Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Relationship Part 3: A "Healthy Addition"






























A few weeks ago, a buddy of Seth's called in the late hours of the evening, hoping to let off some steam, as well as to ask for some relationship council. This seems to be a common occurrence in the Boyack Household (have I told you that that's my new last name? ;). I cannot tell you how many of Seth's friends think of him as a very wise, and trusted friend. I think this is because Seth knows how to listen, and soundly react to the words being said, making him a wonderful resource for people who are in need of that type of support. I keep telling him he would have made a excellent therapist :)

Anyway, so there Seth was sitting on the couch, discussing with his friend all things love, women, marriage, relationships, etc.

As I was tidying up the house and working on other projects, I heard him say:

"Much of the success Jacy and I have found together has come in our support for one another" followed by, "Well, we've just found it to be crucial to support each other's hopes and dreams and hobbies. And we recognize the importance in the healthy space away from one another that we all need."

After he said this, I began to ponder more about what this meant, and how we have applied these principles in our relationship thus far.

You see, in my former years, I think "support one another" and "space" was something I missed. It seemed that every ounce of my whole life revolved around my husband and my family, and as a result, I lost the desire to do things that I loved, and I also felt threatened if my boyfriend/spouse wanted to participate in activities outside of being with me, or outside the walls of our home.

I remember many times feeling like a business trip was the end of the world. What would I do without him? Or if there was some work or church or service responsibility that would take time away from me for a chunk of time, those hours would drag and drag because I just couldn't wait to have him back so our day/night could begin. Hurry back already! I'm bored!

I felt completely dependent on someone else to provide my fulfillment and happiness.

Well, that all changed when I went through a divorce. For many, many, many nights it was me, myself, and I. Actually, if I do the math, it was about 990 days that I spent alone. Yes, I dated. Yes I spent time with my family. Yes, I had friends and girlfriends to keep me company. But for almost 1,000 days I lived alone; a type of experience will change your life in substantial ways. Time, reflection and solace changes your perspective on things.You better believe that I spent many of those nights in that time, in the sickening quietness of my home, and felt the absolute lowest a person could have felt. There were times when I felt useless and boring and like a total failure. It was in those very lonely hours that something clicked. 

I am responsible for me. I can be happy whether or not I have a husband/man in my life.  And so, I rediscovered the things I loved to do.

I began spending more time with my son, doing things we loved.

I began playing guitar again.

I began singing again.

I began crafting again.

I began writing more frequently.

I began laughing again and let go of the guilty feelings I felt for having fun, even though my life was blown to smithereens. 

And I also began doing new things. New hobbies were being born.

This is when I like to think that the new me, the changed me, the better me blossomed. Because once I was forced to live my life without anyone else in it, I was no longer looking for (or expecting) a man to rescue me and provide a happy life for me. I was finding happiness within me. And then, I was open and ready to find a man who was a "healthy addition" to my life; not a man who was my life. My therapist kept telling me that I'd know when the right kind of man walked into my path; he would be just that "a healthy addition". He wouldn't try to change things. He wouldn't try to take over things. He wouldn't demand that it was his way or the highway. He wouldn't try to control me. 

He would love and support me for who and what I am, and he would want to build and create something together WITH me (and, of course, the same mentality would be reciprocated on my end towards him).

I am so very happy to say that thus far, Seth has been a "healthy addition" to my life- and from hearing bits and pieces of the conversation Seth had with his buddy, I think he feels the same (yes, we've talked about it, too, but it's good to hear it from the outside ;)

Seth loves to exercise as it's part of his daily routine. He goes 5-6 days per week and it's usually after work. I enjoy when he goes because I know that the feels better about himself when he does.

Seth is also is a band and plays once per week in a studio for a few hours. When that night of the week rolls around, I am excited for him and plan to do something that I like to do while he's away.

Seth is starting business ventures with his buddies. This takes time and, like any business is, is risky. But it is important to him and so, we figure out the how's and why's of it, and I support his desire to do something like this.

On the flip side, he respects me equally as much.

I have spent hundreds of hours leading The Togetherness Project and Seth has been a silent partner in that, every step of the way.

