Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let It Snow... Somewhere Else

Don't get me wrong - I love and appreciate the incredible beauty of the falling snow.  Whether it's falling in thick, wet clumps - the better to build snowpeople with - or tiny, fragile flakes that glitter on the sidewalk like tiny diamonds, and the wind blows them away into drifts...  Nothing as beautiful as being somewhere warm and watching the snow come down, whether it's dancing erratically on barely-there winter breezes, or slanting so much sideways it looks like it's being blown by a machine.

I appreciate that we need snow, to store water throughout the winter months in the higher elevations, so we have it in the spring and summer.

I just don't like dealing with it when it's like this.

Been there, done that, got the mittens to prove it.  I've shoveled my share of driveways, and cracked my tailbone enough times slipping on sidewalks that people should have shoveled but didn't, and I had to walk on 'em anyway.

Now I live, by choice, in a climate that doesn't do this to people.  Where the bag of kitty litter in my trunk is for my actual cat and not in case my car gets stuck in a drift somewhere.  Where I can go visit the snow and cold - if I want to, when I want to, and then get the hell outta there. 

Maybe I "should" be acclimated to the cold, but I'm not.  Never have been, never will be, though I tried and tried.

I realized recently, when visiting my sister, that she kept her house delightfully warm.  Not roasting hot, not warm-enough-if-you're-wearing-a-sweater, but warm.  Warm enough so going outside into the crisp fall air felt refreshing, not like a brutal slap in the face.  Warm enough so when taking a bath or shower and leaving the safety of the hot water, the air did not feel like tiny needles driving into my wet skin.  And I loved it.

Being warm sounds like such a small thing, but in reality, it's such a big one.  I realized, after spending almost a week in a place where the air temperature felt just perfect to me, that I had spent years in a place where it rarely did.  Where I constantly had to bundle up in sweaters and booties and extra blankets on my side of the bed - because B-F kept the house about five degrees too cold for me, always.  I was supposed to appreciate the money we were saving.  I was supposed to get used to it, in time.  I was supposed to be somebody... other than who I was.

I spent years shivering at night under blankets that, to me, were too thin and light, because I thought, eventually my metabolism would adjust.  I had my thyroid levels tested to see if something was going on with me there.  I invested in large quantities of sweaters and sweatshirts and socks and booties, and would delay putting them on until I felt half-frozen, because I thought if I just kept pushing the envelope, my body would "get it."  Never happened.

At night, I'd be shivering, trying to get warm on my side, and he'd be overheated, stripping down to his Calvins and peeling back the one thin blanket on his side.  He did accommodate me as much as he could - it's not like he could remove any more on his end!  But, too, he would get angry - because I had no reason to be cold.  Somehow, I wasn't trying enough to adjust.

I know there are compromises in all relationships, whether mental illness is a part of the picture or not.  I'm sure, that in B-F's mind, he was making huge compromises, all the time.

But whereas I tried really hard to show I appreciated his compromises, even when he recognized I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone, it seemed like he was angry, because if I was "right," I would just be - not cold.  That clearly, there was something wrong with me

It's really hard to live in a place where you are physically uncomfortable almost all the time, and feeling under emotional attack as well.

I've come to realize, I'm just a chilly Willy.  If I can keep my tush warm, I'm a happy camper.  I clearly did not inherit any of my grandfather's Polar Bear Club blood (though come to think of it, I think the man did die of pneumonia.)

How I am is okay.  It's okay that I am keeping my new place "hot" according to B-f's lights, because that makes me feel comfortable.  It's okay that my TV remote control buttons stay lit for 3 seconds after pressing them, even though that "wastes" the battery, because that's how I want it.  It's okay that I am arranging the furniture the way I like and getting up when I like and going to bed when I like and eating junk food if I'm in the mood or just broccoli if I want, without sarcastic comments about my weight or the stinkiness of steamed broccoli (I admit, it does smell like dirty diapers.  But now I can burn scented candles or incense, to help dissipate the odor, so there!)   

I'm getting to feel comfortable in my own skin again, and it feels sooooo good.

Have you ever tried to override your physical comfort zone for your partner?
Tell me about it in the comments, below.