Archive for the ‘fighting’ Category

The damp, dreary black of night, heavy with humidity, mirrors the state her heart. She buries herself under the bundle of bed sheets and blankets as if they shield her from the outside world. The sounds of raindrops dancing on the rooftop aren’t enough to help Madeline sleep tonight. But they never are anymore. She remembers when they were enough to make her forget where she was, even who she was, as she lost herself in the tantalizing tango from above. When they were soft and soothing…her eyelids their puppets as they willed her to sleep. But the rain no longer has that effect on her.

Since he left…every sound, every sensation was a reminder that he was gone. She could no longer disappear dreamily into the rain dance over her head. No longer sway gently in her dreams to the romantic raindrop rendezvous. Now it was different. Now she was a prisoner trapped inside the tango, unable to dance along…being tossed around in the chaos that is her heart. The raindrops and the metal rooftop colliding with heated intention and frustration, building her up only to let her down over and over again in cyclical misery.

There was pain in the rain. Pain in everything, now.

He was her best friend, her soul mate. Though she had never believed in soul mates, her connection with Trey challenged everything she thought she knew to be true. It was one of those things that a girl doesn’t believe in until it stares her square in the eye, stands its ground, and double dares her to doubt. Double dare or not, she did doubt. It wasn’t in her nature not to question. She could no sooner ignore her skepticism than she could stop breathing. So doubt, she did. Her heart and her gut, all the while, whispering to her that he was her soul mate, that the magnitude of this connection could be nothing less. But her brain, more trustworthy, continued to cast doubt with a louder, more authoritative inner voice. Surely she was just clouded by love and infatuation. Surely. How could she have fallen so hard, so quickly? She tried to convince herself that he had fallen just as hard. That he had to be feeling the same thing she felt. And she did for a while. But somehow she knew that her heart would pay the price for the charges her brain kept tallying. And just as she knew it would, the bill had finally come. And it was heftier than she thought. She wasn’t sure she would ever pay it off.

They had met 4 years ago. It was an accidental meeting. Right place, right time. Neither of them was looking. Yet it seemed they were drawn together, as if they were the last two creatures alive. The spark was instant. The flame, inevitable. From the moment they met, she craved more. Each hour spent with him only fed her addiction. She was starving and he was her nutrition. And she was sure she was his. Each time Trey touched her, she felt electricity that she had never known before. Each time he spoke her name, she felt she had never heard it spoken with such command and desire. With every meeting of their eyes, there was his soul…greedily drinking hers in as if his life depended on it. The sound of his voice was intoxicating to her…making her drunk with anticipation. They spent the next 4 years learning everything they could about each other. They needed to know every detail, big or small. Every flaw, or strength. Every humiliating story, or triumph. Every ambition, or disappointment. Every fear. Every laugh. Every turn on. Every turn off. He was the only person on Earth who knew her deepest, most private thoughts…with whom she trusted her innermost self completely. They shared the darkest of secrets they both knew could never be uttered to another living soul. And then there was the sex… When they made love, it felt as if she was more naked than she had ever been. Both physically and emotionally. They connected on a level so transcending, it seemed to defy possibility and mock all of their previous human interactions.

Trey and Maddy had quickly become a dance. When one moved, the other moved. When one reached, the other grabbed hold. They trusted one another with anything. With everything. They seemed to have no choice. Feeling bigger than the two of them, the universe had connected their cores. It had connected their hearts. There was some gravitational pull that kept their souls dancing along to a song only they could hear.

For Maddy, everything made sense with him around. Her purpose. Her existence. Life not only made more sense with Trey. It made her happier than she ever knew she could be. She never imagined something so perfect would ever end. Not really end.

But on a regular Monday, with no forewarning, it did just that.

Suddenly, Trey just disappeared from her life. She didn’t realize this immediately, of course. She called him, sent him flirty texts. But nothing. After days turned into weeks with no response, she became increasingly worried. Increasingly empty.

She did finally get one text from him, but only one. Three words, to be exact.

“I just can’t.”

She tried to talk to him…ask questions, beg for answers. But nothing. She had no idea what had changed. Nothing had happened, nothing she knew of… One day they were dancing along perfectly in sync. And the next, he had left the dance floor.

Time passed.

Trey didn’t call. He didn’t text. No apologies, no reasons, no regrets, no maybe laters, no anything. He just walked away. Why? Had she done something? Had he done something? Why didn’t he say goodbye? To Maddy, this was what hurt the most…the nothingness. Just. Nothing. Everything they had shared, the intense connection that rocked her existence, the love that followed…seemed to mean nothing. She had put her heart, raw and dependent, in his hands, with complete trust and confidence that he would keep it beating. He hadn’t. Everything they had, everything, had vanished.

It took, with it, all of her.

She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. She could only feel. But feeling was too painful…too debilitating.

Her brain had convinced her heart of only one possibility. One possible explanation that flipped her insides upside down, stole her breath, and suffocated her heart with callous malice.

