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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Work on Communication

CG and I sometimes refer to our decade-plus attachment as a "shapeshifter"--we have been lovers, then not lovers, been engaged, then not engaged, lived in the same house as housemates, then separate--and now we are adopting a child together, and living in our old "householder" set-up in order to give her two parents in the home, and to help me stay well by removing some major financial and other stressors.  It is definitely an unusual relationship and is an exercise in me accepting "what is" instead of "what I want".  The fact that he is here voluntarily and lovingly means everything to me.  It is a deep love, of the real kind, the kind that accepts the twists and turns, the hellos and goodbyes and hellos again--and believe me, the path has not been exactly a bed of roses with us.  We have had to forgive each other some very big trespasses, and I am sure there will be a few more before the book of CG and I is finished.  But as two people walking a same path, I think we are learning to be gracious and accepting.

One thing we do right now is attend couples counseling to help with our co parenting and the fact that we will likely be under the same roof for a very long time.  I really appreciate this counselor's work with us--she has a sibling with an ongoing, highly resistant substance abuse problem, so she understand that I am not a pariah for having a "qualifier" in my own home. 

An example of what  we are trying to do crops up every day--last night, CG and I had a talk, and he said that my extreme worry and anxiety about being on chemotherapy seems to be lessening.  I reflected back what he said, and agreed with him, saying that as the symptoms of hair loss and nausea went away, I felt less afraid emotionally.  He calls my disaster-izing "the Olympic long jump to a conclusion" and he said that he saw much less of it these days (chemo=impending death--which every chemo patient I know has gone through at the beginning).  I agreed that I felt better and then we talked about his own emotional process, which was personal and which I won't talk about here--but our conversations used a lot of "I" messages, "I feel," etc., and no blaming or "you did this, so I did that" statements.  He grew up with a "qualifier" (Al Anon term) and so he knows very well the emotional effects of growing up in this type of household, where there is no real communication possible--with a parent as "qualifier", little to no healthy communication can be modeled for the children in the household.   And of course, we are definitely NOT perfect in this regard--far from it sometimes, but the commitment to try is present, and is for our sake as well as that of Thistle.

At any rate, this will be a busy evening, with dance to cap it off.  I am really pleased to say that I am performing at the Crepe Place for my teacher Didi's birthday--the first performance since I went on chemo, and an indicator that I finally, after all these years, am beginning to feel emotionally and physically well, and for this I am deeply grateful.

Thank you for reading the latest installment of the Joanie Chronicles.  Your presence here is deeply appreciated.