Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Masks~ Again

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about his son/my son, which ended up in us talking about ourselves and issues.  I looked up the following post and edited it to be vanilla! I decided to share it, here as it was on my private blog.  I suppose the post was originally public as was my blog LOL.  Anyway I thought what the heck?

Good-bye walls Hello Masks.


I realize I need to write a post where I let you all know about how my husband has transformed himself more over the past 2 or 3 months than he has throughout the past year and a bit.  I owe it to all of you so that you will understand where my last post came from.  Hopefully when life settles down, and well when I do,  I will find the resources to do so.

As the holidays approach,  I have been thinking about my past holidays and how our dynamic really suffered last Christmas.  There has been much reflection as of late on our marriage and what lead us to here.  Many great conversations with others, which brought up insecurities and confidence in both Barney and myself.  This past week Barney and I have been having numerous mini conversations as that is all my horror moans would allow me to have.  The subject has been difficult to discuss, and extremely difficult to hear.


I am no longer a person who builds new walls.   Oh to be certain I have many walls still constructed within me, but I have laid down my mortar.  Ever the one to adapt however, I have picked up a new 'habit', 'coping skill'- that isn't!  I have realized in situations (that I  may construct in my OWN mind) I am the wearer of many masks.  Some Mammoth Hand Man may suggest this is a method of control.  After I kick him, I may admit he is right ( oh and by the way I did...well more like a foot shove on the couch....but c'mon the guy is a wall in his own right!  I'm not stupid).


There is no real point in writing why I did what I did, but suffice to say, I felt it would be best if I kept busy to give some friends time to be with each other.  So that brings me to my first mask:




The Martha Stewart/Keep Busy Mask. Now this is a very complicated mask.  You see being the 'host' of a  get together, I actually have to BE this person, which by the way I not only thrive in I love....LOVE. However, when I 'do' this , whether it is with friends or  family get together, or a holiday like Christmas,  I isolate myself.  Inevitably people come to help and force themselves on me, but I unwittingly start to withdraw.  Making excuses even to myself why I need to be there.  Most likely because I can't relax if there are 'things undone'.  The problem with sporting this mask is,  you are  'going it alone'. Everyone else, even if they are in the same room with you, are making connections with each other.  Maybe they know they are, maybe they don't.   Maybe you are?  Maybe you aren't.  Usually when you are wearing the Keep Busy Mask, you don't have time to think about much else.  But that is the point now isn't it?

As time goes on.  You find yourself reaching for this mask more and more.   I mean really no one  needs to rearrange things THAT often.  Why do you do this?  Because you have isolated yourself.  Emotionally .  I am not saying for my most recent vacation specifically, just realizing what I have done in the past.

This mask inevitably leads to wearing another mask....
The Curt/Sarcastic B*tch.  The person now has managed to feel hurt, all on her own.  No one created the situation, but herself.  Now there is hurt inside- which if you have been following along in this most excellent 'adventure' turns to anger.  Why?  Because that doesn't hurt as much.  So now one individual is a target.  Usually someone who is 'irking' the mask wearer for whatever reason, valid or not.   Bits of ire come out.  Maybe those around don't notice, but in truth it doesn't matter because the shrew you feel inside is there and you feel horrid later.  Perhaps it is the husband, or the guy who just showed up to the party wearing offensive cologne. There is no real rhyme or reason to it.

There are many more masks that I have, but I want to stop here for now.  The problem with these two masks are at night, there is no one to b*tch at.  There is no more cooking, or planning to be done.  What there IS - reflections of the day.  How you weren't true to yourself.  How the people around you only caught glimpses of the real you.  Or worse, saw part of you that basically doesn't truly exist. 

This lends itself to other issues.  The basic mental mutilation of your own character.  How could you let yourself distance so much within?  You want so desperately to be 'you' and yet you found a way to get away from your core.  There have been many a night in the past where I have sobbed myself to sleep because of these detrimental thoughts. Or ran a bath during the day in order to steal some time away to sob.  I mean literally sob not cry.  These are 'new' coping skills as there is no wall to truly hide behind anymore. 

The problem with wearing masks is the desire to connect is still there.  Suppose you have a family member who has a similar 'need' that you do.  Perhaps they 'require' physical reassurance from other family members.  You put your

 I Don't Like People Invading My Personal Space Mask on.  As the evening progresses, they are hugged, and have had their shoulders rubbed.  Maybe someone is holding their hand.  All the while you are wearing your mask.  The mask is for those who can see your outside, but the inside is still hurting.  So out comes Martha Steward/Keep Busy Mask or  The Curt/Sarcastic B*tch Mask.  Further perpetuating the 'myth' you have already created with the 'don't touch me vibe'.  Everyone is just giving you exactly what you have told them. 

