I have written before about being a middle and that side of me, but my middle side is something that I have not explored as much as I thought I would. There are a couple of reasons for this: feeling overwhelmed by life and circumstances and having to ‘adult’ on a large scale is one, and a feeling of uncertainty and self-consciousness is another. Now that I am on holiday for a few weeks, I feel that I have the time to think about what I want and what makes me happy, to experiment more with it, and to relax and let go and see what happens. That is the plan at least.
It is often the case for me that when I get stressed and feel the pressure, I retreat into the safety of former behaviours. This is usually not the best course of action and I do need reminders and prompts to make me do the opposite of what I am actually doing. When I feel the pressures of adult life at work, I bring that home instead of allowing myself to escape into the more carefree side of me. I think it is natural to become very focussed on certain things but often this can become an unhealthy focus on the things that aren’t going well, at the expense of the ones that are. Actually to be able to relax and have fun would be just the antidote I need.
I have realised that I need a push to escape. I need some encouragement and often some sort of trigger from my external environment. I have some brilliant ‘little’ friends and they do bring out that side of me so I am lucky on that score. But at the same time, when I feel serious and overwhelmed I don’t always reach out to them. It is what I should do of course but I get bogged down in the mood I am in and sometimes I need a catalyst to change that. I also stop engaging with HL as much as I should, living more in my head and keeping myself more to myself, so there is less encouragement from him. He goes into protector mode and gives me space rather than pulling me out of myself.
Perhaps part of the issue is that I have not really found the triggers for my own ‘little space.’ A lot of the things that others enjoy such as colouring and stuffies are not things that work for me. My escape is through silliness which can be hard to do when you are on your own and not in that mood. It feels a bit like knowing that there is a room filled with all the fun things you want get lost in, but not being able to find the door. It feels just slightly beyond my reach and so it is easier to stay where I am and just try not to be noticed. I suppose it is a bit like looking through the glass at other people having fun and being too scared to go and say hello and join in with them.
I think that brings me to the second part of my hesitation. It makes me feel vulnerable and ‘out there’ to behave in a way which is different. Even though it is part of me, I need to feel safe and secure for it to come out. We recently got a puppy and that has definitely brought out the more playful side of me. It happens naturally in that situation, as it would if I were with young children or with my little friends. HL isn’t as familiar with that side of me so he has sometimes been surprised. My own children respond more comfortably with it as they have grown up with it so they will join in with the silliness and even add to it, but I really want his acknowledgement and approval, not theirs.
I know I shouldn’t worry as it is something that he seems to enjoy, but he often remains on the outside of it in an observatory role rather than playing along. I realise that this would change in time but it makes me feel self-conscious and often I will reign it in or close it down. It would be easy then, to wonder why I want to nurture this. Well, he has said that he really likes it and he wants me to be more fully visible to him. I also think that it is good for me as it allows for an escape from the pressures of the very adult and work me. It makes me feel more vulnerable and increases the level of intimacy and the connection between us, in the same sort of way that sexual play does.
My friend suggested earlier this week that, as a couple, we didn’t engage enough in non-sexual play. I wasn’t sure at the time that she was right, but on reflection, I think that maybe this is true. Perhaps in the seriousness of our personal circumstances over the past couple of years, we have lost some of our fun. Both of us, not just me. There is always a serious thread now running along in the background and I think that has pulled us both back a little. There is also the fact that when you are dealing with things you would rather not for a prolonged period, you protect yourself by dumming down your emotions a little.
So I would like to be funner. I would like us to be funner. An accomplice always helps and the puppy and I do play tricks and jokes in a way that is bringing that part of me to the fore on a daily basis. I think that he is becoming more comfortable with it and is responding in a way which encourages rather than makes me feel self-conscious. I am also trying to share more with others and embrace the friendships that I have built, rather than hiding away because I feel boring and dull. In addition, I have bought some cute ladybird socks, because cute socks can make me feel cosy and girly and bring out the more spirited inner me. And who doesn’t need more socks?