When I have spoken at things, or been at conventions, Seth is always helping me prepare.

I love to write on this blog and other places. Seth knows that writing takes time (sometimes time away from him) but he has always been supportive of my passion to write.

I enjoy doing things outside of the home with my girlfriends, and Seth realizes that he is responsible for dinner and to entertain he and the Little Dude.

There is no begrudging attitude.

There is no resentment.

We are healthy additions.

And when two healthy additions come together, we believe that this is where the most love, understanding, and fulfillment can flourish. Because then, the mundane, everyday, stuff becomes more manageable. And it actually becomes more enjoyable. Because not only are you continually progressing in your passions, but you are building a happy family with, a stable and safe home with, and relationships that are genuine and sincere with someone who supports and loves you for everything you are and is equally as fulfilled on a personal level. And between the two of us, we have found that when we are both fulfilled (and when we have the space that every single one of us needs), our relationship soars.

We will both be the first to say that we do not dread business trips. In fact, we both enjoy the time apart. We are excited for and support the nights when one of us has something going on without the other.

I am not basing my life on him; he is not basing his life on me.

We're a team. We play on the same field. We both have the same end goals. We absolutely cherish our time together, we recognize the need for, and enjoy!, our time apart, but, most importantly, we're both working on building happiness on an individual level, so that we can mesh that happiness into one big giant ball where we can be better spouses, parents, friends, neighbors and human beings.

*THOUGHTS? I'd love to hear if you agree or not. Do you base your happiness on others? 



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Instagram!

Remember how a long time ago, I decided that my life was better without Instagram?

Well, it was. And I thoroughly enjoyed the break. Buuuuuuut, I've decided to start her back up again. Many of my friends only post on Instagram and I really miss keeping up with them.

So!

Here's to a new attempt at Instagramming. I'm kind of excited about it ;)

If you'd like to follow along, you can add me by pressing the little social media buttons on the right side of my blog. You'll find my personal email there, the My Name is Jacy Facebook Page, Instagram, and Twitter.

Follow, follow me. So that I can follow you :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hard Times, Helping Hands

You guys!

Please watch this.

Of course, I cried :)

One of my friends is the owner of Ray's Barber Shop in Salt Lake City and was able to be part of this AWESOME project.


I LOVE STUFF LIKE THIS! With all the garbage that we are bombarded with on a daily basis (in the media, on the news, and other places), this was like a ray of sunshine. In the article, I read about this particular family and how they had really just had a string of bad luck. No drugs, nothing like that.... just hard times. This is what helping hands are all about.

Loved, loved, loved this.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Conviction Within You




















Over the weekend I was able to present at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography conference in Southern Utah. The whole conference was inspirational, educational, and powerful. It was nothing short of amazing, really. I could not believe how many women, couples and supporters were there! So many people from the community had gathered together, in unity, to fight the same cause. There was no embarrassment, or shame, or judgements happening. It truly felt like there was so much love spilling from the rooms.

It was so beautiful.

As part of this, I was able to sit on panel for some Q & A. Not knowing what questions would be asked on the spot, I was nervous but did the best that I possibly could. I spoke from my heart.

The last question I was asked was:

"What is the most common question you are asked? And what is your answer to that question?"

Being that I am divorced because of addiction/betrayal, one main question popped into my mind. It was a no brainer. 

"Is divorce right for me?" and "When will I know?"

I cannot tell you how many emails I have received from readers all over the nation asking for guidance in this matter.

In the few moments that I had to answer the question, I briefly talked about my marital tree, how and when I knew it was the right time for me, and how it is a personal decision that only you can make. I described how one of two things will happen: 1) You will know when the last leaf has fallen off of your tree because all that is left are the dried out, brittle, lifeless limbs  OR 2) You will watch and be amazed and bask in the evolution as new leaves begin to bloom on your once thinning marital tree. You will be in recovery like so many are (a wonderful example of this are Rhyll and Stephen Croshaw from SA Lifeline).