NOW here is the catch to THAT one.  Since starting ttwd, when your husband falls for these masks because you are now outside of the 4 cosy walls of home or because  company in yours, the loneliness builds.  This time however it is a feeling of aloneness that is crippling.  You have removed your walls and there is no where to hide except behind these masks.  While masks are great at concealing your face, they offer no protection for your core.

Barney and I have experienced this in our recent past.   He has admitted that when we are on vacation, like last spring, or in the summer, or if we have company, or the kids are distracting, he 'forgets' , in his words, "How fragile you really are".  Is this new? No, but him seeing it is. Or rather me allowing him to see it is.


 He forgets that he has to seek me out, because I will go into a mode.  ( Or for the purpose of this post, put on a mask).   The 'mode' usually involves a vibe that is independent and not needy or soft.  We know, collectively that the more independent I am, the more I really do need him.  Although to be fair that certainly isn't a vibe you would feel.  It is one that needs to be remembered by both of us.  You see, because in the moment neither one of us remember.

Right, so why bring this up now?  Well like I said we recently had many wonderful and in-depth conversations with others about ttwd.   Barney was able to see through them where we came from and where he would like to be headed.  What he wants for me.  What he wants for us.   He has literally grown as an HOH,( gah I hate that term) in the past few months.   I think he understood it before our conversations this past week, but the dots weren't always connected.  Or the pattern within the dots didn't make a complete picture for him.  Now I believe it does.



The other day we were about to have a reconnection spanking.  This had been put off a day because my husband had declared that I was far too fragile at the time to be put in a state of physical vulnerability as well.  I have to say, I have said, "I want to be cherished but not considered to be made of glass".  This fragility was entirely different.  In the past he would have been like this:


 Present day
" Are you alright? Do you think you are ready for this? "
"I don't know"
 " Okay I understand that. I think we need to do this. It seems to do something to you. To calm you when you are hurting like this"
"okay"

He then proceeded to let me veto implements.  While I was OTK, he didn't really let up.  In the past if he thought we were in a good place, or if he thought I was hurting he wouldn't have much conviction behind his actions.  I have to say this was one of the most caring spankings I have ever had.  Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like he doesn't love me any other time, just a genuine sense of love this time.  He stopped for quite a while after about 25 minutes.  He asked me a few more questions about the changes in our relationship.  Judging by my answers, he decided to continue.  So yeah, the next portion was 15 minutes of FULL attention!  LOL.  Before he ended he said something to me that makes cry still today,

" After listening         to talk , I realized I have never told you this before. I need you. I mean really need you. I don't mean as a wife or as a mother of my children. I mean I need YOU. This thing we do does that. We need this.  It gives you to me. "

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I am going to include the comments that were given to me, as I believe they add so much to this post- normally I wouldn't do so as my blog is now private and many open up there because of it.  However this post was originally public so I see no harm.

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  1. Wow. Just...wow. I had to read that post twice because I very nearly thought you had taken it out of my own head! It is so true to how I am...how I behave. I've had to work really hard at not putting up new walls as I have gotten older. But the old ones are still there, slowly bein chipped away. And in the meantime, you're exactly right...it's so much easier to don a "mask" instead of actually, truly feeling. I think it's great that Barney is getting it. I'm not doing DD yet (hope to be soon) but I can only pray that my guy ends up saying the same beautiful words to me. How lucky you are, to hear those. And I hope that there comes a day when even the masks can be put away. xoxo
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    1. Welcome Cathy!

      I know what you mean about trying hard not to construct new walls. Congratulations on managing that on your own. Ttwd has been so helpful in keeping me afloat and not building newer ones. May your hope become the reality you need!

      Thank you for the perspective. A year ago I would have said the same thing to another blogger. Some days, things just click and I can't believe where we are. BUT please keep in mind it too us a lot of BAD days to get here, and this is just a snap shot of our rather mundane lives. Honestly!

      willie
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  2. All our lives we are taught to put on a happy face... I think there's a song about that too. But
    we can only hide behind our masks and happy faces so long, huh. I get that B one you mentioned
    too... Sarcastic Sara... I've mentioned her.

    It's great to hear how Barney has grown though and how he said that last part about how this
    gives YOU to him. That was very special. I really wish I could hug you.

    Love and hugs and kisses
    sara
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    1. You and your names remind me of when I first started blogging. In *my* case I thought these were all new personalities...Distancing Dixie, Sassy Sandy, etc... Or ones that would come out. Now a year later, after some 'walls' have been demolished I see them as masks that prevent me from well ME.