He had never loved her…

The raindrops are getting more intense. Maddy is trapped inside the, now, one person tango that is her heart. Unable to sleep, she tries to make sense of her heartbreak. It never comes. Frustration and loneliness. These are her dance partners now, as she steps on her own toes and falls time and time again. She lies in bed, predicting and dreading each and every treacherous raindrop.

Maddy pulls the cover over her head to escape the rain…to escape the dance…to escape Trey.

The drops are slamming into the rooftop as if begging to be let in. As if the world outside is too intense. And they, like her, need to escape.

The rain continues. The pounding on the rooftop. The pounding on her heart. No peace. No rhythm. No purpose.

She surrenders to the tears that are now refusing to be restrained. To her heart that is refusing to be silenced. Her tears become the rain. Her rain drags on, exhausting her.

And just like that, the rain stops.

The dance is done.

She lies there in the heavy darkness…listening to the silence.

Longing for sleep.

Longing for the dance that once was.
For the music she may never hear again.

Sleep found her…

Maddy woke to the chirps of her resident blue jay. He was at his usual post…a branch nestled inside the towering red maple tree outside her window. His chirps were an insult to the sadness she had committed herself to indefinitely. Damn bird. Damn happiness.

She rolled over to check her phone. Her phone illuminated one single text. From Trey.

“Hi.”

~Chick Hughes

photo by: Cambo

Love and war.  Shove and roar.  When we decide to go head to “head” in a heated Battle of the Sexes, we shamelessly fire off any and all ammo we can dredge up from the dark cobwebbed recesses of our minds…be it pertinent, or not…recent, or not…rational, or not.  Emotion knows no rationality.  So, once we’re hurt, we’re eager to return the favor.  All’s fair in love and war, right?  There’s a popular notion that we hurt the ones we love the most.  Novel notion, no?  Although we’re well aware of this tidbit, we’re repeatedly shocked with disbelief when a loved one uses our heart as a dart board.  Why?  Because we’re desperately passionate about the ones we allow close enough to throw those darts.  If we didn’t love them so fiercely, we wouldn’t be invested in the argument.  Wouldn’t care what they thought, why they thought it, or how it affected our lives.  It’s because we feel so deeply that we fight so passionately.  Any time we wage war on our sweetie, our emotions acts as our guns…our words the bullets.  The bigger our gun, the more deadly the bullet.  Words slinging around in the heat of angry battle like tiny grenades waiting to detonate can’t be easily rationalized, controlled, or unsaid.  The experts tell us to talk, rather than fight…to communicate calmly and rationally face to face.  But if we could manage that tip when our tempers flare…and successfully control emotion,  we may also feel the need to capitalize on our newfound powers and TAKE OVER THE WORLD! 😉

The truth is our emotions are powerful…and, at times, dominate rational thought.  When an argument breaks out, our bodies feel attacked, become overridden with emotion, and respond negatively.  We fight back.  We wage an ugly war.  A war so ugly, we sometimes imagine ourselves having an out-of-body experience…hovering and watching from above as our proudest chair-slinging Jerry Springer moment plays out in all its tacky cut-off jean shorts glory…and we watch helplessly wondering who the hell this untamed idiot is.  Personal shame has abandoned us.  We yell, scream, blame, avoid, cry, bully, play the victim…anything that makes us feel justifiably in the right…NEVER the wrong.  Whatever it takes to further our delusion of self righteousness.  Such is human nature.  But when our delusion is challenged, we feel angry, defensive, hurt, alone…all of which tell our body we remain under attack.  So, we pull out the big guns.  We shoot off explosive words and watch them crash into each other like Stephen King’s possessed cars in a dare devil drag race.  Explosion upon explosion.  The intensity!  But maybe there’s a better way to resolve our heated battles…leaving far less casualties in the wake, less blood on our hands, and make-up sex at our fingertips.  An E-fight?  Fighting via email?  U got it!

OMG!

Couples WILL fight…over finances, sex, kids, finances, sex, family, finances, sex, a lost connection.  And sometimes, we fight over finances and sex.  When we fight, our techniques differ.  Experts say men tend to withdraw while women seek emotional support.  A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family followed 373 couples over a 16 year time span.  They found that the couples’ fighting tactics were a predictor of marital success.  How they communicated their disappointments to one another ~ whether they reached an agreement, agreed to disagree, or fought to the death.  Essentially, it’s not our fighting that’s the problem, but HOW we fight.  The study found the most volatile combination of spouses consisted of one who tackles the problem head on plus one who withdraws and avoids the problem.  They found the spouse who faced the problem head on perceived the other’s avoidance as an uninvested disinterest in the relationship.  An unspoken “f**k you.”  So, if she’s pushing to fight and he’s avoiding the issue, she “rationally” comes to the conclusion that he just “doesn’t love me.”  Sound familiar?  But in reality, he just needs a cooling off period…time to think before speaking.  Probably not a bad thing.  After all, she may not want to hear what he’s thinking at the precise moment she’s rattling his ear drums with each and every fault he has the misfortune of possessing.

