Playing to Win

hands_smlIt makes sense to say the more practice you have at something the better you get.  That seems to be the case with most skills in life.  Apparently the NFL has the most players out due to injury than they have ever had before.  The commentators were discussing why and someone mentioned that they don’t get enough practice at actually making contact during off weeks.  Contact in and of itself breeds injury.  They say the most serious athletes aren’t necessarily the healthiest because they use and abuse their bodies, pushing them to the absolute limits.  In the end the football player with the long career is left with a used up body full of aches and pains.

Some people are under the impression that the more relationships you have in life the wiser you get because you learn from your mistakes.  But the number of relationships is usually equal to one less the number of break-ups and losses.  And almost every break-up is a report of injury.  There is a scar somewhere left in your heart, mind, soul, or body.  Sometimes severe scars.  I’m not sure if the experience they afford you is worth the risk.

I know that I have led a somewhat charmed life compared to many 40-something women out there.  I can count the relationships I’ve had on one hand and most were casual dating type ones.  Serious relationships?  I have only three.  Not 30.  Not 10.  Three.  You’d think with those stats not only would I still be somewhat green, but also relatively unscathed compared to other women my age.  You’d think.

Sometimes though, I don’t know.  I wonder if the level that I love is too deep because the two break-ups I had gouged some pretty deep scars in me that I’m having trouble dealing with.  I’m in the most respectful, healthy, and happy relationships of my life.  I’m looking forward to booking a wedding venue this week, a live band, inviting 50 of my closest friends and family for a spectacularly happy celebration of our nuptials on New Year’s Eve and all of that is so good.  It’s great.

But I’ve been attacked the last few weeks with utter fear.  Fear that something is going to happen to ruin this dream and keep it from becoming my new reality.  I know these fears are irrational and I don’t entertain them.  They enter my body through a trigger in my mind and before I even realize it my stomach is in knots and I want to either throw up or cry, or eat apparently…As soon as I realize what’s happening I re-center myself with what I know to be true instead.  And its working.  But it’s not been easy.

Harry and I are working together better than ever.  I understand what needs to be done to make all this happen.  For him and work, and our bodies, our pocketbooks, our time.  My brain knows it’s all good.

So why the flare ups?

I remember before I got married the first time, I laid on my bed thinking that this is it.  This is the rest of my life.  And I was afraid.  I wasn’t sure I would be happy with my ex.  I was very unsure.  On paper he was a good choice.  He was everything a girl would want.  Successful, kind, tender, accommodating, loving, and even-tempered.  He was the safe choice.  But I also knew that our temperaments were very different.  I knew that we liked to have fun in different ways.  I knew he was much neater than I was.  And after five years of dating I knew those issues would still be issues in marriage.  My experience with him gave me caution.

With Harry?  On paper he is a very scary choice.  There are facts about Harry that make one raise their eyebrow and wonder if he’s a good bet.  But my experience with Harry gives me confidence, assurance, and fills me with love.  It’s the opposite.  I just want to keep moving forward with Harry because of who we are together, not for how he looks on paper.  And its more than just feelings.  It’s history which is evidentiary.  We are good together.  Period.

So I’m frustrated that the scars from my past, especially with what happened the LAST time I was looking to get married are rearing their ugly heads this time.  I look down at my hand with no ring and remember the feeling of how I felt standing in that jewelry store as the jeweler told me the one I had was fake.  I think about the dress that is hanging in my closet and remember the one I wore standing in front of a mirror with my sister wondering how I should wear my hair for my English wedding that was never ever going to happen.  I think about telling my entire family about our plans and remember posting on our family page that I was getting married before and because they were all suspect of Slimeball only one person replied they were happy for me.  Insert the sounds of crickets.  I wonder how they will react this time.

What is so frustrating is that these memories come flooding back without warning and leave me feeling like I’m drowning before I even have a chance to hold my breath.  I hate them.  I hate what these past experiences have done to rob me of some of the joy I should be experiencing right now.  I hate the scars.  I want to will them away.  I want to erase them forever.  I don’t think they taught me anything except to fear.

My first blog was entitled “First Attempts” because your first attempt at marriage you want to be your last.

Harry and I were talking on the phone this morning and he said, “I’ve had my starter marriage and my false start marriage…now we’re doing the real thing.”  He meant it to be sweet and it was because in that he was telling me that he thinks he is truly getting married for the right reasons for the first time in his life.

We have this opportunity for a do-over in life.  And we’re taking it.

But we are athletes that have seen a lot of contact in our lives.  And we have some battle wounds.  Some of the battles have made us much wiser than when we were innocently embarking on marriage life in our twenties.  Yes, we are wiser.  We know ourselves better.  But some of the battles have caused damage in places we don’t even know or realize.  Some are obvious, but some are hidden.

The thing we have to be able to do, is recognize them when they crop up and give each other grace to weather through them.  We have to be able to allow and accept the limps here and there to slow us down or impede us at inopportune times. And we have to be willing to help each other through them with love.  Recognizing the damage but not giving in to it.

I just don’t ever want the damage from stopping us from enjoying the game.

I think if we can get this win…if on New Years Day we wake up husband and wife it will be a whole new ballgame.  I think the fears will wash away after that.

I want this win like I’ve never wanted anything before.  No doubts, no hesitancy.  I’m running, focused, and happily to the goal.  I’m just having to beat down some demons along the way.

65 days away and counting.

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