      Barney has really begun to grow into his role. It isn't easy for either of us, but slow and steady wins the (non)race. We'll get there. LOL

      You are so sweet Sara! Maybe you should write more about SWEET Sara!

      Smooches back
      willie
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  3. But sometimes those masks aren't bad. They're part of being a good person. Yeah, you could say you're hiding your true emotions. Whatever. Sometimes you've just got to realize you won't look good in prison stripes, suck it up and carry on. It's not being fake. It's being an adult.

    Yeah, I know this whole thing is about letting go and being honest and all that good nonsense. Everybody needs to keep their survival skills. Sometimes that means putting on a happy face or a mask. It's life.
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    1. True. There are times where social convention dictates you put on your PTA Soccer Mom Mask and not trip the little bugger who is mean to your son. Having said that, those are just 'half masks' in my case. The masks I am describing here are detrimental to me as a person. Not to those around me. They don't allow me to be happy with myself. It is very complicated to explain.
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  4. Thank you tor sharing this! "While masks are great at concealing your face, they offer no protection for your core."
    For me this statement was profound! I am so thankful you have that one person who can see past the front we put on for protection. We all use them, but having a great support system in our mate is crucial. Someone who knows us past the facade. I am so glad you and Barney reconnected.

    Hugs Kris
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    1. You know Kris, I am beginning to learn that by trusting my husband, it sets out a ripple. A wave that allows me to trust others as well. We have some magnificent friends who are well schooled in wall building and mask wearing, and they looked beyond all of the smoke and mirrors and still managed to see me. What a gift ttwd can truly be on so many levels!

      That being said, it all started at home with a Man who loved me even when I didn't myself!
      hugs back
      willie
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  5. Willie,
    We all wear masks. The problem with many people is that they become so accustom to wearing the masks that people expect of them, they no longer recognize themselves under it.
    I know after Lillie and I spent the weekend with you and Barney, Susie and MM, you will only take off your mask for people who you can absolutely trust - like your husband.
    From what I saw, you have the perfect person in your life to help you ease that mask off when you are ready to let go - Barney is exactly what you need. He balances you perfectly.
    As far as judging yourself as withdrawn, I didn't see that, Willie, I only saw a loving, amazing woman with a man who would die for her....sort of like MM and Susie and well, Lillie and I.
    You are in good hands, little Timbit, mask or no mask.
    Love,
    Ian
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    1. Well if it isn't my favourite Cowboy! Welcome 'back' to blog land, if only for a moment, Mr. Mammoth Hands McSpanky Pants.

      I know you are right, (sigh, it gives me no pleasure in constantly having to repeat that phrase as of late.)

      The world is set up,unfortunately so we have our 'game face' on. I have to remember that my world of trust will only get bigger if I am willing to let it. When that happens I will hopefully leave my masks in storage. Fortunately with friends like the four of you, it makes it a little easier to not instinctively reach for them when I get up in the morning. Baby steps right?

      I know 'word around blog land' is you are a big bear, tee hee...but your secret is out now McSpanky Pants! You are a warm, charming and very sensitive man. Thank you for your kind words as always, and your boosts of encouragement.

      My love as always
      willie

      PS. As for his hands, today I wished he would have reached for the black out mask in stead of me being in good hands! Yeah, yeah, I know...BEHAVE!
      Delete
  6. Another clear, relatable post! You're quickly becoming a favorite for me to read! It helps me process some of my own very similar thoughts/feelings.

    There are few I can be around fully "naked", so to speak.....no masks. I'm one that doesn't think it's all bad, as much of it is part of my introverted personality trait. While you would think the opposite would be true, I have much less stress when being anti-social. I just find that I don't have a real need for connecting with others when around them in a physical sense. In the written word, yes, because I can choose at my leisure. I don't care much for having the expectation placed upon me that I must somehow offer that which I am not comfortable giving (for whatever reason) so others can feel good about it.

    I love that the ones I am very close to understand and accept this aspect of me! This understanding lends me to actually be able to connect on a much deeper level with them than with most, and actually *want* to be around. The masks are unnecessary, cuz when I feel I wanna hide, they say "we'll be here when you come out!" and don't judge me for being who I am!
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    1. Hey Sarah
      Welcome back. Oh boy now you are putting pressure on me! LOL.

      I am NOT what many would consider and introvert, yet I am, believe it or not an extravert in the truest sense either. For the most part I can relate to your comment. Since writing this post and reflecting on it further I can tell you that the masks I put on myself are Mine and Mine alone. My friends don't expect certain things from me. Nor does my husband in that sense-that is to offer more than I am comfortable. It is my desire to do so. It is also my desire that makes me feel disappointed in myself when I can't quite get there.

