Alive and intacts as much as possible.
Of course, leaving without him raises his anxiety level because, in part, «he's not there to protect me», not to mention that he knows that I get lost even using a GPS: for the past 13 years, he has been trying to teach me to orientate myself with the sun and the shade. He sounds like he will never accept my profound intellectual deficiency when it comes to «orientation» in general.
What can I say? The fact that the sun keeps moving in the sky confuses me completely. If the sun would stay still instead, I would be able to finally figure out the correlation between what is «west» and the direction of a shade. Yes: I am totally stupid when it comes to orientation and my husband knows how deeply problematic and risky it can be. In fact, Rambo learned how to «think like me» in case he would have to locate me somewhere on this planet one day.
Rambo is my bodyguard. Therefor, he feels reassured when I'm around, where he can physically get to me if anything would happen to me.
All the time.
No matter where we are, he always has a plan. A plan for what?
A plan to respond to any situation: from an earthquake that would reverse the magnetic poles, to an ISIS invasion by the thousands, to an Alien air attack, to a guy who would try to steal my wallet...
Bring me an american action movie and some popcorn, please: Rambo sees the world as a highly dangerous place as he seems to be ready for the end of the world. Listening to him, I feel like he's more into «looking for proofs that the end of the world is about to happen» the minute we are out of our fortress.
From the moment we became a couple, he insisted that we walk holding hands. For years, I told him how adorable I thought he was when he was stretching is hand towards me, indicating me to grab it, without a word or a look. I told him how protected I felt; I also told him on several occasions that his specific way of «ordering me» was making him attractive to me:
- «It's like you're a military giving me an order... you look so damn sexy stretching your hand to me like that.»
Unfortunately for Rambo, I like to understand what is unseen: the motivation, the explanation, the reason, the origin of the habit. Why this need to hold my hand each time we go out? The question was obvious to me, as I didn't perceive a military as being a man who would demonstrate publicly his affection, not at his age. After all the war movies I saw, I knew what was a military all about, thanks to Hollywood.
This is the kind of questions that would make Rambo uncomfortable and become strategic as he must not reveal, as much as possible, his true identity. He uses a half-truth, half-lie strategy.. the one his military service expected from him:
«I hold your hand because I'm proud to be with you».
Reference to being «proud»: I took me years to fully realize how much his military made him who he is. «Proud» is certainly a military valor.. and for «him» to feel «proud» was enough to justify the fact he would show to the world that I was his price, like he would wear a medal. Enough to justify to give me an «order», without wondering about my own feelings.
Luckily, in this case, we were/are a perfect match. After 13 years, although I understand the origin of his habit, I also understands that it means he loves me, that he would really take a bullet for me if he had to. Yes, holding my hand constantly is a way for him not to loose me if we would have to run, I know it's his military instinct and his PTSD..based on the only fact that my husband, the one behind Rambo, truly loves me. And you know what? I love walking holding his hand and I certainly appreciate him saying that he feels proud to be with me. I also understand that coming from him and where he comes from, it's more than a just compliment. This is a fight I choose not to battle.
But he did also use the same strategy to explain the presence of the crowbar he kept hanging on our headboard for 11 years.. «he forgot about it» until I didn't see it myself....
Same thing happened he was trying to convince me how dangerous a deer can be, when I was asked the reasons why he was driving in the middle of the road at night.
Listening to him, a deer could be potentially VERY VERY VERY dangerous. Big, huge, a deer never comes alone..a deer is quick, unexpected: it is safer to drive in the middle of the road at night to have a broader perspective and to be able to operate the car efficiently and safely if needed.
In my civilian world, you just slow down, you be a little bit more aware and IF anything happens, you press the break pedal. I'm not underestimating a deer, as I am perfectly aware of the fact that hitting one can cause casualties: but in my world, a deer is an animal presenting characteristics (reaction to light, ability to jump, etc..) that I must be aware of, just like I am for all other sources of danger: road conditions, weather conditions, etc.. In my civilian world, Bambi is very cute and inoffensive.
But Rambo is looking, watching, expecting, feeling danger constantly: this is his invisible uniform. His night vision goggles makes his feel the presence of enemies, as a reminder of his experience, what he felt so deeply under his skin at one point in his life: of course, he will instinctively drive in the middle of the road to have a broader perspective. The deer is not only the excuse but it's also the representation, the symbolism of his PTSD. In his world, a deer is an enemy.
It's the feeling, the emotion, the reminder: this is Rambo. Rambo is his protective mode also. Rambo is the radar.
Over the years, for a very few seconds, Rambo trusted me enough to compare his world to mine. Sometimes, he would show his skills, by asking me questions he knew I couldn't answer like : «How many security cameras are watching us right now?»
I remember this time when we were in a drug store. He was standing beside me, his back protected by a shelf:
- When you enter a place like this, what do you look for?
- (....) I don't know.. I look for the alley where I will find what I'm looking for. What do you watch for?
- The people... how they look, what they're doing... their bags... I identify the spots where someone could be hidden, I count the number of people, locate the exits..you know, stuff like that.
- Spots where someone could be hidden?
- Jesus! That must be stressful!
- It's not important.
Rambo was done opening up. I responded with an emotional response that was not «strategic». Thinking about it today, I would have tried to understand a little bit more about his world..with technical questions. Understanding his mind is the best tool I developed in order to deal with Rambo.
As much as I seem to see his world as completely different than mine, I'm thinking that I have my own point of reference in my life: my maternal instinct.
«Maternal» and «instinct»: 2 powerful notions referring to unconditional love..raw, pure, instinctive love.
I would give my life for my children. By choice or by instinct, I would die for my children. I don't believe that I'm different from the vast majority of mothers.
Being at home with the children was one thing: but the moment I was leaving the house, I became a mother on a mission to protect her children.
Was I hypervigilant? Was I overprotective?
I remember how I felt when I was entering a new room with my crawling baby. I had the reflex to identify all the possible sources of dangers..to the breakable and reachable objects, to those who could fall, to the presence of stairs, small objects on the floor, the electrical cords... you name it.
I bet all mothers know what I mean when I say that only one scan of the room was necessary. My alarm system was automatically adapted to my instinctive assessment of the safety of the environment: if my child was to crawl in this room, my own ability to have a conversation would be affected -more than it would usually be- just by the idea that my child is in an environment that I don't control fully and could potentially hurt him... because we are not at home. The fact that I was outside of my home made me much more aware of the notion of danger: even a single piece of dog food on the floor would catch immediately my attention and justify an action like walking across the room just to pick it up. I would position myself to be able to keep my eyes on my child at all time.
I remember how I felt when we were near a water plan..a pool, a lake, a river.. Of course, I couldn't take my eyes off my children! I would talk to the person siting beside me never looking at that person: my focus was directed elsewhere. All mothers understand what I mean. I believe Rambo could relate a little bit too.
Of course, all mothers have a «maternal instinct»...just like any military have a «training» and a perception of the world.
Do you know mothers who are so stressed out about what could happen to their children that they are making them (the children) anxious? Or some who are so overprotective that they are literally destroying the children's confidence in themselves? That the maternal instinct is an excuse -or a false representation- to something else..like a personal wound? Something like : «I was abandoned and my children are my security», for example?
They will justify it by saying that they love their children: of course they do.
I happen to believe that for most of us, personal wounds sweat through each choice, behavior, response..perception.
Rambo holds my hand... a little bit like I held the hand of my own children..almost for the same reasons.
Aren't we are all sharing the same world...living in different bubbles?