Marriage & Myths

A note to the readers who still read my words for some strange unknown reason:

I had to put the pen down, but in my mind I’ve still been scripting across a page. Sentences and phrases falling in and out while I try to make sense of the life hurtling around me. This is my normal. It’s a muscle though and while there were flickers of movement and ideas quickly penned down over the past few months – it’s not the same as habitual practice. Which means I need to stretch and flex until my muse and I are walking hand in hand again. I’ve been trying to draw her in. Brainstorming ideas while doing mundane tasks. Allowing my thoughts to ramble over the broken points in the plot of the book I’m writing. I finally had that moment I’ve heard other writers talk about – the one where right as your falling asleep a plot solution silently slips into your fading consciousness. Crazily enough it still made sense when I got up the next day. Normally, it’s something like TURTLES and then you have no idea what the hell you were possibly trying to get at.

One of the original reasons for my absence was the whole wedding shenanigan. Apparently, getting married can be a lot of work. But anywhooo, here are my thoughts on this little matter of mawwwiage.

Welcome back kids 😉

I said goodbye to my apartment two months ago and traded it in for another that I’m already quite familiar with. I know where it creaks and how tiny the kitchen is. That I lost an open layout and glorious windows on windows for a living room with a box used as an end table. I’m slowly converting it into an airier cozier kind of space.

I’ve watched a few friends get married. I’ve also watched some of them slowly dissipate and blur into their significant other. Much similar to the “you look like your dog” phenomenon. Little things start to pop up like… being unable to make plans even on rare visits because someone else needs dinner. *Side note: When men suddenly become infantilized upon getting married I want to stab them. If that’s what they’re looking for, perhaps they should go live with their mothers.

But anywaaaaay, it’s frustrated me and caused some hurt if I’m honest as well. That this thing, marriage, could suddenly put such a steel wall between myself and my friends. Especially, when for quite awhile I was the only one not in any sort of relationship. Maybe it’s because while I love the mutual chosen dependency on one another which can form in healthy relationships I also fiercely, cling to my own autonomy and independence as an individual. The idea of losing friendships and personal pursuits for one singular relationship even if it is the one of the most importance makes my throat feel just a little too tight.

And sooo…

Friendships.

I can see how easy it is to let friendships fade a little into the background. Plan less and less get togethers and phone calls. Life is busy blah blah. But… I’m calling bullshit. Because friendships are crucial to health of your relationship with your partner and your own individual well being for that matter. You are a better person, when you spend time with people other than your significant other. It’s really that simple. And of course, I want my person to spend time with his friends as well because it’s good for him and he enjoys it. Crazy, I know.

But I also don’t expect my significant other to rehash the latest episode of vampire diaries with me over margaritas, or to let me drag him from store to store in search of the perfect dress because WHY DOES NOTHING FIT, or call me out my bullshit in the same manner my closest friends can. Just like even though I’ll read a book during the Packer game and eat all of the food cause um yum, I’m more than happy for him to go watch it with his friends. They really seem to enjoy watching men in tight pants together, hm.

Sooooo PSA: It is OKAAAYYY to enjoy doing certain things with your friends. Phew, we can all go back to living now.

Not to mention, sometimes life is hard, and you just really want your best friend. Or even better a community of friendships to hold you and love you and give you a good kick in the ass. I never want to lose that.

Marriage is where dreams go to die.

People who are bitter and enjoy projecting their own shitty relationships like to say things about marriage killing dreams, lives, and calling it the end of all good things. *Side note: Always good to be aware of when people are projecting their own pains, scars, fears, and failures on to you so you can then promptly forget everything they ever said. Ain’t nobody got time for that crap. But I digress.

I have separate interests than my partner. Separate dreams and plans. Just like he does. Are they melding together in a sort of fashion? Sure, but they already have been for two years.

I sit in the bedroom and tap away on my keyboard or scribble down phrases while he’s in the living room plucking at copper strings. He asks me what I’ve been writing, and I ask him what new song is on his mind.

For the next four semesters I’ll crank out the rest of my MSW and like ten other licensures while he finishes his BSN and applies for graduate school himself. It’s a give and take. And we’re both happy to do it because nothing makes us happier than seeing the other person living out their purpose.

