The Viking told me a story. We were talking about our past relationships. Once upon a time, he lived with a woman who shares my name. I call her Rebecca 1.0. They were a couple of years in when she told him she had cancer, bladder cancer. She would get up at 4:30 in the morning to go for treatment. Viking insisted on going with her, but she insisted he not. She didn’t want him with her, this was something she needed to do alone. Viking was, of course, distraught, worried, and worked to be attentive and accommodating to Rebecca 1.0. This went on for 4 months. But here’s the thing. It was a lie. She didn’t have cancer, her family told Viking, maybe out of pity, that it was all untrue. The relationship unraveled quickly after, without Rebecca 1.0 ever sharing the why, or the endgame of her vile lies. The Viking has a tattoo on his forearm that reads “No midnight answers – Or stray arrows.” I asked him what it means. He said it’s about half-truths. That story was the beginning of those words on his skin. I’ve been thinking about midnight answers and stray arrows this week. I’ve been thinking about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Some truths are easier than others. This is one of those. Early on, Viking was running his hands through my hair. Whoopsie. He said, “Honey, oh no, you have some knots in your hair”. Well, I don’t, I told him what he was feeling were my extensions, and I introduced him to the world of the weave. He took it like a man. We laughed about it – it’s like the Wizard of Oz, don’t look too closely behind the curtain. Whole truth. Easy. Some are more difficult to admit to myself and harder yet to share with this man I love. But I need to. So I am.
For the most part, I have my shit together. This isn’t about panic, self-sabotage, or any of those other party favors. This is something that happened yesterday and made me realize that some of the echoes of the past still reverberate. Viking didn’t do anything wrong at all, I have just a few more dragons wearing my colors to slay. It started with drinks with Sugar and Scarlett. Our conversations feel like spinning and spinning trying to get dizzy like when you were a kid – subject change on a razor’s edge and pay attention, because it goes fast. We were talking about Viking. Scarlett said to me, “You love with all of you, with everything, you still do.” Tabula Rasa love. Blank slate love. But not quite, wouldn’t that be lovely though? Viking is attentive, loving, present. He gives me a sense of security I’ve not felt before, but what I’ve found is, without even meaning to, I’m keeping score. I’m hyperaware of patterns. Unfairly, and in a very unhealthy way, I’m marking tallies, marking routines, I’m the John Nash of A Beautiful Mind, of love. This is what happened.
Viking was on a mini vacation with his family and had spotty reception, even so, he was so good about touching base and pacifying the “Nash” in me, without even knowing he was doing so. Last night he was MIA for a period of time. I wasn’t worried about other women, or bad habits, or any betrayal at all. This is what got my heart beating faster, my mind going to dark places – I worry about love evaporating, disappearing in a wink. This has happened in my past, a quick change of mind, a rapid neutralization of heart that blindsided me. Like a magic trick, everything I believed, everything I felt, gone with a puff of smoke. A fair-weather love. Everything was fine, I knew that rationally, but sometimes damage tells stories, and fear is all ears.
This is on me. It’s not Viking’s job to slay these dragons. I know this. Whatever will be, will be, but my worrying and trying to code break my relationship makes me the thief of my joy. Knowing or not knowing that pain is coming, does not change the pain.
I know this – Viking cannot carry the sins of my past. He is NOT responsible for the way I feel – this is something I have to work out. I know that worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it will give you something to do, but going nowhere. I have to trust in the work I’ve done, trust in this man. I need to be more rational, and let this damage die. I won’t give this demon my oxygen any longer. I didn’t tell Viking what happened yesterday, he’s reading this now. This is a hard truth. He’s going to feel badly that I felt this way, and that is not the purpose of this narrative. This is me showing my scars. The whole truth. No midnight answers. No stray arrows.
Go forth and conquer.