Gabriel and I spend most of our day together. Like, pretty much 24/7.
To a lot of couples out there that’s just too much, but for us it has worked out just great so far.
However, from time to time, we get some forced “me time”
And then this happens:
I don’t just mean that I’m sad and upset when he’s gone and miss him terribly; no I mean that as a general rule I’m absolutely terrible at taking care of myself when Gabriel’s not there.
For example, one of the last times we had to separate, Gabriel had to go to the Capital for about 24 hours to check up on his passport application.
He found me in the same position he had left me, cup of coffee in hand. When he asked me if I’d been there the whole time, I looked up, coffee buzzed, with a nervous tick in my left eye and said “I’ve been REALLY productive!”
The thing is I hate cooking for just one person. All that time spent preparing food lovingly to scarf it down in just a few minutes. So I don’t .
I burry my nose in my work.
I work until I can’t anymore.
I go to sleep late.
I wake up late.
I forget to drink water.
I forget to eat.
I’m a terrible mess.
Last time he left, bless his soul, he tried to counteract my “issues” and went to the store right before he left and bought all kinds of sandwich ingredients and said to me “there, you barely have to do anything, it’s in the fridge, just put it together and eat.”
It worked. A little too well. I ate the sandwich for a mid-afternoon snack and had nothing left for dinner. ;)
It’s embarrassing really.
I could do this for the rest of my life. Rely on him to take care of me. To put water in front of me when it’s time to drink, to tell me it’s time to put the computer down for a bit. to tell me to look at the birds from time to time. I could. But then I’m reminded he won’t necessarily always be there.
Maybe he’ll have to leave for an extended trip, maybe we’ll have to live apart form each other for a time down the road, maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the first to find out what’s on the other side of Death’s curtain. Maybe I should learn to take care of myself the way he takes care of me, and the way I take care of him.
To learn to put in all the love into food that only I am going to eat because even if I scarf it down, it’s still worth it. I’m still worthy of my own love and attention, even if it’s just for me.
To learn to get lost in my work, yes, but also regulate my workflow and remember that there’s a real physical world outside of it all.
To learn the that the joy I feel when I walk into a freshly cleaned room (which I cleaned so HE’D enjoy a clean room) doesn’t disappear if I cleaned that room for me.
Not to mention that it’s a burden on him, wether he admits it or not, to be the sole stabilizer of my mental health. Burdens drain, and I don’t need to be pooling from his mental health to fill my voids.
Practicing Self Love
This week Gabriel is gone on a “manventure,” exploring the high ground of the Dominican Republic by himself.
It’s an idea I suggested and that he liked.
It occurred to me that I had done a lot of solo travel, but he had not. Exploring the world by yourself leads to a lot of internal growth, and here we are about to embark on a worlwide journey together, but he’s never really had the time to do his own exploration. So I suggested he go explore on his own. Test his own limits and comfort zones, do some stuff that guys get to do that doesn’t work out so well, or becomes dangerous, when there’s a lady involved (hitchhiking, etc…)
So he took off for five days, and during these five days I will begin to practice acts of self care and self love. I will be aware of my water intake, I will shower appropriate amounts, I will keep track of my hours seated in front of my computer, I will practice my yoga, I will make my bed, and I will cook, with love, for me.
This will help alleviate some of the stress I feel, deep down inside, that if he were ever to be taken away from me I wouldn’t have the strength to pull through and keep it together, something I’ve always admired by mother for, her true love, my father, having been snatched from our world “early.”
Proving to myself now, when it’s a luxury, that I can be strong without him will not take away from how much happier I am when he is there, but it will take a weight off his shoulders to not have to worry about me when he leaves me alone, and it will be great practice should we ever have to be apart.
Let’s see how that goes!