So…. All that noise about marriage killing your pursuits… It’s noise. And I really hate noise.

Lastly….

The Tinies.

Also known as babies. Within the last few weeks of being married there has been a silent shift that no one warned me about. Apparently, my uterus is the new hot to trot topic. As in person A walks up with a *knowing smile and look in their eye,* “Soo when do you plan on starting a family?” *continues to look creepily at me.* The first few times this actually caught me off guard, bless my heart. So this is my public announcement that people’s uteruses are not actually anyone’s business. But since apparently this is not a well known fact and my uterus is now a public interest (maybe I should name it??) – I’m really happy to be smack in the middle of my graduate program and I’m well aware that the next four semesters are very well going to kick my ass. After that I’m hoping to get a dog just like I’ve been saying since… oh I don’t know, forever.

Side note: The palpable disappointment people radiate after I tell them this is pretty messed up. My value as a person does not depend on whether / when / if I have a kid. I’m happy for YOU that YOU chose to have kids because it was YOUR decision… get it?

So I’m curious… What kind of fears and BS myths did you ponder through as you entered into a committed relationship?

P.S. IM MOVING! My new site is coming SOON! New platform, New Name! Be on the look out for updates 🙂

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In Which We Are the Exception

I look around at my close circle. The intimate few. And I think about their love stories. Not one is typical. Reminds me of one of my favorite movies, he’s just not that into you. “You are not the exception,” is the lesson of this film. And frankly, I always wanted to get on my feet and applaud every damn time Justin Long exasperatedly tells this to Ginnifer Goodwin. (total girl crush by the way) I’ve felt this way as I watched friends get crushed and hang onto people for far too long because letting go of even an awful relationship is terrifying. Because heaven forbid we have to spend a little time with just ourselves.

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The message in my head plays along, People will not change in the way you want them to. You are not the exception sweetheart. Even typing these words I’m like yes, yes, yes. I should make a banner. Not very catchy though.

Then I look at that circle again. The faces looking onto their loves softly. More than one of them has an atypical story. Stories that if you read only the beginning of you would not think ended in love or anything of the sort. Stories where I stood by quietly wondering where they would go. More than once closing my lips to the skeptical thoughts struggling to burst out. Does that make them the exception? Am I surrounded by exceptions?

I’m realizing there are few stories of love – friendship included, which follow any kind of plot curve. Humans are pressed together with a thousand layers, and we only see the top one with our cursory glances. The filmstrip the rest of the world sees isn’t always the same story we ourselves know to be true. The behind the scenes reel tends to only make appearances for a special few.

Maybe every love story is an exception. It’s a choice to put someone else in front of ourselves, and damn if that isn’t an exception to just about everything flying past our eyes. A choice to wrap your arms around someone after they were just the world’s most royal asshat of the day. A choice to look past someone hurting you to understand why they are acting this way. A choice for them to hold your face after you let sharp words ink their heart.

Instead of pining for someone to make us their exception I want to learn to start being an exception. Pleasantly surprising someone with compassion, when honestly, other words might be more deserving. Dropping a sweet note on a friend’s desk or into the mail for the one who’s scraping by. Then again we all know how the movie ends…

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I might have swooned with the rest of ya, but I still don’t believe in being the exception. I do believe in becoming one.

Roots of Love

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I didn’t grow up with sisters. The built in best friends who share our DNA, and maybe even a bedroom. Instead, I was gifted with a softhearted big brother who kind of looks like he could kick your ass. He’s pretty great. But naturally, since being a small child I have sought out deep feminine bonds in which I could unravel all of my knotted thoughts and dig into all those kept under wraps kind of desires.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that I was kind of an odd child. I had high expectations of just about everyone, and couldn’t grasp the flimsy nature of childhood and young adult friendships. There one day and gone the next. Pretty much the sphinx’s riddle to me.

High school through college and even post college I would harbor confusion and hurt over why my closest friends could seemingly take and take, but never manage to find any extra time or love, when the tables turned. Sometimes I still don’t understand to be honest. Even though if we’re being mature about this I am sure there have been countless times, when they have felt the same about me. That I let them down. Didn’t show up, when they needed someone to sit with. Forgot to call to check on that one thing.