      This past weekend for example, when I finally sat down at the end of the day with my friends, and all our 'plans' for the day were completed- there I was. All of me. Ready and very much connected to those around me. Not sure if you read any of the comments above yours, but apparently my masks weren't as evident as I had viewed them to be, to those around me. That being said, once again, it is how I clipped my own wings that had me disappointed. Another thing to work on I suppose!
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    2. I totally get what you are saying! The expectations are the ones you place on yourself, yes? I do the same to myself, but a part of me feels that others expect it of me as well. I've learned, tho, that I project that onto them based on my own expectations on myself. And, like you, I find upon getting feedback that my mask wasn't as visible as I'd thought either. I think because I believe people may be paying more attention than they actually are! I have an inner dialogue that is ongoing, critiquing and dissecting every action i may or may not be doing. I don t always realize that the only person who can hear those thoughts are myself! Ha!
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  7. Wow Willie, this is an amazing post. i guess we all do wear masks but most of us don't recognise it. It is great to read how far barney has come. Also is that Ian as in Lillie and Ian commenting above me . If so hello to you both and I hope you are well
    love Jan.xx
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    1. Hi Jan :)
      This is an amazing post, isn't it. Really hits a familiar chord in all women who try to be everything to everyone and put their own needs aside for others......basically most women I know. We are the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, nurturers and caregivers of society, but under it all, as our little Willikins says so well, we are women that hunger, that need. I guess that is why coming out of that proverbial spanky closet is so very difficult for us all. :)
      I loved this post in that it speaks to that place we all go to hide from everything, to put our selves aside - but who we are really hiding from? Ourselves, of course. Isn't it the greatest irony, that in speaking our desires, giving voice to our submissive selves, we are empowered.
      Okay.....enough from me.
      Lovely post
      lillie
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    2. Well um. Thanks Lillie for answering my comment! LOL. ( Pssst, I think someone is missing blogging a tad)

      Now...HI JAN!- I guess you now have the answer to your question, via the (non so) Anonymous Lillie!

      I really do need to write a post commending my husband on how far he has come. Goodness knows I have written enough posts about our stumbles! As for the masks, well I have to figure out a way to differentiate between hiding and personality traits.
      love willie

      Oh and Thanks Lillie!
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  8. I understand more now...about the ways in which you were hurting. I can see some of the masks. I can also see how hard you are on yourself. I'd tell you to knock it off but it's a trait we have in common. It's part of what marks you as one who perseveres. I was aware but unable to act, I think because I am used to giving you space when you are struggling, waiting till you are able to talk before I invade. It's fairly easy to do when we are a million miles away from each other. It's a lot harder to do when you are together. I regret it though...because you deserved more. I did my own withdrawing, retreating into anxiety so if nothing else, I do understand the turmoil. I think next time I would choose to have more gumption b/c I know our friendship can withstand it.

    As MM and I have talked this week, reflecting together, we realize not only how special the time was, but how emotionally intense it was. He said "Where have these people been...these old friends who we've only been with once or twice?" He doesn't say stuff like that. That's how connected he felt with all of us. You were the host--you and Barney created the space that allowed us to have that time and connection. Thank you.

    Willie--the complexity of who you are--the fragility, the deep commitment to friendship, your never-give-up drive in your marriage--make you absolutely incredible. I'm not gumming at you...it's absolutely true. What Ian said about what he observed is right on. There are a lot of people in my life who I enjoy. There are not a lot of people in my life with your depth and I appreciate it immensely.

    Barney's words made me cry. There's a gentleness and strength in your husband that complements you. He's such a good man. It just makes me smile.

    Shutting up now. :)
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    1. I am unsure how to respond to this comment. Would we have done a couple of things differently? Perhaps- but knowing TODAY what we know, maybe not. It was a time for growth. It was necessary even if we look at it as unnecessary..LOL. My perspective of events keeps changing the more time I spend reflecting, and stepping away from the emotional/hormonal state.

      What hasn't waivered in my mind and heart- this time together was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life before. ( Confusing to the casual reader considering the topic of this post, I'm sure). I would normally, jokingly say, " once a person knows your husband spanks you what else is there to hide" but it was so much more complex than that. Now that the Cowboy let the cat out of the bag, I may write a post on the emotions surrounding the 5 nights. Yet I am unsure if I can accurately describe it.

      I will say, to over simply things for a moment, that when you are with a group of people who know where the bodies are buried and accept you- REALLY accept you for who you are, there is no better feeling than to be in that room. There was such a freedom I had never experienced before. I said to Lillie today, - swimming with a bathing suit has always been great, but once you do it naked, you wonder how you ever thought swimming with a suit was refreshing.

