Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Perspective altering questions, Part the deux

Today's epiphany inspiring question came from the mother of one of Silas's friends. The preschool our boys go to has a strict locked door policy. Meaning, no one enters the building, at all. So we parents congregate in front of the door waiting for our children to be brought to us. Of course, we chat and whatnot. We've gotten together with this particular mother and child several times for playdates and lunch and we get along rather well. We seem to take to each other as the outsiders. We both have interests in meditation, organic food, peace retreats and other crunchy granola hippy stuff that the rednecks around here don't get.


One afternoon, I walked up to the door holding my blackberry behind my back so as not to disturb any conversations. I had it on speakerphone because I was on hold with Spr!nt. I apologized for being obnoxious but I didn't want to lose the call. She looked at me questioningly, and I explained that I had just gotten a $3000 cell phone bill and the representative had me on hold while she corrected the mistakes and issued the credits. Her response? "Man, it's always something with you, isn't it?"


Now I don't think she meant it unsympathetically at all. She's a very kind person and I believe she was remarking on how there constantly seemed to be something going wrong or causing stress in my life. I know you're probably thinking I'm some big bawl baby, whining all the time to anyone who'll listen, but that's not the case. I'm actually a very private person (quit laughing) who rarely tells anyone anything. This is in real life, poppets. Here in my computer, I let it all hang out. (You're welcome). So the fact that she picked up on this in the few times we had gotten together or had a conversation puzzled me.


After much deliberation, I asked her what made her think or say that. She replied that the tension shows on me like I had it tattooed on my forehead. Well. That answers that. I had no idea. I thought I came off as some carefree spirit who just went with the flow. Apparent fail. She pointed out that I am rarely present in the moment. That I'm constantly checking my phone or watch or thinking of what has to be done next instead of focusing on what I'm doing right then. And she was right.


I thought a lot about that for a long time. I didn't want to be the person who always had something going on. It was around this time that I started letting things slide. That I stopped doing everything and started doing less. And then less. And then just a leetle less. The fact that I spiraled into a depression didn't help. I failed to find the balance I needed. The pendulum swung from one side, -doing it all, alone- to the other, doing absolutely nothing. The happy medium? The peaceful middle ground? No such thing in my world. Apparently, it's all or nothing.


I shoulder my part of the blame for the situation I found myself in. For twelve years I did it all gladly. I now realize it was because if I did everything and he became dependent on me, he wouldn't realize how ultimately unloveable I really am and leave me. If he couldn't live without me, then, well, he wouldn't live without me. (None of that changes the fact that he LET me do it all.)


Thankfully, I've been able to find that middle ground. By standing my ground. I refuse to do it all anymore. I started putting my foot down around two or three years ago. I refused to work all day, be Silas' primary caregiver, then come home and start the second shift of household chores. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that when a man runs out of underwear, he learns right quick how to work the washer.


Our marriage was rocky during my pregnancy and directly after Silas birth. I attributed that to hormones. But our serious problems started when I stopped being his everything and started being true to myself. What I've found is that if I don't take care of everything and live to serve his every whim and anticipate his every need, it's not going to work. So evidently, it's not going to work because Wonder Woman? She just hung up her lasso.





*this is the last post pissing and moaning about my marriage, pinky swear. and that's not me.

17 comments:

coastrat said...

One of the important things in life is that YOU need to be happy with YOU, and who YOU are. Sounds like you are on that trail all right...

My thoughts are with you!

Twisting Ivy said...

It was about damn time Wonder Woman hung up the lasso. ;)

Willow said...

Damn girl, you got inside my head again!

There's no denying that the path you're setting out on will be tough - and *people* may choose to think that because you have in the past, so you should in the future. The fact is you're growing, and how he chooses to deal with that is his decision. You're his partner, an equal and he needs to recognise that if you two are to have any hope at all.

(Sorry, if that sounded rantish - I had one that failed to recognise it until it was too late)

Sod Wonder Woman, Cat Woman always looked like she had waaaay more fun!

Jarrard said...

I was the second wife of a man and truly thought that it was her fault that their marriage didn't work.

I found out that it wasn't - there are 3 sides to every story - yours, mine and the truth.

Needless to say the conversation went like this when I asked him to leave: "It is less stressful to be a single parent without you here than it is with you here."

Good luck navigating these waters. They are tricky.

I would like to add that my child agrees that he sees his dad and I interact in a way now that he wouldn't have seen if we had stayed married. We are actually friends and I am happy to be able to say that all of the hard work to make it that way has been worth it.

Hopefully you have seen that a lot of people have been through this as well. However, I'm not sure how my ex found his way all of the country to be married to so many people. :)

jen @ the cubicle's backporch said...

I've had a couple of moments like this when an almost-stranger says something that makes me think 'is that how i come off?' And it makes me re-evaluate.

I'm impressed that you didn't get offended, instead you looked at yourself and understood where she was coming from. Not a lot of people can do that.

CelticBuffy said...

It's hard to find the right balance, but realizing that you need to find it is the first step, right?

I agree with willow, this path will be tough, but it should be worth it. I have lost several "friends" that I guess weren't really friends at all, and I'm happier not worrying about what they think about me anymore. People may have a hard time adjusting to the new you but it needs to be done, for your sake and for Silas's. More power to you and we're here whenever you need to "let it all hang out".

Dingo said...

As I said in comments to your prior post, what type of life to YOU want to live. I just want to say to be prepared for people saying that you are being selfish, that you have to think about X person, or Y person. No, this is one time to be selfish. This is when you have to think about YOU.

Our situations were a little different but you can email to whine anytime. I can offer a listening ear and my experience which may be different from yours but is living proof that no matter how bad it gets, getting yourself back is worth it all.

Ree said...

Whenever there's not a partnership, there's not a marriage.

Kate said...

People say they stay in marriages for the kids. After working with kids for 10 years, I'll tell you what, children KNOW if their parents are not happy and would rather see them happy and apart, than miserable together. You've got a strong will, use it for good.

Candy said...

Honestly, I admire your frankness about your marriage. I don't post much about it, not the real dirty, gritty stuff. Because I'm always afraid he'll find it (and it's not all that hard to find).

Don Mills Diva said...

It's tough when one person changes in a relationship but it sounds like you HAD to change - hopefully he can accept that...

Jocelyn said...

I so much crave twelve hours to read everything you've ever written. The writing--wonderful; the points made--amazing.

You covered about seventeen huge things in this post, but you put the human face on them.

I'm a complete fan of you and where you're at right now. Go, woman. Go.

flutter said...

You rock.

kwoneshe2 said...

To thine own self be true. Without that, you will never be completely happy. You have to take care of yourself no one else will.

Mrs. G. said...

I tell my daughter every chance I get "discuss the division of labor BEFORE you get married" Like you, I divvied up the chores a few years back. It is never too late to change.

kittyconcerto.com said...

Awh, so much about this breaks my heart. I completely understand the manic behavior, then looking around saying "what am I doing???" I feel like that right now in fact.

I'm just starting to read here, so I'll have to go back a bit to catchup on your marriage, but feel free to vent here. That's what my whole movement is for (not that your in yet, but you get the idea).

cathy said...

Oh this is so me! Married almost 13years and gave up on making it work last year.