The emotional tsunami
That’s how it feels sometimes, when Steve and I have what we think is going to be play, and he taps into a well of feelings. I’ll never quite understand the phenomenon about how feeling pain releases pain (I know, it’s not all about the pain), but whatever it is, I am grateful for it.
It had been a couple of weeks — last week, my apartment was crawling with plumbers and painters, and Steve was busy with work stuff, so we had to skip it. I felt OK when he arrived, not aware that I had any sort of stuff going on — no more than usual, anyway.
The OTK/hand portion startled me in that it felt extra painful; perhaps it was the two-week break. But I found myself nearly hyperventilating and Steve stopped so that I could take some deep breaths and regulate my heartbeat. Soon, I got into my groove and greedily absorbed everything he doled out. His hand has gotten so strong over the past nearly three years! I remember when we first started, he had to keep stopping, and he kept trying to use his other hand (for which I gave him a bunch of noise). Not so now.
Not sure what happened. We were taking our customary break, and cuddling on the couch before we moved onto implements. He was complimenting me, my body, and I was pooh-poohing his words, denying them. I know better than this. I know that’s a counterproductive thing to do. But I couldn’t seem to help it. I’ve been in kind of an insecure mode (what else is new!!), and not feeling all that great about myself. His lovely words had to be about someone else; they couldn’t possibly be about me.
“You know, if I close my eyes, and run my hands over any part of you” (he stopped to brush my arm, my leg, the side of my waist, and then my butt) “there’s no way I could tell how old you are. All I feel is tone and muscle. You feel like a 20-year-old.”
To this, I snorted, “Riiiiiight. Then open your eyes and behold the wrinkles, the sags, the age spots… you don’t see any of this crap on a 20-year-old!” I plucked at the loose skin on my arm, pointed to the brown spots splattered all over my forearms.
This did not sit well with Steve at all. “I’m going to end this bull@#$% right now, ” he announced in his toppy voice. “Go get the spoon. I think we need some of that today.” (What’s this “we” business?)
In my bedroom, he put me over the pillows, and didn’t even warm me back up with his hand, just went right into it with the wooden spoon, which hurts like a mofo. At first it was over my leggings, but as soon as those came down, my skimpy thong afforded no protection whatsoever, and that spoon bit and stung and set mini-fires everywhere it struck.
“You are beautiful, inside and out,” Steve said calmly. “I want to hear you say it.”
I couldn’t say it. I started crying instead. He didn’t stop.
“Come on, I want to hear you say it. This won’t stop until you do.”
Because I couldn’t stand it, I sobbed, “I’m beautiful!” but then quickly added, “But I don’t believe it. You can make me say it, but you can’t make me believe it!”
“We’ll work on the believing,” he said, lightening up a little, but still not stopping. “For now, I just want you to practice saying it.”
He took a quick break to rub my back and stroke my hair, to get me a tissue, and then started again. “Do you believe that I believe it?” he asked me. “Yes,” I wept.
“Would I lie to you about that? Would I be your top if I weren’t attracted to you? If I didn’t think you were a wonderful person?”
“No.” But by now, the dam had broken. Now, all the feelings came rushing down like an avalanche. It’s a weird thing; I don’t know if everyone experiences this, or just depressives. But when I am upset about one thing, suddenly everything seems dark. I have this exaggerated sense of everything going wrong, everything being hopeless. It doesn’t matter what sets it off, at that point. I’m temporarily lost. My perspective is turned on its head.
I don’t remember when he stopped, or when he gathered me into his arms. I cried and cried and cried. Every hurt, every loss, every worry, all the stuff with John, issues with friends, with finances, you name it, was swirling around me in this great mass, like a tsunami, and Steve felt like a massive thick tree in the middle of it all, so I clung to him for dear life. His shirt was balled up in my fists and I couldn’t get close enough — I just wanted to climb inside his skin and be safe.
He murmured to me all along. “You’re OK, let it out, I’m here.” “I’ll take care of you.” At one point, for reasons I didn’t quite understand, he said, “Don’t ever walk away from me. Don’t ever leave. You understand?”
“I don’t leave!” I blurted. “Everyone leaves ME!” Ugh. I hate it how, even after all these years, all the therapy, all the work I’ve done, I still have those fucking rejection issues. “Why isn’t it getting better?” I wept into his shirt. “When is it going to get better?” I didn’t even know what “it” was, right then. He didn’t either. He just held me and said, “It will.” What else could he say, really?
It took a long time for me to stop crying. I’d wind down, then start up again. I went through a lot of tissues, wadding them into one soggy ball after the other. Finally, the tears tapered off, and I became aware of the fierce stinging and soreness. I reached down to rub. My skin felt welted.
“Does it hurt?” Steve asked.
“Good. It’s supposed to.”
He had to go back to work, but he stayed with me for about an hour afterward, hour and a half. I felt drained and tired, but a lot more at peace. We took no pictures, no video, this time. It was too personal. At times like this, I can’t help but remember Amber Pixie Wells’s words: “Tears are hot. Snot is not.” Steve thinks my swollen eyes and red drippy nose are beautiful. I think he’s insane. I guess some things will never change.
After he left, I so wanted to take a nap, but had to get back to my own work. The whole responsible adult thing, you know. It was a little challenging, reading and copy editing with eyes nearly swollen shut, but I managed. Later when I showered, I checked myself out in the mirror. I thought for sure I’d be marked. Nope. Aside from a couple of faint pink circles, the canvas was clean once again. Amazing.
Onward with the week. I have lots of work (yay!), so at least that will keep me out of trouble. I did take a break today to get my hair cut and colored, and my first pedi in months (my feet were a disgrace), so I feel sorta pretty. 🙂 John is starting to walk to work, which is 1 1/2 miles, so he’s walking three miles a day. He’s very tired, but he’s just short of three months out of surgery, so that is to be expected. I worry because he’s so very thin, and he’s lost all his muscle — he’s a shadow of his former robust self. His posture is stooped; I keep (gently) bugging him to stand up straight. And it’s still a struggle regulating his blood-thinner levels, his fluid levels, his heart rate, his blood pressure. But I guess we have to give that time.
Back to work for me. Happy Hump Day.