I’m not a particular fan of roses.
I do not find them particularly beautiful as cut flowers. And then there are the thorns.
When a man gives a woman roses, it seems as if he’s trying a little too hard.
It seems a bit cliche.
I much prefer daisies and tulips and hydrangeas and Bells of Ireland.
And strike those oddly colored daisies seen in so many supermarkets. They make me wrinkle my nose.
But when he delivered a large bouquet of flowers to my office yesterday, and in between the daisies and lilies were three red roses, I smiled. We know the florist personally, and I can image that the florist simply could not bring himself to make a Valentine’s Day arrangement without including at least one rose. And so he did.
I am different.
I have a friend who calls me a “differences person.” He once put two quarters in front of me on the table and asked me to compare the two. I didn’t compare, I contrasted.
I pointed out all the differences between the two coins. And he’s since helped me realize that I navigate life with a keen frequency for differences. This is why when receiving advice, I’ll often do the very opposite.
When my grandmother told me I should spend more time with stay-at-home mothers who could, by example, teach me to be more content as a stay-at-home mother myself, I promptly went out and enrolled in several college courses to begin a new career path.
My focus on the differences is never a conscious effort to rebel. But if one says to me, “go,” that almost assuredly means I will stay. If one says to me, “exercise is more important than nutrition,” I will likely refute.
Sadly, I’ve had well-intentioned people in my life who have picked up on this and found ways to use it to help me help myself in my “codependent crazy” moments but I usually see right through them. When I ask a close girlfriend, “Am I ugly?,” she’ll respond, “Absolutely.” To which I’ll exclaim with a smile, “I am not–shut up,” and she laughs. “Why do you even ask me such silly questions,” she says.
Little seems to get past me, except the truth.
Yesterday, he delivered the flowers to my office while I was in a neighboring building dealing with a situation that required my full attention. I knew he was coming, and told him where I’d be. I saw him pull into the parking lot, but he never came over, and assuming he was waiting for me in my office, I was disappointed to find that he was already gone when I returned just 10 minutes later.
The rest of the day was spotty communication between us, and I remember feeling the temptation to think the worst. I remembered during our affair how he’d bring me flowers on special days, have lunch with me, and I knew the excuses he’d make to the person at home. And here he wasn’t responding to my texts for a couple of hours. On Valentine’s Day.
My imagination began to run wild.
I thought all sorts of horrible things–all involving other women–and caught myself several times over wanting to push it on the texts, or call him to check on where he was and what he was doing. I didn’t, but the thought was there.
For some reason, I thought the worst, instead of rationalizing that he was having a busy day at work. A lot of driving. A lot of phone calls. A lot of of a lot.
And when around 4:00 p.m. he texted, “Ready for a night out?,” I felt relief. The headache I’d been nursing all day soon dissipated.
When we did reunite at home, he was dragging his feet a bit, and hopped in the shower. They had set six anchors today. There were personnel issues. And more.
He has a physically hard job. His phone rings nonstop some days. And yet these were not the thoughts swirling in my mind as I wondered why I wasn’t hearing from him more frequently. What I knew in this codependent inclination toward emotional turmoil was that I wasn’t feeling reassured. And reassurance could only come from him.
Today’s meditation addresses control:
Even if we could control things and people, even if we got what we wanted, we would still be ourselves. Our emotional state would still be in turmoil.
People and things don’t stop our pain or heal us.
This gives legs to his long-held assertion that nothing would be good enough for me. If we got married, it wouldn’t be enough, he says, I’d still be looking for something wrong, something more.
And he’s not wrong.
This also suggests that even if I do find a new job, I may encounter the same level of discontent. It’s like taking a daisy out of one flowerbed, putting it in another, and expecting it to turn into a rose. It would still be a daisy.
And in any other job, relationship, house, hobby, et cetera, I will still be me. With all my strengths and weaknesses. With all my anxieties and temptations to ruminate, overanalyze, and catastrophize. With my proclivity to look for and adopt the “differences.”
My recovery is my responsibility. Just as my emotional sobriety–or more importantly, my return to emotional sobriety in a moment of anxiety–is my responsibility, too.
A text from him is nice, but it is not the panacea I make it out to be–nor is the lack of a text what my anxiety transforms it into.
I am responsible for me.
As the author writes:
I can deal with my feelings. I can get peaceful. I can get calm. I can get back on track and find the true key to happiness–myself.