I met my husband 13 years ago today, in a tiny, dark nightclub in the West End of London.
I was on my own, having left my friends in another club in Chelsea (awful music), in search of tunes I could enjoying dancing to. DH was with his friend, A. Because I was on my own, I looked to join a sane-looking group on the dance floor to avoid attention from sleazy men, and so husband-to-be, A and I spent several happy hours jumping up and down together to Pulp, Shed 7, James and the Levellers.
Afterwards I suggested that the three of us go for a coffee and it was there, at 3am in a late-night cafe on the Charing Cross Road, that I first glimpsed the brilliance and humour that caused me to fall in love with my future husband. (It was his kindness, which I saw later, that sealed the deal, but that’s another story.)
Later, as we shivered on Oxford Street waiting for night buses back to our respective homes, we discovered that we were both moving house the next day (closer into London – me to Little Venice, DH to Wimbledon). That we had each chosen to dance til the early hours on the day before moving was not only an auspicious synchronicity but also, in retrospect, a promising sign of shared values. Thirteen years on we have a few more responsibilities, but making time for what we enjoy remains high up on the list of what’s important to us not only as a couple, but now, as a family.
I woke up this morning with a dark, heavy feeling best described as “foreboding”, and since I begin each day with an intention to make feeling good my most important priority, I knew I had to find a way to move up the emotional scale.
I knew the foreboding was related to a particular person, and that distraction was only going to take me so far towards wellbeing, so over breakfast, with the help of my journal, I began to examine the feeling. It came to me that I was terribly worried that this person was going to judge me, find me wanting (in their opinion) in some very important ways, and make it their business to tell me about it, and that consequently there was going to be horrible tension between us, and I was going to feel Very Bad. No wonder the sense of foreboding!
Next, how to transform it… I took myself off to Marks & Spencer where, among the soothing T-shirts and cardigans, I allowed my unconscious to ponder how I could begin to claim back the power I was giving away. As I pondered and admired blouses, my husband texted me that J (5) had been made to to sit out during rugby practice because of his angry outbursts at the coach. My heart went out to J – it’s tough learning to handle big emotions, but he’s been making good progress lately and I’m proud of him. And then it came to me – how would I feel if the person I was making responsible for my sense of foreboding were my child, instead of someone I perceive as having power over me, whose approval I crave? In the reframed situation the problem literally shrunk in my mind, from something that had taken up almost all of my headspace, to something benign and managable. If this person were my child, I wouldn’t take what they said as meaning anything about me – I would just love them and unconditionally support them through whatever suffering was causing them to lash out.
And so another “story” disappeared, leaving all that really is – love. And with me back in wellbeing, of course my communication today with the person this post is about has been loving and light, on both sides.