***

Since getting home from the UCAP conference, I've done a lot of introspection about who I am, what I believe and what I hope and want my message to be as I continue on this healing journey of mine. I've also been thinking much about my presentation, how I could have been better, how I could have said thinks more eloquently, how I could have delivered the message in a more resonating matter. I've been thinking much about personal improvement.

Besides being the founder and director of The Togetherness Project and seeing all of that come together to be an amazing success, presenting at UCAP was one of the most fulfilling things I've ever been able to do. I love the types of opportunities that leave you wanting to be a better person; this was one of those days.

I know I've said this before, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says "everything happens for a reason." I don't really think that what I went through was "supposed" to happen. I whole heartedly disagree with that. Life happens and this was part of my life. But I DO think that when we try to better ourselves and possible help others because of what happened, instead of just focusing on ourselves and wallowing in our own misfortunes, things seem to get a little bit easier. The pain doesn't just go away, the trauma doesn't just disappear, but for me, it is getting easier.

It IS getting easier.

So, what's the point of this post, you ask?

I thought a lot about that question- the question of "What is the most common question you're asked and what is your answer to that question?" and I think I'd like to change my question and answer. It may be too late to submit this answer as the conference is already over, but none the less, I'd like to share my new question and answer with all of you.

Yes, I am asked the question of divorce all the time, but the other question that comes equally as much is:

"Am I going to be okay?"

My answer to this is very simple. It is:

"Yep. You are going to be okay. You are going to survive this. There is hope, there is happiness, and there is love and joy--whether you divorce or whether you recover or whether you're hanging in limbo land right now. Where ever you are in your journey, whatever pain you are feeling, you can do it!"

After my classes the day of the conference, at least two dozen men and women made their way up to the front of the classroom to talk with me. Tears were present in the eyes of both the men and women, alike. You could feel the love, care, and concern and it was undeniable that so many people are suffering the painful reality of a life not going as planned. Wives, fathers, mothers, church leaders, therapists, etc. shared their stories, asked questions, suggested extra thoughts, ideas and beautiful concepts that weren't included in my presentation.

As I either wrapped my arms around them, or held their hand in mine, I was reminded that there is hope. Oh my! There is so much hope. To see a community rally around, and come together, in the magnitude that it did over the weekend was spectacular. To see devotion for all parties involved in this difficult situation was remarkable. To feel instantly connected to strangers was tender and almost spiritual. It felt exactly like the day of The Togetherness Project- except there were men there, and a whole heck of a lot more people :)

Isn't it amazing to know that we are not alone?

To know that we are surrounded by so many people who DO care?

Whatever you are enduring, whether it's related to addiction or not, whether it's about loss, or divorce, or recovery, or financial hardships, or depression, or illness, or infertility, etc. please remember that you will survive, that you can overcome, and that there are others who have been through it before you, there are others who are enduring it with you now, and there will be others to experience it after you.

The point in all of this, if you ask me, is to find the conviction within you. Find your belief. Find your stable ground. Find your healing place. Always keep working toward becoming better. Never give up. And be so confident in yourself that you know, you resolutely KNOW, that you can do it.

Even if it's scary, or uncertain, or you're not sure you can go another step or you don't think there is any possible way you can do it again.... remember that

YOU CAN DO IT!

I am working on remembering this, too. Every single day, as I continue on this personal journey of mine, in my own healing and in this new realm of my life, I force myself to remember and BELIEVE that I can, in fact, be the heroin of my life.


Image Credit: Seth Boyack

Monday, November 18, 2013

Our Relationship Part 2- Communication Blueprint


For Our Relationship Part 1, go here.





























There is no embellishing when I say that in the time Seth and I have been together, never once have we gotten in an intense "fight".  Never once have we just gotten so mad at one another that we've left things unfinished. Never once have either of us stormed off angrily, resentfully or feeling under validated, overlooked, and/or misunderstood. Never once have we left things unsaid, resorting to the  practice of the silent treatment. Overall, it's safe to say that our relationship has been relatively easy and totally drama-free for the last 28 months.

Now, look, I hate articles that profess this unrealistic perfection in relationships. I, too, roll my eyes at those over exaggerated, lovey-dovey portrayals of "happy, flawless marriages".  Before you feel your eyes rolling in the back of your head with this post, and think to yourself  "well for heck's sake… they've only been married one year (ahem…. not even one year) and they've only been together for a little over two years. What on earth could they know?", let us explain why we've got some pretty good experience under our belts.

