The Hubs and I rescued this pitbull two years ago.
He’s anxious, sometimes unpredictable, and early on, there were moments when he was downright scary.
We didn’t know his history.
His behaviour and responses were like nothing we’d encountered in previous pets. We wondered how to train him. We worried if we didn’t fix him address the behaviours, he’d do something really bad.
How to read him, how to redirect him. How to remind him that he doesn’t have to be in charge all the time.
And slowly, he learned to trust that we could keep him safe.
One way I calm him is to make him sit, I kneel, hold him steady with my face right by his and whisper calmly:
The world is a happy, safe and warm place.
No one and nothing can hurt you here.
Happy relaxed Louie
Until Louie, I don’t think I ever gave much voice to my own feelings on whether the world is truly a happy, safe and warm place.
Certainly people and things can hurt me. From my early teenage years until I was well into my 20’s I didn’t really find the world to be all that happy, safe and warm.
There was instability in my life that carried on even once I had the ability to control such things.
I would not have used any of those words, Happy-Safe-Warm to describe my life.
I can identify the moment when that began to shift.
It wasn’t a switch that was flipped (I don’t feel safe did not overnight become I Feel Safe), but the day I met The Hubs, my world view began to change.
when we met…
It was not “love at first sight” but within a matter of weeks, I found myself gravitating to wherever he was. I wanted to cocoon myself in his apartment and never leave.
Louie is a fan of the Cocoon Lifestyle
I wouldn’t have used these words at the time, but looking back, I felt that as long as I was there, I was cloaked in something that made me feel Happy, Safe, and Warm.
The Hubs is a talker.
When he’s happy, he’s talking. When he’s angry, he’s talking (but louder). When he’s reminiscing, he’s talking (storytelling, more slowly). When he’s tipsy, he’s talking (animatedly). When he’s agitated, he’s talking (faster and about anything BUT why he’s agitated).
He was willing and able to do all the talking, and he didn’t need me to say much.
No pressure to talk about my feelings (yech) or my history (oh dear god no I don’t want to get into that) or my plans for the future (at that point there were none to speak of) or my worries or my fears or any other damn thing. I could sit with my feelings and listen to him and when (if) I wanted to talk, he’d listen.
He would carry our conversations.
I wasn’t SILENT–I just didn’t want to talk about anything REAL. I wanted to stay in the bubble, and I didn’t want to acknowledge anything else existed.
Now, The Hubs is one of maybe three people I really want to “get real” with.
I read two posts from Carla recently that sort of rattled my brain, kept bouncing around and wouldn’t leave me.
The concept of having a Safe Person, brought all this history to mind.
It reminded me how unstable, unsafe I felt in the Bad Old Days of my early 20’s.
It reminded me what a blessing I have in The Hubs.
He has been my Safe Person. We didn’t call it that, though.
We just said “You’re my favorite thing to do.”
20 years later.
The second…her words prompted me to talk to others about it, and I have had trouble explaining what this post is about!
The way I read it, it’s about the definition of “listening.” It touched me and reminded me of a specific conversation. Her post resonated with me so much that I commented:
I worry often that The Hubs thinks I’m not listening as early on I would often fall asleep, ear to his chest, listening to his voice.
I asked him if it hurt his feelings and he’d brush it off – I think it DID, at least a little, hurt his feelings.
Until I explained:
“Your voice calms me like a lullaby. It makes me feel happy, safe and warm. I never want you to stop talking and I never want to interrupt.”
We don’t really snuggle late into the night these days like we used to. (When did that stop? And WHY? I resolve to incorporate more snuggling.)
He is STILL my Safe Person, my favorite thing to do.
He still makes me feel Happy, Safe, and Warm.
I’m Chris. I occasionally blog about running, weight loss, crazy dogs, and my struggle to unearth the best version of myself. I am so thrilled that Carla asked me to share my thoughts here. It has been a joy to join the conversation and experience Getting Horizontal with Carla here, through the #wycwyc podcast and on Twitter!