“Wow, this hotel room has your fancy cappuccino maker” he exclaimed. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and glanced lazily at the clock, shocked to find it was 10am. I don’t think I’ve slept in that late on a weekend for decades.
Moments later, I am enjoying the view of the naked man who has just served me coffee. I have a ridiculously huge grin on my face, and my husband is laughing at how happy I am. It’s an adorable scene, but it almost didn’t happen.
From my husband’s perspective, he knows I like coffee, so he made me some. End of story. The situation is literally as simple as that for him. But from my perspective, in that exact same moment, there is a symphony of voices all competing for my attention.
For instance, there is the voice that is telling me that we shouldn’t be spending this morning away from our son. That’s a particularly judge-y voice, the you-should-be-a-better-mom voice. Next up, there is the take-care-of-others voice that’s telling me that we should be doing something my husband likes to do instead of lying in bed drinking coffee which is something I like to do.
And of course, there is the self-reliant voice that says that I should make the coffee myself. Oh… and the you-should-be-more-productive voice that’s telling me to get out and do something instead of lazing about in bed, and last, but not least, the you-shouldn’t-be-such-a-slut voice that’s telling me to ignore his svelte body and what the sight of it is doing to my body.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Seriously people, it is an absolute fucking miracle that I am able to function in this world at all with the number of things I am shaming and guilting myself about in any given moment. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with all the should and should nots rumbling around in my head.
Unfortunately, given this reality, without a little internal pep talk, the scene would probably have looked something like this: husband makes me coffee, I mumble something in response like “Oh I could have gotten that.” You know, because I’m a bad selfish slutty mom.
In that version of the story, I would have just told my husband not to do that nice thing he just did. Which of course would feel pretty crappy to him, not to mention confusing. He’d probably feel a little hurt and not valued, but we’d continue our day, because it’s just a tiny thing, right? And since I had just deprived myself from any joy or pleasure from this everything-I-could-want moment… I’d feel pretty crappy myself.
But that isn’t what happened. The voices did show up. They’ve got a mind of their own and only get more upset when I ignore them. But that morning, after listening to all of them, I thanked them for their opinions and thought about how I really felt about the situation. And it turns out, I felt pretty darn good about being served coffee in bed by my naked husband.
So I thought about how I could respond, given this new information. I considered simply saying “Thank you” but that didn’t seem to accurately capture my joy. Maybe I could respond with a smile and an “Mmm, that smells so good.” Yes, that was getting closer. Oh! Perhaps I could up the ante and add a flirty eyebrow raise and comment about his sexy body. Oh yeah, that was the ticket.
And I totally did it! I said and did all of the things. Which probably shocked the hell out of my husband who, let’s face it, was not used to getting proper credit for any nice things he’d been doing over the years. But bless his heart, he took it all in stride and grinned a huge grin back at me.
I was surprised at the ripple effect that simple moment had on the rest of our weekend. Later that day, we were walking down the street hand-in-hand and I had this incredible sensation of happiness, as if the little seed of joy that I had planted that morning had taken root and started to grow.
Yes, I have voices in my head who have very strong opinions about what I should be doing. But I’m choosing to add an even louder voice to the mix… a voice that isn’t based on what culture or society or others think is right for me, but rather seeks out my own personal truth… and allows me to be me.
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© Pam Costa, 2017