Seth was knowingly married to a woman with a severe addiction for 5 years. They were together for 3 years prior to that.

I was unknowingly married to a man with an addiction for 5 years.

We've both come from very different, yet very similar, situations that have changed the way we think, the way we interact with one another, and most importantly, the way we communicate with one another. We take healthy, open, honest and successful communication in our relationship very, very seriously. So while we haven't been together and successfully communicating for 40 years, what we know comes from not only the last 2 plus years of our courtship together, but the many combined years we experienced in our first marriages

We're not experts by any means... and we both have our foibles.... but this may help some of you out there so....

Here's a piece of our communication blueprint:

(these are mostly Seth's words... I just added a few lines or so):

#1 Listen, don’t react.

Too often when people find themselves in a conversation that involves constructive criticism, dislikes, changes to a system, disagreements and so on, it’s natural to get defensive. You know the feeling…your heart starts to race, blood begins to boil, your eyes narrow in on the target that you intend to banter with, and then it begins.  The two of you verbally throw punches until both parties are so worn out after endless rounds of point/counter point, that you eventually throw in the towel and call it a draw.  Not too constructive.  I use to subscribe to this method of communication and it never really worked out how I envisioned it would. It never ended well.

We've noticed that when you put the gloves down and allow the person you’re communicating with to explain their thoughts, feelings, fears, very openly and honestly, it gives them an opportunity to be heard and for you to understand.  Reacting is a very emotional based response.  The ability to not react puts you in control of the conversation and allows you to effectively navigate the communication. By putting your pride aside and learning about what it is that we, personally, could be doing better allows us to fully assess the situation and compose our thoughts accordingly.  If you can process and try to understand where the other person is coming from, you’ll be able to have effective communication with real substantial change.  

Understanding is the foundation for constructive communications.  

Understanding also sets the foundation to be able to empathize.

#2 Empathize

Empathy is about really wanting to understand that person on a deeper level, rather than just agreeing with them and nothing more.  If you have a true desire to understand and empathize with the person you're communicating with, it's hard to believe that there will be any maliciousness in the constructive parts of the conversation.  A lack of malice should provide a healthy foundational level to communicate on.  We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes two to tango” in various references.  For this topic, the saying couldn’t be more spot-on.  It takes two people with the desire to reach an honest outcome to effectively communicate.  You might not always agree with the other person, and you might offer some sort of guidance that the other party doesn’t buy off on, and that’s okay.  Effective communication isn’t about always being right or getting your way, it’s about maturity.  

To practice empathy, you also have to truly care about the person you are communicating with. Truly, deeply care. And then you have to consciously HEAR their words. You have to process what they are saying, what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way, without pushing YOUR agenda on them. This moment is not just about you... it is also about your partner and their feelings. You listen because what they are saying, no matter how hard it is to hear, is IMPORTANT to you.

#3 Be Humble

Be very humble as you listen. It's about looking far within yourself and realizing and then admitting that "I am not perfect, therefor I can be wrong.... and if I am wrong in this instance... what does that mean? What can I be doing differently? " Swallowing that jagged pill can hurt, but it's about something so much deeper than not reacting to what's being said; it's about true humility. It's about accepting that fact that we all have flaws and we can ALL be better.

Life’s an interesting gift we’ve been given.  We all have our own minds, hearts, beliefs, agency and the list goes on.  Communication is part of life. Effective communication is a crucial part of life, especially in our relationships with our loved one's. So, next time you’re in a difficult conversation, try to listen and don't let your emotional reaction be your first line of communication.  Instead, try to understand and empathize with that person and the honest feelings they are experinecing. And then be humble. Always try to be humble.  If you’re able to do these three things effectively, your communication skills will dramatically increase the productivity of the conversations you’re having and you just might find that it's easier to make positive change for the both of you.

**THOUGHTS?? We'd love to hear anything more you'd like to add to this list. What are your tools for positive/effective communication?

