Stripping off the Paint

At a meeting with my therapist, she observed of my husband and me, “You really are quite different.” It’s something which I might not acknowledge often enough, because ever since she said it, I’ve been rolling it over in my mind again, realizing the implications.
“You really are quite different.” I realize that I’ve been in denial about that.
I want him to be more like me–more open-minded, gentler, more active, and helpful. But he’s not. And he tries to change, but he is who he is. He’s opinionated, sometimes abrasive, he likes to laugh. And that’s that.
Just one thing that a therapist is skilled at doing is to help us notice patterns in our lives that we might not notice ourselves. I have a pattern of accommodating others at the expense of myself. Stepping carefully around the feelings of others, allowing them to be who they are without my interruption.
I’m accepting to the point of being someone else’s canvas, their paint splashing across me at oblique angles. I didn’t speak much growing up, but tried very hard to accept what my mother said and to not upset her. And my mom’s paint has splashed across, in passionate, bright colors and I did my best to keep still, my best to not appear bothered by her loudness, or her silencing my opinions.
Although I’ve stripped most of the paint from my past, and there’s more colors in my world now, and I know how to get alone and hear myself, it’s hard to be myself around others who are loud.
I’m introspective; I’m open and intuitive I want to study psychology, philosophy, and be a writer. I want more education. My husband is accepting of this–only to a point. But he talks bad about the impracticality of those who major in art or philosophy. He feels that my college loan debt is already capped. I’m done. Which I understand his perspective, I can’t call it my own. I want to invest myself, to live my life, and not be afraid.
Seems like little decisions can pull us apart. Andy and I like most churches that I’ve visited in this town. He’s unhappy, angry even, at a couple. I’m fine with looking elsewhere just because I’m open to go wherever the Spirit of God is. Yet, I say this, and I end up… wishing we were at the last church, even more than the others, because of their outreach to the lost, the rock-style worship music, and because they have a diverse crowd. Because the outcast is welcome there. I feel welcome there. But I don’t love going with Andy because he doesn’t enjoy it. He makes little spiteful comments about things he disagrees with.
This weekend my husband and daughter went on a trip to my husband’s cousin’s wedding in another state. It was just me. I’m thankful that we’ve been visiting around and found a new church home with a terrific pastor; I went to two churches on Sunday, and both were great. On the way to pick Andy up from the airport, I felt peaceful. Yet as soon as he is in the car and talking I can feel the negative energy. Like little bubbles piercing, little bubbles of sadness. My stomach started to feel heavy. And I started feeling tense. Maybe I’m just noticing this now because of the therapy? He has an affect on me. And it’s not always good.
Maybe all relationships, all labors, take a toll on our bubbles of happiness?  Or maybe not. I couldn’t help but feeling that generally, friendships should uplift each other. Share commonalities. Depth. Disagree in healthy ways. I can’t help but feel that maybe we’re more different than I realized, more different than I can safely settle into.
Who am I really? What do I look like? And if I showed my full colors, would the world run away? Would they not like it that I was no longer blank before them, so they could no longer drench the space that felt so urgently their own?

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