      As for Barney and I creating an atmosphere? We only found the place and organized the food. With different people there, it would have had an entirely different atmosphere! I know I tease you two about being the expert on sisters. The truth of the matter in my case, as much as I love my sisters, there is still a familial expectation placed upon us. I like this newer family of sisters, and as you stated, OLDER ( hey I can't be all SAP) brothers. We came formed to this family and everyone said it's okay. Well it's okay and " Nice skirt. Where is the rest of it?"<- it's okay I remember enough for the 6 of us...sheesh!

      Okay now, hold the phone here! " a gentleness and strength in your husband that complements you" LIKE a perfect FOIL?????? *wink*

      Love ya ~ now stop being so hard on yourself! You know I would have brushed you off! Pffft!!! Hmmm. I feel I may have to construct a new mask, the " Sure you can hug me Susie" mask.
      willie
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    2. Yeah, I think a week later, I would not change anything. You only learn stuff if you go through it together and it was a very, very safe place to do that.

      As for creating an atmosphere...I'll argue with you to the ends of the earth on that one. You have a gift that not many of us have.

      a perfect foil...bwahaha. No words needed.
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  9. Well, if those aren't words to melt a girl's heart (or tear down her walls, or rip off her masks...;) You've got a great man there Willie...one who clearly realizes how special you are.
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  10. Well, if those aren't words to melt a girl's heart (or tear down her walls, or rip off her masks...;) You've got a great man there Willie...one who clearly realizes how special you are.
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    1. I do have a great man Tess. I have always known that, otherwise I never would have asked him for ttwd. What I am guilty of is not realizing the depths of his greatness.
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  11. Wilma,
    I am going to have to read this post over and over. I'm not exactly like you. I don't know about the masks. I do know I tend to get busy and work on projects instead of spending time with my kids. I hate that I do that I and need to figure out why.
    Rock, on my request, is making me spend time with them. I know that sounds awful. It feels awful. One has left for college already and time goes so quickly. I love kids. I even would love to have more. I wonder what it wrong with me.
    I am really going to have to think about this post!
    Barney is wonderful. He is getting it. Rock is getting it, too. It's funny how you think they never will. You can't really even imagine them being this thing you need them to be. And then, they do these amazing things to surprise us. They do begin to get it. They even want it as much as we do.
    DD is slow, painful, frustrating and hard, but it is mostly beautiful!

    Trust
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    1. Trust, I don't think is sounds awful. I think is sounds human. What I think is fantastic is that you realized something about yourself and where your family was at, a place you no longer wanted to be, and asked your husband for help. There is no shame in seeing what needs to be changed. The shame comes after the fact if you didn't try.

      I was just saying to a friend today, I can't believe this will be our second Christmas with Dd ( although last year...URGH! lol) where did the time go? Sometimes I forget how far Barney and I have come - personally through ttwd. We often, as wives look at areas where we need to work and gloss over what is working. Not because we see the glass as half empty, but we forget that the glass WAS once empty. What we have now, seems like it has always been.
      willie
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  12. Aw, he sure does love you! Those are very special words. Must have made ya melt a bit. :)
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    1. You know Kenzie, never have I doubted my husband's love ever in our marriage, even when I felt like wallpaper, but now...I FEEL it.
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  13. I like that last line of Barney's. I said something very similar to Tori last night. Good stuff! Slap Barney five for me :)
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    1. Good grief...what a guy you are foothills! LOL. Susie's husband is fond of the virtual fist bump. If only you guys could 'virtually' hurt your spanking hands every once and a while!
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    2. Haha! Yea, wouldn't us HOHs hurting our hands once in a while be nice for you gals? Sorry to disappoint :)
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  14. I'm so glad that Barney sees that - and that he told you that - and that you got to hear it. That's amazingly wonderful - brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I'm happy for you Willie.
    hugs,
    Cali
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    1. It was a huge moment for me Cali. For us. So many times in the past year I wondered if we would ever get to a point where we both felt and believed that. Or a place where we could even see it.
      thanks
      willie
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  15. I feel like you were talking about me in this post. Wanting to connect, wanting people to see the real you, but not sure how, and you put on a mask, I do the Martha Stuart one a lot, especially if I'm not sure where I fit in, or if I feel I need to keep control. I think I need to tell the Duke that, I didn't know how to put it before, but you said it perfectly, the more independant I am, the more I need him. I am glad that you were able to learn all this about yourself, and then to share it with Barney. And I'm so happy that you got that feeling of love so strongly during your spanking. I could just melt over his words to you, he needs you. Oh, Willie, how beautiful! :)