Image Credit

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Painted Gourds and Good Memories



Every single year, my Pop Pops grows a slew of gourds in his garden and every single year, he dries them out, and paints them all different colors for all of the different holidays. He and my Grandma Betty loved to work on this project together and every season their back porch had the most vibrant array of colors, all in the form of painted gourds hanging from the roof of their covered patio. Now that she is gone, I am so impressed with my 84 year old grandpa's ability to keep the tradition alive.

I have always loved the painted gourd idea, but I enjoy it most during this time of year. So, the last time I was in Utah visiting my Pops, I gathered a few of my favorite colors and took them on a road trip down South, and plopped them right in the center of my dining room table.

How darling, festive and FUN are these? Aaaaaaand they are a cheap and easy :) You just can't beat that! So, if you're looking for a new way to decorate and you're not wanting to spend loads of cash, find some dried out gourds, paint them any color you want, and then viola! you've got a really UNIQUE centerpiece. 

No, you don't need to thank me... thank my Poppa.... he's the genius behind it all. In fact, I think he had this all schemed out in advanced because I am reminded of he and my Grammie every single day I walk past my dining table; nothing but good memories come to mind from such a simple little display of painted gourds ;)



Monday, November 11, 2013

A Little Bit of Disney!

Hey, hey!

I know this should technically be Part 2 of mine and Seth's relationship series, but we are having way too much fun in Disney World to find time to sit and edit it. So, a few pictures of our trip will have to suffice for now and the post will be up next Monday-- sorry about that :)

I just LOVE it here! Seriously it really is so magical and so, so, whimsical! The weather is just right and we are surrounded by the prettiest, tallest trees, in our treehouse hotel room.

This is such a fun time of year to be here because all of the holiday decor is up in Magic Kingdom and tonight we celebrate at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: unlimited cookies and hot cocoa! Now that is what I'm talking about!

Just a little note to all of you today: if you have emailed me in the month or so and I have not responded yet, I will get back to you, I promise! Life has been totally hectic and non-stop and as of right now, I'm just taking some time away to enjoy me a little bit of Disney :)

Lots of love!







Sunday, November 10, 2013

Simple Things on a Sunday


Isn't this quote just so inspiring? I specifically love the words "plunge, dive deep, and swim far" because they perfectly reflect what challenging trials CAN do for us. Even though during those difficult times we are surrounded with immense agony and sorrow, we have the ability to rise above as stronger, more confident, and wiser beings than we were before.

Loved, loved, loved this and I just had to share today.

Happy Sabbath.

Photo credit: Steve Thomas

Friday, November 8, 2013

A News Story and a Bitter/Sweet Day


Last night, The Togetherness Project and I were featured on ABC4 News!

Last month, reporter Brian Carlson somehow stumbled upon my blog, read through some of my articles, linked over to the project's website, and then emailed me asking if I would be willing to be in a news story to help create awareness. Of course I said YES, even though I was terrified! I have never been on the news before and let me tell you something.... I was so nervous with anticipation last night that I was practically sticking to my leather couch from the sweat. And as Seth and I were watching it for the first time he said that I was "breathing hard". Haha!

No matter the sweat and the labored breathing, I think the story turned out really good and hopefully created more awareness and hope to those who are suffering alone as addicts and/or loved ones of addicts.

Before I hopped into bed last night, I got a text from Brian Carlson that said:

"Maybe we helped someone tonight."

My eyes welled with tears because that is the whole point. Even if just one person heard the story, related to it, and felt less-alone, possibly more empowered, and eager to seek help, then it is all worth it.




(It's super awesome to note that every single person in this story was involved with The Togetherness Project somehow! Both Maurice Harker and Kevin Skinner presented at the conference and the Iverson's did, too. And Jacque was on the project's committee and helped to make it all come to life. This is an awesome team right here!)

Courage is spilling out from the hearts of so many and it is so amazing to be part of it.

****

On a different and a less chipper note, today is a very bitter/sweet day for our family.

November 8th, 2010 was a very difficult day.

If you have followed my blog for quite some time, you will already know about Seth's sister Megan.

