Ever since I moved in, I’ve been sick. First it was diarrhea, every morning and every time I ate. I’ve had digestion problems before and have been diagnosed with IBS (as if I needed a string of doctor’s fees and a battery of tests to tell me that my bowels were irritated). I consider Irritable Bowel Syndrome a non-diagnosis, what doctors tell patients (usually women) that they have when a cause for their sickness can’t actually be found. I suppose that makes sense though—if illness is a physical manifestation of emotional issues, than it would be hard for doctors to pinpoint exactly what the problem was. My body is rejecting the nourishment I offer it; I suppose in much the same way as I shut out the gifts of love offered to me.
I don’t fully trust—not Jeff, not my family, not my friends, and certainly not the benevolence of the world. I don’t believe that the universe loves me and wishes me well; I don’t feel safe in most situations. If asked, I would say that there is a God, and that he loves me, but deep down I don’t truly trust that he is there for me. Or more accurately, my eight-year-old inner child doesn’t. The adult me does believe in Jeff’s love, in the love of my family (however dysfunctional and hands-off), in the love of my friends. And the grown-up I’ve become is trying to have faith in a loving, generous, abundant universe that will provide for my needs, as long as I make the effort to grow and learn. My eight-year-old though, she’s tough! She doesn’t trust anyone. Clearly she’s not so good at taking care of herself either.
I think my stomach issues were improving when I got a cold. It started as a bit of a sore throat that I thought I could force out with a hot bath and a sleepless night of sweating, but it went into my chest. Now I really can’t sleep, coughs ranging from intermittent growls to paroxysms that nearly knock me out of bed. I “recline” practically sitting up, my head tilted to the side on the pillow corner. I’m lucky to get a three-hour block of sleep at a time. I’ve had this cold for almost two weeks, and as I sit here hacking up phlegm like an old man, my tea cup doubling as a spittoon, I’d really like to be rid of it.
Am I having a hard time articulating my needs and wants? Is coughing the only way I feel I can be noticed? Is there something I need to get rid of in my life that I just can’t let go of? Am I trying to put off the reality of setting up our new home? I don’t know. I do feel though that I’ll get better when I know that Jeff will take charge, that I won’t have to be responsible for everything myself. I also know that he isn’t my parents; he does listen to me; he does do his best to keep my interests in mind. I don’t believe that he really wants me to decide everything; I think he is insecure with his decision making (maybe because he was yelled at a lot as a child), and part of my fear deals with what might be rather than what is. I’m hyper vigilant about not getting into the same destructive patterns that were the norm in past relationships.
We bought The Relationship Solution, a couples’ therapy audio and video package made by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. It seems to be working so far, emphasizing much of what I’ve gone over in therapy, giving me extra clarification and Jeff some new insights. Last night’s assignment was to say some of our new commitments out loud while “moving our wrists and elbows playfully.” As we flitted and break-danced around the room like clumsy swans or short-circuited robots, we repeated our new goals: to know myself authentically and completely; to regard every interaction as a learning opportunity; to let go of any defensive posturing; to take full responsibility for my feelings and the circumstances of my life; to fully embrace and express my creativity; and to commit to ease and flow in all aspects of my life. I felt like I was in one of those ridiculous body movement classes to inspire beginning actors, but when I have had to do things like that in the past, I never had so much fun. Maybe it’s the company.