    {{{hugs}}} EsMay
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    1. Hi EsMay
      I guess a lot of women feel and do the same things we do. Apparently quite well. Maybe we just take the expectations of others and Super Size them! Then hide behind them. We are clever that way. What complicates the mask, especially the Martha Stewart one, is the fact that we still have to be that woman too. So when is it a mask and when it is life, for our husbands to figure out or ask I suppose...Yeah...good luck honey! lol

      Thanks EsMay
      willie
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  16. I love the words he left you with...how touching hugs
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  17. Aww, Barney made me tear up with that one. Absolutely fantastic. I think the Caveman has come a long way. I'm so happy that you two are communicating so well. You are seeing each other beyond the masks. That my friend is no small thing.

    But you know what? Barney isn't the only one making progress here. Just being able to see what we are doing and how it affects our relationships is progress. Moving from the walls to much smaller masks... that's something too. I know you guys have struggled through the meh and the suckiness, but it seems like you are in a much better place now. Your posts, while thought provoking, seem lighter. You don't seem resigned to the idea that this will always be something hard. You two seem so willing to work together now. That's fabulous. Enjoy the moment, and hold on to those sweet words of his. You guys have worked so hard. You deserve this happiness.

    Love ya!
    TL
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    1. Thanks TL

      We have resigned ourselves that we aren't going to stay in a bad spot for any length of time now. There is no fear that this is going to end. The benefits were actually laid out and discussed at length over the last weekend with various points of views and observations. I think for Barney it was interesting to see 'us' in another couple. No we aren't THOSE people, but to know that we are not so unique in our past struggles, ( keep in mind he doesn't read blogs and sometimes I forget to inform him where are friends are at on any given day) was huge for him. I *think* that his words came because after this weekend he was willing to let go of all the ttwd 'stuff' and see US. How it has always been about us.
      But I am merely putting words in his mouth.

      We have worked very, very hard on our relationship. Not unlike many couples here. I suppose in some ways the way we approached things was much different, but our goal has always been the same. The connection. There are different levels of connection that flow in and out, but there is now such a deep underlying current, of contentment, even in the difficult times that I wouldn't change a single past tear or breakdown for. I am happy that is coming across in my posts.

      Love ya bunches too
      willie
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  18. This is really beautiful and Barney's words are like an early Christmas present! How sweet. I can relate to so much of what you wrote here, I've worn masks for so long, that I just learning who I am now, and while it's fun..it's also a little terrifying! I worry if people won't like the "real" me. The vulnerable and sensitive me, I seriously hide my emotions from everyone, I don't want them to know that I can be fragile. I guess it's a process, and I'm so happy for you, at least you see what you're doing and you fight to get back to that core person you want to be. That's so huge! Hugs
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    1. Oh Jennelle I know so much about how terrifying it really is to find out things about yourself. It comes in waves, and sometimes you can't catch your breath. Other times you fear being swept out too deep. You know what I am discovering and find interesting about the 'real' me, it is the me everyone already sees, only 'better'. For a long time I would alter me to fit the situation. Give them what I THOUGHT they thought I was. That 'fault' left a while ago.

      When I am truly me, I am content with me. No snippy person. No nervous energy. Just me. And THAT person I should like, because if I truly like that person, so will everyone else. And if they don't, well I know one guy who will! You only need one, and you can face the world. But the best thing is, one leads to two, because you let it. I am reading a book about that. Basically things will only get as great as you can stand, if you let them.

      I used to hide my tears all the time. Pretending to yawn was a great cover for me for many years. Yeah, it fooled only those who wanted to be fooled by it. It was my kids that started commenting. They have no ' this is not socially acceptable to acknowledge someone is crying' filter. Heck don't they know it makes things worse? But you know what it didn't. It made me giggle at myself. And then the tears stopped. Hiding was much worse than giving myself the freedom to just be. I know my post states otherwise, but as time progressed, I did just that. I stopped thinking and just was. That is all anyone really wants from others I think. Exposing our underbelly is a scary prospect, but if you start small, you will get there.
      I am routing for you Janelle. I know what it is like to feel trapped within yourself. When you are ready, give it a whirl with your hubby, and continue to try. It becomes more natural over time. That doesn't mean you won't slip or feel disappointed in yourself, or get hurt on occasion, but it is worth it. Trust me.
      Hugs willie
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  19. I wasn't going to comment here, after previously trying 3 times and failing because of a funky phone and that 4096 nonsense.