If you are new here, I would love to share a story with you today. Please read it... all 4 parts, if you will.






















Read part 1 of Megan's journey, A Story About Love, HERE.

Wishing you all a very wonderful, happy, and safe weekend. Hug those you love extra tight.

~Jacy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Togetherness Project Recap: Guest Post


**A special guest post today about The Togetherness Project from my dear friend, Alicia**



Before I boarded a plane and left my children behind to spend a weekend with a community of women I've come to admire and adore, I read Jacy's blog post.  I was moved to tears at the sentimentality of the quilt, the generosity of her grandmother.  It wasn't lost on me WHY the quilt would mean so much to someone like Jacy.  It was a representation of work, devotion, and memories.  It was a reminder of stories, a bringing together of fabric from every sort of background!

The quilt was stitched carefully together by talented, tireless hands.



The weekend of October 19th, I watched Jacy enjoy the fruits of her own kind of quilting:



Each woman brought her own story with her -her own hurts, memories, questions, talents, laughter, tears!  We were carefully pieced together with the common thread of sisterhood.

The beauty of our quilt isn't in the completion.  The beauty in our tapestry is improvement.  Jacy brought us all together and started our conference with a presentation titled, "Build a Better Story."  How fitting that the brand new owner of literal quilt made of stories should be the powerhouse behind a figurative tapestry of women.  Our quilt is ever-present, constant only in it's change.

We can improve upon our story, our life, talents, and tears!  Even our blackest memories can be beautiful when woven carefully into our piece.



As the day went on, we basked in the safety of sisterhood. We took our pen in our hand and improved upon ourselves. We left with new education, fresh awareness, and the realization that we do not stand alone! We are surrounded by love, support, validation, love, empathy, connection, and the ability to freely love without fear of rejection. 

We are more than quilted -we are welded by the bonds of sisterhood. 


Together.



  Read more reviews of The Togetherness Project:


Life is But a Weaving 
Corrie Ten Boom (The Tapestry Poem)


My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft' times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.


Thank you, Jacy, for being brave enough.  Thank you for following your heart and being an instrument in the weaving together of so many breathlessly beautiful tapestries.


**Thank YOU, Alicia, for making this humbling and very powerful parallel. The project was a life-changing success because of the resilient women who ever-so-courageously walked through those doors. Watching 160 women (all unique in their own way) connecting, hugging, smiling, mingling, crying, and then all cramming into the tiny little room together that morning is an image that I will never, ever, forget. I will carry that monumental moment with me for the rest of my life. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful and I am honored to be part of such a sisterhood. Thank you for this. Thank you for so eloquently writing why this whole thing (the women, the sisterhood, the healing, the hope, the knowledge etc) is so important and why it is worth fighting for.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our Relationship Part 1: Trusting Yourself





























It's funny how life's hiccups seem to pop up in the very moments when you think you're getting closer to having it all figured out. 

Last Monday we posted the idea of this mini-series; something that Seth and I were (are) so excited to work on together. We've been talking a lot about the direction we want to take this series and the most important points we hope to make. We came up with a great outline and list of discussion points and I was getting ready to lay it all out on paper.

That evening, Seth left town for a business trip. He had pulled his suitcase down from the top of our closet shelf, packed everything he could fit in it, and then boarded a plane for the week. 

A few nights later, I walked into our closet and for some reason or another, I looked up. I did a double take when I saw about 8 DVD's sitting in the back corner of his side of the closet; precisely behind where his suitcase usually sits.

My heart dropped. Actually, it began to race really really quickly and I felt a very familiar pit in my stomach. A feeling that I absolutely loathe.

I could only see the black part of the DVD cases and nothing else.

My initial thoughts were the obvious:

Pornography.... 

which will lead to..... 

Secret life.... 

which will lead to.... 

More trauma....

which will ultimately lead to....

Divorce.

He forgot to cover his tracks.... this is it.... this is the day when everything will change.....

Tears overwhelmed my eyes.

I was triggering. All of my thoughts began to spiral out of control. 

I tried to calm myself down and remember what I have learned all these years in therapy. I tried to remember how to lessen the blow of unexpected bombs going off. I tried to remember all of the open and truthful conversations Seth and I have had before. I tried to remember his consistency and predictability.

