My girlfriend made me late yesterday. I had plans to meet up with my sister after work, and for once in my life I'd planned my departure perfectly so that I would arrive on time - no aimless wandering to kill time, no frantic rushing. But as I walked my girl to the subway on my way to the spot, she dropped the bomb that she had given her fiance his ring back and she was so done.
Although I’d been thinking for months that her guy was a bit of an asshat, I was shocked by her news. To be honest, I didn’t think she had it in her, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that once the news of her departure broke, it was like a dam burst and we ended up in one of those marathon girl talks. She told me story after story of the events that led her to bounce, and I felt her on every one of them because I’ve sooo been where she was. The talk went on and we both became more amplified and I accepted the fact that I was just going to have to be late. She was clearly in a zone, and I couldn’t leave until she’d gotten it off her chest.
At first the conversation brought me back to my days with The Spectacular Asshole, versions 1 and 2, but after a while my mind shifted to the present day. You see, lately there’s been a fair bit of ire in my heart toward Mr. Max. Not to air our dirty laundry on the e-streets, but I haven’t really been feeling the lo- you know what lately. Suffice it to say that while there are many many days that I will describe that man as fucking awesome, yesterday was not one of them.
But as I listened to my girl spew example after example of the shittiest behaviour in the history of relationships, I couldn’t help but feel a relieved to know that I’m sooo past that shit. Not because I’m any smarter or better than she, but because I’m lucky enough to be with someone who would never do that kind of shit. And that’s not because he’s necessarily any better than her (former) guy, he’s just not wired that way. And once that relief set in, I started to just…appreciate my mister in a way I haven’t been lately.
Like a lot of women, I suffer from martyr syndrome. My mind keeps a running catalogue of wrongs committed against me by the people I’m close to. I may not always speak on them, but I always remember them. And when the tally gets too high I start feeling put upon and resentful. In my default rational state I’m able to see both sides, but once martyr mode kicks in I start to forget the good things, I don’t consider their point of view, I don’t understand or give the benefit of the doubt. I heave great big “poor me” sighs and wallow in my own persecution.
As anyone who has ever been in a relationship can tell you, this ain’t a good place to be. Like I’ve said in the past, resentment breeds bad behaviour and you have to stop it before it takes root. But to do that requires maturity and proactivity and sometimes it’s hard to summon those kinds of qualities when you feel like the dumping ground for the ones you love.
But every now and then the universe – as it is wont to do – delivers you a message that basically amounts to “Get over yourself and appreciate the good shit that you have because most people have it way worse than you do. You fucking baby”. That conversation with my girl yesterday was my message from the universe. And so as I finally extricated myself from our talk and flew down Bloor Street to meet my sister. I had to stop and text my mister three little words: I appreciate you. Doesn’t mean I’m not still angry, doesn’t mean there isn’t shit that needs to be addressed, all it means is despite all that, I’m grateful to have him.
The other day I listened to a couple debate about what the most important quality is to a relationship. She said love, he said trust. Then someone else chimed in and said it was respect. But you know what I think it is? Appreciation. Gratitude. Thankfulness for who that person is and for the their presence in your life.
So go out and appreciate someone today.