    You need to learn how to distinguish between personality traits and masks. Hmm. Why? How so? Does it really matter all that much? If it does, how are you going to tell them apart?

    It's not like you pull a mask from your pocket and slap it on your face, although that is fairly close to what happens. Still, it/they have developed over the course of your life. They are response mechanisms that became habits...traits... part of you.

    I wonder if we can figure out easy ways to notice when whatever shields are slipping into place, and learn to put them back instead of donning them? Maybe that is a job for Barney, to help recognize them and notice when they start to appear, and gently ease them elsewhere. Like on the cat? ;-)

    Barney, what you said to Willie - that was major. Did you hear the collective female sighs emanating from blogland? You made us very happy for her, that you told her you recognize you *need* *her* - only for herself. Awesome. (Psssttt. She needs you, too.)

    Willie, as always there is left-field potential in what I've written. Just questions, ponderings, meanderings... and big hugs, of course.

    Hi, Ian and Lillie! It's so good to see you. Miss you. Yes, the teary kind. Hugs!
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    1. Why do I need to distinguish between masks and personality traits? Because of my perception of myself. I am my own worst enemy. If I am 'using' my personality traits as an excuse to distance myself then they are a mask. If I am 'just being' then I will not distance other than physically say, if I have my Martha Stewart mask on. As you can see from Ian and Susie's overly generous comments, they didn't see a distant person. I however FELT that way. Which lead to an internal spiral. That is why I have to figure out the difference. Basically WHY am I in the kitchen? Because something needs to be done, ( personality) or because I am uncomfortable being in the livingroom ( mask).
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  20. Wow!!!! What a light bulb statement. He gets it. He really gets it. Amazing post!!!! I'm so happy for you. With everything you guys have been through, you deserve this. Enjoy it!!!
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    1. LOL! Hope you didn't break your exclamation key on your phone Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, but I'm not so sure we have gone through any more than most others around here. Maybe just a condensed version of it? Ya know the 3 year breakdown course in a 1 year period?

      I am enjoying. I am
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  21. I so like what Barney said and in thinking about through the filter of my own life, it made me think why people love me. I do think there is the tendency to think I have to earn someone's love by what I do for them or my accomplishments or because they have to since they are related to me. I don't know if you feel this way or not, but I am glad that Barney reminded you that he loves and needs you for no other reason than because you are his Wilma and that with him the masks aren't necessary.
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    1. I do see merit in your comment about earning someone's love in my case Cygnet. I don't doubt that it is true. However HOW you earn it might be the part where everything becomes askew. Doing things for those around us, shows our love, but shouldn't be WHY we are loved. I think the hardest thing to do is try to see ourselves as others see us. Perhaps visualize our positives and believe that we are projecting those outward, not our negative traits. The catch there is to really believe the positive traits you have seen in yourself. If you figure out a way, let me know!
      Delete
  22. What he said made me cry to Willie. Roster stunned me last week by saying something similar out of the blue. I given up years ago for him to speak that way to me from the depths. Wow.....this thing we do.
    Love,
    Blue Bird

    P.S. If you can't find your "Curt/Bitch Mask", it is because I have it.
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    1. Keep the Mask Blue Bird consider it an early Christmas gift. Oh wait. I am wearing it...LOL.

      What Barney said to me made me cry too. Of course I was OTK at the time, but that wasn't the reason for the tears.

      love
      willie
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  23. Such a beautiful post. You have worked so hard on discovering and changing in the last year. It's hard to get to the place where you don't feel like you need constant protection. Allowing the vulnerable side to stay ahead of the hiding side is amazing! Sure you still have masks sometimes but just think about how much easier it will be for Barney to reach up and pull the mask away instead of having to break through walls to get to you. Also sounds like Barney knows how much he missed you when you were running. My guess is that running and hiding will become less tolerated and he will keep masks and walls at bay! So happy for the two of you!
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    1. Thanks Clara! That is a great way to look at this. I am not sure we are at the 'less' tolerated stage yet. Maybe some day. This masks have been in place so long, I don't know if he sees them as such. But one day at a time, and all that jazz!
      Delete
  24. I'm sorry I only just found you had written a new post. I am very glad you had a great time with your friends - you were so looking forward to it! It seems to have had a very positive effect.

    Your images of masks remind me of De Bono's Thinking Hats. You need to read about them. They would explain a lot to you. Not as pretty as your pictures of masks, but very similar meanings.

    I've never really felt disconnected from Dan to that extent, and he has told me many, many times how he needs me, so I am truly delighted Barney has voiced his love for you in such a way. I do understand him, and have a certain amount of sympathy for him as I used to find it very difficult to say 'I love you' to Dan. But once I was able to say it, it became increasingly easy to say again, and again. The thing here is, that you now the walls are down, you are able to 'hear' Barney properly. And I do hope you are able to respond. Think of those Venetian masked balls - the masks come off at midnight.