Breath in, breath out.

Breath in, breath out.

As much as I tried to stop the spiraling tailspin, I couldn't. I panicked. Sheer panic.

Jacy, call him. Call him and ask what the DVD's are. 

But wait, if I call and confront him and they turn out to NOT be pornography, he will think I am crazy and snooping on him while he is away. 

Remember Seth's consistency and predictability. I thought over and over and over.


 I stepped out of the closet and drew hot water in the bath tub.

Maybe I should just grab a chair, climb up, and take a look for myself?

Then I thought, No, call him. Call him, Jacy. Just ask him. Don't be a detective. Give him a chance to explain what they are.

I began role playing how the conversations would go- depending on what the answer was.

I soaked in a long, hot bath tub. I cried. I was trembling.

And then, I hopped out of the bath, put my jammies on and gave into the madness.

I dragged a chair across the closet floor, climbed up, and reached for the DVD's. My heart was beating so fast. As I clutched my hands around the cases, I closed my eyes as I brought them down in front of my belly. A flash of a pornographic title like "Busty Babes" in bright red writing popped in my mind. 

I took in a big deep breath and then I opened my eyes.

I looked at what was in front of me and then, I broke down.

I fell onto the chair and began to flip through every single DVD case.

They were not pornography DVD's. They were old skateboarding X-Box Games from 2002.

I set the DVD's on my lap and cupped my hands over my mouth and sat there in silence for a minute. And then, just to be sure, I opened and inspected every single DVD to make sure that they all matched the game title.

Initially I was beyond relieved, yes, but after a minute or so of replaying what had happened, I was also very annoyed and disappointed at myself.  I felt reckless for letting something like that take total control of me for such a long period of a time. I couldn't believe that I doubted myself so much so, that I began to automatically assume the worst case scenario about the situation and about Seth. 

I was so afraid of what *could be*, that I lost myself for that hour, throwing away everything I have learned in the last 3 plus years. I realized, yet again, that I still have a long way to go in my own journey of personal healing.

And after a lot of talk the last few days, that is the first piece of advice we'd like to offer in this series:

TRUSTING YOURSELF


You can get as many tools and tips about how and why marriages work as humanly possible, but if you do not trust yourself or are not learning how to trust yourself (because I think it is a continual process), they will do you no good. Because at the end of the day, you are only in control of you. You cannot control the choices of others. You cannot always control how your life will play out. The only thing you CAN control is YOU: your actions, your reactions, and your happiness/unhappiness.

That being said, my reaction to the discovery of DVD's in the closet was not about Seth. It was not about whether it was pornographic in nature or not. That entire trigger was based on my own fear of the unknown. For a minute there, it felt impossible to survive if it turned out to be what I thought it might have been.

I told Seth of this little incidence the night he got home. He felt bad that I had had such an awful experience while he was away but he said something that was so profound to me:

"Jacy, I have nothing to hide. You can check whatever, whenever. You will find the same outcome as you did yesterday."

And this is one of the main reasons that our relationship works so well: because we are both learning to trust ourselves. Seth trusts who he is as a man and husband, therefor, he isn't affected negatively by my triggers/insecurities/questions. He has been through so much already that he knows his ability to handle whatever comes his way. He has been to hell and back before, and he knows first hand that if put in that place again, he can climb out again. His difficult past experiences have shaped him to be open and honest and totally forthright in all aspects of his life and he trusts who he is and who he has become- even if that includes flaws and short comings.

I like to think that I am the same way (or at least I'm trying to get more comfortably there). I may have moments when I trigger and digress, and I always make mistakes, but at the end of the day, I am certain that I can do really hard things. I know that whatever happens (and I will never say "never" again), I will survive. I will be okay. My happiness is not anchored to another person (or more specifically another person's choices). Instead, my happiness and security and fulfillment will be enriched by someone else because I trust who I am as a person and my choices, above anything else.

So, it's working for us because we are both learning to TRUST OURSELVES a little bit more each day; which we feel is key in creating a strong, solid foundation to build upon.

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