not that kind, the metaphorical kind
and not fun, not hawt
He gave me a lot of leeway over the past several weeks: not so much leeway in day to day rules, more freedom in my mental state. The project that was consuming my time and my thoughts forced me to be in a mindset of 'me first'. I fought that initially - it doesn't feel right, and I know it's hard to come back from; but, he was right, it was the only way to finish and to do it well.
I haven't been coming back from it well at all. He's been patient, but last night i unloaded on him with a litany of complaints of how he wasn't helping me the right way, how I needed him to do this or that, how it is really his responsibility to fix everything, including me. Those weren't the words i was using - but - after the metaphorical face slap - it was clear - that is what i was really saying. And that wasn't the painful part....
He has a voice - a voice that lets you know that you've managed to tap into his anger - something that he doesn't allow very often at all. He explained, with controlled but unconcealed anger, that it is difficult for him also. It's hard to know exactly what will be the perfect thing for me at the perfect time. It's hard to make the right decisions for the family - all the time. In the same way that i have trouble moving between my various roles, it's difficult for him to divide his mindset as well, to transition from husband to father to work to master and owner - or to be any of those together in the same moment. That he recognizes that my role is difficult - but that his is as well, and he takes it very seriously, it's not a game or a for fun thing, that it is complex and important and he also sometimes needs time, and may get it wrong, and may want to go slowly out of caution. That he isn't going to try to get the whole of our lives right through a tug on my hair and some swats with a cane. That it is my role to be patient and to accept going his way.
I had lost sight of all of that, and more. I had it all backwards in my mind. I had let it become a game instead of our lives. I was putting me first.
I hesitated to write about this - it doesn't show me in my best light - but i can live with that. But it also shows him as human - something that isn't as commonly done. I know that he only cares about what is right for the two of us, that he doesn't care a whit about how anyone else perceives him. He is human, not mythical, not omniscient, omnipotent, or infallible. It is easier for me to fall back on relating to him as if he were, it would mean I could just blindly follow, i wouldn't have any responsibility to our relationship. But he is and we are deeper and more complex than that. For it to be real for us, I have responsibility also.
That slap in the face makes a much bigger impression and hopefully i will internalize the lesson better than a more literal one.