I am again writing in real time as this weekend, was, thankfully more low key than last, but it proved to be an eye opener, in a way that challenged me more than I ever thought. I had a couple of dates planned but cancelled them all. I was feeling a little burnt out, run down and tired. Very tired. And honestly, my heart hasn’t really been in it.
Again I reached out to The Scorpion. Small exchanges, slight progress, maybe. Then on Sunday I challenged him to a bet regarding football. If our team (we like the same one) wins he has to talk to me, if our team loses he has to talk to me. I was trying to be funny. He responded by challenging me to a bet of a different kind. Since I love to use my words, as he put it, he challenged me to a game of Words with Friends. The prize, we will talk. I was a little baffled by it and tried to change direction to something else. I have never played the game, nor have I ever played Scrabble, and knew nothing about it. He basically said take it or leave it. Now some people might say, why doesn’t he just talk to you, why does it have to be a game? Read on, it will all make sense.
So of course I took the chance. I have been wanting to talk to him for so long I was willing to take the risk. He also told me to practice a little, which I did, but obviously not enough. I just wanted to get started and win. Rushing to the finish line, as I always do. But I thought he was right I do love using my words, but in a different context – blogging, writing for work, and of course, speaking my mind, so how hard could it be, right?
Now this may all sound so strange, basing having a conversation on a game, but think about it, it is a game about words – choosing the right words to gain points, to ultimately win. He knew exactly what he was doing by challenging me to this game, but I didn’t know it yet. The key to winning this game is to step back, look at your letters on your board, process what you have and then make your move. It is not a game of impulse, it makes you think. I have been claiming that I have reigned in my impulsiveness. Perfect scenario to find out if I have and to teach me a little more about myself. He knew exactly what he was doing.
I asked a friend to explain the game to me and then I agreed to play The Scorpion. The game moves at a snail’s pace, something which I am not used to. Right off the bat, he was beating me, badly. I was already getting frustrated. Then he messaged me and said slow down, think about your words. I kept saying I suck at this and there is no way I am going to win. I was getting sadder thinking about the outcome instead of focusing on the game itself. Jumping the gun, dooming myself before it was even over.
Then his words struck me like a bolt of lightening and he opened my eyes to what was really going on. “Slow down! Choose your words wisely, when it matters go slow. It was how you approached our relationship – doomed from the beginning.” Those words hit me. He was right. It took his words to realize that I was trying too hard to get to the end, the prize, instead of taking the time along the way to think, breathe, take a step back. I did the same in our relationship. I did not trust the process, I just wanted to win, to keep him. I was so afraid of losing him that I never realized that I wasn’t losing him, I was losing myself. I reacted instead of just talking to him. I did not think about how my words hurt, I just used them. This game was a metaphor for how I approached everything with us. He didn’t want me to go away, he just wanted me to understand that things weren’t easy and sometimes we need to give someone space, let them breathe, let them deal with whatever they are going through. I reacted, I projected, I didn’t think.
Then, the more he messaged me about what was really going on, why we were playing, it started, the tears. My tears. I could not stop crying, not from sadness, from clarity, regret. All he ever wanted was for me to understand, go slow, give us a chance, and when things became difficult I pushed and pushed and pushed, when instead I should have taken a step back and trusted the process. I was still pushing him, maybe not as much, but I was still doing it. I was pushing in this game too, get to the end, win, so we can talk. When all he wanted was for me to take my time, play, show him I will think about my next move, not just react.
I always said he has challenged me more than anyone ever has in my life, and I don’t mean in a bad way. He makes me think and that is one of the things I appreciate about him the most. We are very opposite on many things, he’s not easy, but neither am I. I also realize I still have a way to go in trusting me and in him trusting me as well. It is not going to happen overnight. It will take time, patience and understanding. All the communication in the world does not matter if you are not listening to your partner, hearing them. I need to trust the process, let it happen.
I have four moves left as of this morning. His words to me last night were “Our game is not over yet unless you give up” I may not win, but with what he taught me, I have won. I’m not going to give up, on me, on him, on us. He opened my eyes and I still have work to do. I will never be perfect and that is not what he ever wanted from me. I know now what he really wanted. Take a breath, slow down, choose my words, and understand it’s not about winning, it’s about how you play. Do your best, trust yourself, trust the person you are with.
He reads my blog and complimented me on it. He encouraged me to write this story – I needed to write this story. I am flawed, we are all flawed. The key is to recognize your flaws, own them and then work on it. I’m owning it and still working on me. Trust the process. I’m trusting it, or at least trying. Most of all, he needs to trust me again and that trust won’t happen overnight either. It is a process too, and I have to be patient and allow it to happen.
This was so much more than a game.