable son of a bitch. I spend a lot of time feeling shitty and miserable and like my life is shit. Which is demonstrably not true. I know a fair number of single people (of both genders or no particular gender at all) who haven’t found anyone in the world who validates them the way that Noah and my kids validate me.
I *am* one of the lucky ones. I have two children who are perfectly suited to my desires from children. They are plucky, ambitious, cheerful, talkative, and very affectionate. Pretty much what I would have designed if I had been able to sit down with paper and decide what kind of kids I would have.
And then there is Noah. I feel like a serious schmuck sometimes because of how unworthy I feel about Noah. Noah is a good partner. Like, whoa good. He is cheerful and encouraging and loving and so ridiculously sweet to me. I feel so much gratitude that there is someone on this planet who loves me so much. I don’t see many people with a similar level of unconditional love and support. I truly am one of the lucky ones.
It is hard changing my self perception. It was accurate that the first 25 years of my life weren’t great. I didn’t have the worst early life in history. I didn’t have anything near one of the best early lives. It was a life. It was hard. So when I think of my life being shitty, it is entirely past tense. My life isn’t shitty any more.
That leads me to this idea of finding hope. My life isn’t shitty any more and it probably will never reach the point of being that shitty again. I am going to have bad days. I am going to have bad experience. I may even experience more trauma (the world is like that) but forever and ever amen I am not in the position I was in. I am always going to be one of the lucky ones. That is weird.
I feel really weird because so much of it feels like a gift Noah bestowed on me. I’m his rescue project. Ew, ick, yuck. (For the record he doesn’t seem to appear to think of me this way. You can tell who thinks of you as being “lower” socially or in need of “rescue”. Noah doesn’t talk to me like that.)
Even when I’m being incredibly irrational, Noah treats it like one state of being. It is one way I act. It isn’t the only way I act. Sometimes I am even highly rational. He treats those times as being more important.
I was thinking recently how unfair it is that Noah has to be supportive of me so much of the time in comparison to how much support I give him. It occurred to me, while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, that I am uhm, kind of Miss Piggy like with my affection for Noah. It has to be all ME ME ME ME ME ME until I notice that he has an issue and then I flatten him with my desire to be “supportive”. This was not a flattering self-understanding.
Noah has told me that I want him to be obsessed with me. I’m willing to bet that is true. I do. I want him to care and care and care and be interested and fascinated and I want him to not get bored with me even though I’m repetitive.
A long time ago we agreed that we would take turns having bad days. We each believe that it is our responsibility to carry 100% of the relationship. That way when someone falls down it doesn’t feel like they aren’t doing their share. I like to believe I provide a little of this experience for Noah. I know it is a fucking lie–I don’t support him like he supports me. I’m really sensitive to this whole “being a dependent” thing. But he doesn’t expect me to do much and I treat him doing things around the house like a gift.
The secret to happiness is low expectations. If Noah expects me to do just about nothing and instead I do more like 45% of the work–I don’t seem as bad! In comparison, on weeks when Noah does no cooking nor any cleaning… I can’t find it in my heart to be mad at him. He does so much work that I have to smile and say, “That’s ok. I’ll do it this time.”
I believe in setting people up for being successful. We have carefully created a life where we are each likely to seem successful to the person we are standing nearest–partially because we carefully set up what it means to be “successful”. We are both big on giving direction, “I would really love it if you _______”. I appreciate that he has worked really hard on being able to say things to me–even when it is hard and he knows I won’t like it. He prefaces with, “I’ve been trying hard to think of a good way to say this and I haven’t come up with one. I hope that I can say it in a bad way and you can hear what I really mean without getting upset about my bad phrasing.”
I love this man so much I feel like I will explode some days. He acts like me reacting to bad phrasing is a reasonable thing to have happen. He hopes I won’t get mad this time because he really means well. But if I do get mad, well it will make sense and that’s ok.
I don’t get a lot of that kind of accommodation in the world. Mostly people act like it isn’t ok to ever react badly to their words. If you do then you are the meanie. But! BUT! BUT!
Noah acts like I am a person with a long and convoluted history and he wants to be kind to me. That means handling my little points of prickliness without treating me like an imposition. I feel so loved in my house. I feel like I matter.
I have a lot of friends. My friends love me very much. I am very grateful for their presence in my life. Noah is in a whole different category. Noah validates me.
Noah tells me frankly that he lived before he met me and he would carry on without me if I died but he would be forever less. Noah makes me feel like if I died, the world would be less bright. There would be less reason to keep trying hard things.
I’ve got some feelings about this boy of mine. I feel very lucky. I hope I never take him for granted. I hope I always appreciate him this much. When I struggle to see what I’ve got going for me, and I feel like I should die…
I don’t want to miss out on one day of Noah’s company. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I think this life is all I’ve got. Take it and make with it what you will. I want more time with Noah. I want more time with Shanna and Calli. Surely feeling like you have good reason to get up every day is enough reason to consider yourself one of the lucky ones?
Am I ever going to stop feeling like I was put in a movie of someone else’s life?