I had an absolute, toddler-sized, kicking and screaming, meltdown yesterday. Luckily, I was alone at the time. Well, Errol was there, and he immediately moved to his old man chair and away from the couch where I was crying my eyes out. I was texting both my partner and my best friend during this meltdown, but neither of them knew the extent of what was happening at home and in my head. It felt good to be alone at the time, but when David came home, I knew I had to let him see me cry and I knew I had to expose my true thoughts and feelings. Crying in front of people has never been a hard thing for me to do. I am a crier through and through. I cry at commercials, movies, PSAs, blog posts, photos, etc. I cry when I’m confused, nervous, scared, hurt, happy, excited, feeling passionate. Pretty much every emotion makes it’s way through my eyeballs in the form of tears. My mother will tell you that I have cried every day of my life, and that is probably accurate. I am crying now while writing this post. So the crying in front of another person is fine and easy. The part where I have to explain what is going on in my head is the terrifying part. I think most of you can relate.
An important, and extremely difficult, part of any relationship is the ability to be transparent and vulnerable with one another. A thing I say to my therapist often, and to my partner a little less often, is “I don’t want to show my crazy”. A common fear, whether people realize it or not, is that if our significant others see us for who we truly are, they will leave. They will hightail it outta there, hitch a ride with an axe-murderer, and board a one-way flight to the Bermuda Triangle just to escape the crazy unfolding before them. My therapist’s nonsensical advise regarding this fear is that the only way to be truly intimate with one another and build a lasting relationship is to become fully visible and transparent to your partner. Show your crazy in all it’s ugly glory. Open up, let it all out, and deal with it as a team. If you can do this, and your partner doesn’t run away screaming in terror, then you have a shot at a real and beautiful relationship. Scary stuff. What if I do unpack my crazy in front of him and he can’t handle it? Well, then, he probably isn’t the one for me, or he has some introspection to do himself. I say this is nonsensical advice because it goes against my natural instincts to run and hide.
A thing that I have learned in my relationship with David is that my crazy looks far worse to myself than it does to him, and also that he has equal amounts of crazy to share. And guess what? His crazy is beautiful. The things that David considers faults in himself, the things that he wants to hide, or escape, don’t look ugly or crazy to me. They are what make him David. They are pieces of what made me fall in love with him. We both know full well that we each have things to work on and improve, but none of his secret junk makes me want to run away. It makes me want to hug him, show him more love, and tell him that I want him, crazy and all. Maybe if I feel that way about him, there is a chance that he feels the same way about me? Nah, probably not. Nobody could actually handle the crazy that swirls around in my head… but maybe David can. I guess the only way to find out is to expose my inner self. Open up and leave myself completely vulnerable to be trampled on, crumpled up, and thrown away. The most scary thing one can possibly do is be one-hundred percent vulnerable to another human being.
So when David got home yesterday, I cried, and got mad, and told him how I felt, with more detail than I had done in the midday text messages, and I told him that I felt crazy. What did he do? He hugged me, told me that he loved me, and that he didn’t think I was crazy. He didn’t run away, he didn’t break up with me, he didn’t decide that he had his fill of crazy. He decided to continue loving me, and spent the night playing with my hair while we laid on the couch and watched TV. I hugged him back, and then ran into the bathroom to sob some more before I washed my face. I also ate three slices of dark chocolate silk pie, but I did that while I was alone during the day.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it won’t be the last. Exposing your crazy, both the good kind and the bad kind, is something that you should be doing on a regular basis in any relationship, but especially in your romantic partnership. David and I have experienced many tearful nights of one or both of us explaining what was happening inside our heads and opening up to one another. I know more about David than anyone else (except maybe his therapist) and vice versa. Being vulnerable is risky and terrifying, but I promise it will bring you and your partner closer together. The first exposure is the most difficult, and it gets slightly easier with every layer you peel back.
Dark chocolate silk pie might not fix your problems, but it will provide a delicious escape from your life. It takes some loving care to get it made, but the process of melting, cooling, and mixing the chocolate is just the first therapeutic step to get you on your way to biting into the luscious dark chocolate and graham cracker crust. Plus, the pounding of the graham crackers will let out some of your aggression! Take some “me time” and make this rich dessert. Then share your crazy while sharing your pie with your partner (or eat it all before he/she gets home).
Update: It has now been two days since my meltdown, and I had another last night for a completely different reason. So I have now opened up my crazy two days in a row, and I still have a boyfriend. Imagine that. David even came home on his lunch break today to spend extra time with me. Hows that for accepting all of me and wanting more? Like I said, the vulnerability and emotions aren’t a one-time deal. They will continue to spring up from time to time. I say rejoice in your relationship when you cross hurdles like this. It has taken me thirty years to get to know myself and to be comfortable truly opening up to another person. Now I just wish I had more of this chocolate pie in the fridge.