In reality, I had been expecting people to love in the same manner I do. I wanted people to show up because I had, and to sit with me while the shades of grey turned back to blues. A trick of the ego we all occasionally trip into. And while we all deserve reciprocal love and care in friendships, there’s also a time for generous loving with no expectations. Sometimes these seasons last longer than we’d like, and we’re left a bit confused, weary, and maybe even bitter. It’s hard to pour out simply because we love someone for who they are because we forget that love always comes back somehow someway even if it isn’t when or how we’d like.

What I didn’t realize was the seeds had dug deep, and our roots had grown slowly down while wrapping inextricably around each other. These roots became more important than ever in the last few years as our dots on the map spread out further and further. Now the roots travel over and under rivers to arrive in desert lands and frozen tundra.

I glance around the map, and different colors flag where people hold my heart. Yellow for the one whose mind glows brightly lit with love and yet, is a fortress of steel. Navy marks the spot for my friend who is braver and fiercer than I can say. She will outrun us all one day once she finds her footing. The warmest of tones for the softest and yet strongest one of them all. Never let kindness and generosity fool you, for she is made of iron. I look at these places, and know without a doubt who I want to be.

And some while ago I realized every time we part they steal away with tiny fragments of me. I don’t ever quite capture my childish spirit just the same without the one of yellow. And my soul never feels so known as, when she who dances in navy has a minute to call. Settling into her vibrant shade of blue I can be purely and utterly as I am right now nothing more or less. Nor do I feel as wholly loved regardless of what I’ve done as with the one whose colors warm any room, or as accepted in my need for solitude and rest. She lets the peaceful part of me be free.

Our friendships are not only places to come home, but also where we find reflections of ourselves as well. Reflections of ourselves, and who we want to become. We find pieces of ourselves coming alive and dancing because only that person knows the song.

An Invisible War

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She walked down the faded stone steps and noticed they were crumbling in a few spots. She did her best not to slip on the glare ice barely concealed by a thin layer of snow. Leaving work, her entire body felt worn, and a slow pulse in her temples warned her of the oncoming mind splitting headache about to occur. Her carefully maintained composure began to slip as her mood rapidly shifted and apathy curled around her half frozen toes.

The days had been like this lately. Paint those lips, darken those eyes. Go to work. Tackle a thousand projects. She’d been forgetting to eat again too. Forgetting. Completely lacking an appetite. What’s the difference? But the moment she traipsed down those wide stone steps she felt it. Her body giving up the fight and caving to the imbalance of chemicals rushing through a million synapses.

The honest piece of her recognized the familiar signs and the deep ache starting to spread from her heart outwards. Headaches. Mood swings. Odd sleep patterns. Appetite change. Apathy. Feeling tired all the damn time, no matter how much sleep she allowed herself. The other part of her? Well, that part of her had no time for this kind of crap. She had gone to the place of endless nights once, and there was no way she was going back.

Her heels clicked across the marbled floor up to his door and she stared at the outline of where a knocker used hang. She absent-mindedly wondered why no one had ever fixed it, while flicking through the excessive amount of keys dangling off the solid silver ring. She felt the lock give and turned the knob as she pushed the heavy old door open. These buildings were notoriously ancient. She was grateful to find the lights all off and have a few minutes before he got home.

She had been sitting on the couch feeling worn and much more irritable than her normal self, when it had originally hit her. She was one foot slip away from free falling like Alice with arms flailing down the rabbit hole. Except this adventure wouldn’t be quite so magical.

The haze of darkness rolled towards her ever so slowly and then enveloped her all at once. The darkness settled in rather cozily as if to accentuate the point that it had never truly left. Darling, how far did you think you could run? But shh, I’m here now; you knew I could never leave you.

Her eyes shifted over to his handsome face a few feet away, and she wondered if he had it in him. If he had the gritty kind of love, which hangs on, when the other person can’t seem to find where they left themselves. She’d always been afraid of this. Missing a step and tumbling headlong back into the fog and seeing another person pack their bags, and slip away before the darkness could clear.