    I just know you will have a wonderful and loving Christmas, Willie. I am so happy things are working out.

    Many hugs
    Ami
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    1. No worries Ami, I have been a lax blogger in answering, commenting and reading as of late. Thank you, I did have a wonderful time with our friends....with THAT bunch it could have gone either way *wink*!

      I may just look up Thinking Hats. At the moment I am trying to 'just' be and then get through the holidays. Maybe in the New Year.

      Barney has voiced that he needs me over the years but not in this manner. Not in a way that made me feel like he needs the 'real' me, not the woman who cares for his kids and home and family. He has always been overly generous with telling me how invaluable I am. This was so much deeper for me.

      You are very lucky that Starman has always said that to you. It must have been wonderful to not have to assume, but to have heard it! OH Barney has NEVER had trouble saying I love you. I am the one who has the difficulty. Or did. I am like you the more I say it the easier it became, but thankfully the sincerity still remains.

      Masks off at midnight huh? Well the truth is they very rarely stay on for more than a few hours.

      I wish you the best over the holiday season too Ami!

      love
      willie
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  26. I know I'm beyond 'fashionably late' to the party, but I just have to tell you, Willie, that this is an incredible post. So much personal insight you've had. The word 'transformation' came to mind as I was reading it. This is what's happening to you, and I'm so happy for you.....and Barney! It takes strength and depth of character to humble oneself enough to do this, and by you sharing this, you give hope to the rest of us that we can do the same.

    Hugs to you, my friend,

    Sadie
    p.s. Beautiful holiday look to your blog!
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    1. Wow Sadie! I certainly didn't feel like I was writing anything special. I was merely processing for myself and Barney. Thank you for your generous compliments!

      willie
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  27. Hi Willie, oh gosh, I can't believe how late I am to this! I am so sorry for my tardiness but wanted to say what an incredible post this is and what wonderful words from Barney ... just wow! You two have 'grown' so much (yes I know ... groan) and I am so happy for your both. Wonderful comments from Ian above too.

    Love
    Roz

    ps Love the new festive look :)
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    1. Groan! LOL! We have done both actually, grown and groaned...LOL.
      And it is never to late to hear from you my friend!

      love
      willie
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  28. What a beautiful post. I wear masks too, and I love what you said about each of them..how they appear and why. You guys are having so many important understandings. I am turning it around in my mind, the being independent but needing him the most. That's me too, but I never realize it at the time. I get called on it, and I realize it later. Usually I'm otk before it sinks in at all.

    What he said is so powerful.

    I loved reading all of this and I'm so happy for you.
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    1. Hey Stormy.

      Thanks. I am not sure I realize it at the time either- the more independent I am the more I need him. We shall see if he remembers this in the future. I mean heck, how can I expect him to recognize it in the moment if I don't? lol.

      Thank you
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  29. Hi Willie, if Sadie is beyond fashionably late, then I have no excuse at all :-(

    We all wear masks, even us guys! Problem is not everyone will admit it or even know it! Allowing another to see us without our mask on is about as special a gift as you can give. It takes infinite courage and trust beyond imagination!

    I have said it before but I will say it again...you have the soul of an artist and the passion that drives the artist enflames your spirit. If you were a musical composition you woud be a symphony with its soft and slow melodies weaving their nuance's amongst the fascinating counter melodies, teasing us with an occasional cresendo, then back to a soft interlude only to reach the consumation of all that has been by raising our emotions higher and higher with the climactic grand finale!

    And that my friend is what makes you so special and why Barney is so enchanted with not what you are, but who you are! Wow, how I love a post with a happy ending!

    Love,
    George
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    1. Oh George you incurable romantic you! Don't ever change. I love that you make me sound so poetic! And unique.

      As for being late to the party? Admit it, you just wanted all the lovely ladies present before you showed up!

      Love Willie
      Happy endings..lol...who doesn't love that?
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  30. Wow! You are so insightful, I envy how you are able to get your thoughts written down. I can completely relate to the masks you wear, I have worn them too often lately.

    I'm sorry I'm so late coming by, I haven't been in the best mood lately. I'm glad your doing well.
    Hugs
    Kim
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    1. I am sorry to hear that you aren't in the best of moods lately Kim. This thing we do is very challenging even on a 'good' day. I hope you can manage to sort your thoughts out and express your concerns as to why you feel you need to wear masks at times as well.

      hugs
      willie


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