what’s changed about you?

Jada Pinkett-Smith says she is learning about Will all over again in light of being locked down together. After twenty-odd years married, they’re working on friendship.

What’s changed about you? Are you more self-aware now than you were before we were all thrust into slowing pace, and paying attention.

Facebook suits a certain narrative. The longer you’re pissed, the less the posts. The happier you are, the lighter your mood, the more you feed your newsfeed.

But let’s cut the Facebook bullshit for a second. What has changed about you? What’s different about you? What have you learned about yourself? Have you discovered how you handle emergencies was different than you’d originally assumed?

My tolerance is waning. My patience is fleeting. I’ve never been an overly “hurry up and wait” kinda girl. I’m struggling the hardest with slowwwwwwing down. I’ve taken to painting, and drawing to try and calm my nerves and anxiousness.

I’ve also been listening to far more soft rock than I ever have before. I shamelessly adore Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Don Henley and Phil Collins. But I’ve really ramped up my soft rock playlists. Good thing for the family, I’m typically donning headphones.

Here’s the other major factoid about me.

There are many, many ways to say something of the same meaning but given the right glow up shines it in just the right light. You could call something “small”, or give it some flare with “cozy”.

Yesterday, one of my nearest and dearest back home inferred that I was “independent”. It was a polite way for saying I prefer being alone. That I’m good on my own. That while I dance in relationship circles, I ultimately end up by myself because eventually I’m done playing well in the sandbox.

Detangling this personality faux pas has been tested repeatedly. I can’t enough times reiterate that Jan and I were just easing into a new thing. We moved in quickly for logistical, and financial reasons. But then suddenly here we were, trying to figure out each other, when the universe collapsed on us. And now we’re breathing the same air, trying not to choke each other out.

I think back to what my life was like growing up with siblings. Nothing in the entire creation could steal my commitment to them as their older sister, and that protection that was built inside me to care for them always. But knowing those two assholes made me want to cause them bodily harm on the daily during our teenage years has never left me. I think back and laugh at what it was like to fight over the most of mundane things – from the clothes we stole, or make up we shared, to boys we liked, to our joint pissed-offness with our parents.

A lot of my experience with Jan these last few weeks has been a lot like that. A lot like building up a friendship, and trust, and understanding. Mutual kicking and screaming over who’s going to do the dishes, who woke up in a bad mood, who’s going to tell the other to screw themselves first. Who needs to sit down in the corner. Who needs a time out.

But just like my sisters, who are two of my very favourite creatures on the planet, I know he and I are just going to have to suck it up, and remember better days are coming. They do happen. No matter how intermittently.

Some days, I have a love for that boy that could span oceans and skies. Some days, well. And while celebs seems to be the most vocal about their incessant fighting, I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we can all admit that we’re each on the edge. Whether you’re Jan and I (and I’ve referenced this before), and have only been together a short time. Or you’ve been married a hundred years.

And let’s circle back. This is what I mean about discovering who you are and how you’re changing. Because I know who I was in relationships. When it got hard, and it was easier to leave, than it was to stick around and be miserable. Leaning into the notion that shit will inevitably give, like a dam on a breakaway, things will get better. I’ve discovered that about me. I’m more willing to give that a try.

How about you? What have you learned about yourself? Maybe you’ve started a new hobby. Maybe you’ve realized that you shouldn’t let the dishes pile in the sink for as long as you had been. Maybe you’ve found a passion for cooking. Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve got the Eagles on repeat. I’ve even started letting my phone battery run down till it’s completely dead and I have to wait for it to charge up before using it – rendering me phoneless!

Maybe you’re just giving in that you were who you were before, and there’s a calming constant in not changing at all. To you – kudos. Because this path of self-discovery I’ve ultimately found myself on is bending, and winding, and intimidating. Dark in some areas. And brighter in others. When we step out after this thing is over, it’ll be interesting to see if the changes stick. Or if I’ll hit the next button on the playlist and find myself in a totally different genre.

Time will tell.

— c ☆

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