Most people simply aren’t strong enough to deal with the sheer weight of the fog pushing down all around. They feel so noble as they attempt a peek into the darkness, but their sight quickly fails with questions of why and how can I fix. It’s an invisible war swirling within a tiny body and the only pictures are blurred in black and grey. The photos depict an over tired, irritable, shell of the person the holder once loved.

And so the invisible war rages on and the other person feels as though they tried to do all they could, really they did, and leaves with their conscience clear. What a valiant effort.

This progression rapid fired through her brain as she took in the strong jaw and soft eyes of the man next to her. She settled against him and felt his body naturally take hers to his. Her breathing began to match his slow relaxed pace, he always did move through life this way. She felt herself drifting into the sweet place between waking and sleep. Moments later there was nothing.

From This Chair

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She stared up at the ceiling and glanced his way. Dark hair perfectly mussed and chest falling in even sleep filled breaths. Exhaling she wondered how many times she could lie there in the dark hoping he would miss her just enough to break down at her feet like some overdramatic lead role. Cry for all the heartwrenching divisions that now made up her insides and plead temporary insanity between jagged breaths as he apologized.

She turned from the thought and crept out from under his blankets and curled up in his favorite overstuffed reading chair. The old worn out brown leather one that she could remember them both falling into in a fit of laughter and tangled limbs. Legs all balled up underneath her, she let herself think of this as him just going through a phase. I mean come on everyone has at least one friend who dated the guy who just needed some “time” and then came back like some brand new spiffy version of himself. Sorry baby, I just got lost. 

Or maybe he meant it when he said our places were at different ends of the earth, and to go find someone who could follow the same winding path as her own. Either way, the heartbreak had ripped and tore at her heart until the threads that were left pulled her back to this place.

The familiar ding of her phone broke her out of her nostalgic reverie, and the sound left her with mixed excitement and heaviness as optimism and reality crashed head on over a text message. Never mind that he was one room over, her automatic response to the ding was to expect his name lit up across her screen.

Welcome to twentysomething heartbreak, where your phone can take you as high as it can low.

Swiping the text away, she lamented how the nights seemed filled with too much time and how afraid she was to call friends she had ignored for so long. Not to mention she was half convinced they would think she was crazy to carry on waiting and wishing for a person who oh so detachedly and politely set her free. But then the other waning voice offered the hollow comfort she longed for that yes, this really was just a phase of his.

Thoughts drifting as the night shifted in its darkness she wondered if every potential new person in her life would just be a poor pale comparison to the man sighing in his sleep across the hall. A cardboard cut out of the real flesh and life she had loved. If dates would be filled with feigned interest and mental comparisons of all the ways he is not him. An odd threesome of a date that would be. A ghost in the empty chair. A shadow of a voice whispering all the old things…

Why should she chase the unraveling strands of attachment, when the other end is quite possibly frayed to bits or even at worst, already cut to the quick as if there isn’t even a shred of hope dangling. Maybe false hope was better than none. In the truest spots of herself though, she knew only the hardest of truths could let her move forward.

Or maybe, maybe breakups are one of the worst experiences we as humans can face.

A death where everyone else can still love, touch, and hear the voice of the one we have lost. The oddest form of torture. To love what we feel is so fully and truly only to have this pulled out from underneath us with a quick note of, “This never could have worked forever… you know that right, baby? ” A quick punch to the gut, that’s what those words are.

All of us running around with hearts full of edges and scars never knowing when the next crack might set in. But sitting there in the chair of a man who had shattered all notions of their forever she knew that one day she would accept the pain and the heartbreak in all its gory notoriety. Let the dark garb of love’s death be her wardrobe and allow it to change her from the inside out.

But she pictured herself, a year, two years, from now looking back to this same overstuffed chair and wondered what she would see. Would she see a girl who turned back again and again to the source of her pain? A girl who never left this chair. A girl running to the edges of the earth to avoid the ache of it all? Or one brave enough to take the hands of whoever else was beside her and just sit with the ache day after day until it slowly fell off in bits and pieces leaving a sparkling trail of hope in her wake. Hope for every other brave soul who must face this dark night tucked into a ball in the armchair of someone they can’t let go.