A fight is a natural part of any relationship…a healthy part.  A chance for growth if managed properly.  But the instigator sitting on the sidelines capable of destruction and egging it on is none other than EMOTION.  Experts agree emotion is a perception of the bodily state…a mental understanding of a physical arousal.  An event…such as her cleaning like a housewife gone mad while he reconnects his butt to the couch and his hand to the remote…leads to arousal in the body (likely negative).  This physical arousal leads to an emotional feeling…such as resentment or anger.  The emotion leads to a reaction…yelling, for example. Yelling is simply a byproduct of pain… “expressing your own pain through anger.”  Or perhaps, sharing the “love.”  But obviously, yelling is contagious, breeds more yelling, and drowns out hearing.  Emotion has successfully brought about war with both now feeling pain and expressing it simultaneously.  Both want to be heard.  But neither is.  We can’t seem to hear over our own anger.  We’ve reached…an impasse.

But what if we took our fight to cyber world?  A world free of irrational ammo AND emotion.  Send our enemy an email explaining why we’re upset.  No irrational emotions running the show.  No speaking before we think.  The very act of typing out a thought requires us to deliberate on its rationality.  Our tears may short circuit the keyboard, but they’ll be productive tears…healing our pain instead of adding to the strain.  Our thoughts and feelings ~ minus the accusations ~ will be listened to, and heard, in the neutral world of email.  Both parties feel less attacked without our opposition looking us in the eye and combating us.  Therefore, we listen more, contribute more, and counterstrike less.  Win…win!

Whether we E-fight from completely different locations or just take turns on a joint computer, it’s a chance to pour our hearts out to our sweetie without assaulting him/her with every negative emotion that impatiently and inconsiderately spills forth from our mouth.  And as we sit and read our spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and fears…we feel empathy rather than anger.  Come together, rather than forcing a divide.  Listen, rather than yell.  We’re more likely to open up in a calm stream of thought-out emails.  More likely to clam up in a steady stream of “go to hells.”  When we type out our rebuttals, we eliminate the emotional trigger that sends our bullets flying and avoid hitting our spouse right between the eyes with heavy artillery. So, think before you shoot.  If we shoot up today’s enemy, who’ll be tomorrow’s ally?

Next time a war is brewing, don’t go head to “head.”   Send an email and go heart to heart.  Through your glowering snarl and clenched teeth, look your opposition in the eye and growl…

“You’ve got mail!”

Chick Hughes  🙂

Because we can all use a little editing sometimes.

Mr Basmt

It’s Thanksgiving!  The one day of the year we’re expected to do nothing but eat, drink, and be thankful.  Thankful for the small things…too much food to eat, too many material things that treat, and too few unmet needs to meet.  Thankful for the big things…ever-loving families, always-there friends, and shared-heartfelt memories.  Friends and family are what make our lives interesting…colorful.  Sometimes they color inside our lines of tolerance.  And sometimes not…sometimes they color outside our lines, push our buttons, and drag our grown-up psyches kicking and screaming back to childhood experiences we’ve long since left behind.  Those are the days we’d prefer to keep our lives simple…black and white.  NO COLORING PLEASE!  Like it or not, our families represent the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in each of us.  Holidays approach, and we get together in anticipation of Good food, Good memories, and a Good time.  Our nostalgic memories have betrayed us.  They’ve highlighted the Good memories, altered them a bit, and concealed any hint of Bad from our consciousness.  But it’s there…stalking our innocent nostalgia.  Ready to pounce when we least expect it.  Like they say, we have to  take the Good with the Bad.  Apparently.  Fights ensue over how to prepare the meal, who should sit where, and who was right or wrong about the seating/cooking arrangements for the last family get-together.  Siblings suit up, put on their boxing gloves, and take their corners.  Parents begin serving up guilt as a side dish.  And before you know it, personalities are clashing like trains playing chicken on a one-way track to “All Hell Breaking Loose.”   If one doesn’t play the chicken, the two collide, and the party’s over.  This is it…the defining moment…the test to see just how well we can, or can’t, control our Ugly.

It’s official.  We’re Home For The Holidays.  Welcome to the good, the bad, and OUR Ugly.  🙂

Family can be difficult.  To say the least.  But with all the chaos, all the arguments, all the drama…there’s one factor that can outwit, outlast, and outplay the others.

Love.

No matter how many disagreements, differences of opinion, or nasty comments are swirling around the dinner table…behind each and every one of them is love.  Our families support us when life snatches our legs out from under us.   When life gets too easy, our family acts as a doormat to wipe our feet on.  When life gets too messy, they’re the door we knock on.  And when life gets down right cruel, they’re the shoulder we cry on.  No matter what phase we’re experiencing in life, our family plays a role…whether that role is “extra”, supporting, or they’re in the audience cheering us on.  Our family is front and center.  They’re our one constant in this whirlwind life of unexpected twists and turns.  Our navigation system.

Soon you’ll sit down to give thanks and eat like there’s no tomorrow.  Enjoy!  But don’t let the Bad outweigh the Good and bring out your Ugly.  If personalities get on the fast track to clashing, think before you speak.  That turkey may not be the only thing needing to be stuffed.   On this day of thanks, keep your differing opinion to yourself, take a heaping spoonful of dressing, and…

STUFF IT!

Happy Turkey day!  🙂

Chick Hughes

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey