Narcissitic doesn’t fit nicely on a name badge either

From Jen Gray “it’s easy to do. you begin reading other’s blogs and you see how beautiful, cool, and successful their lives are ~and instead of being inspired, you end up feeling like a totally dull and boring loser….hopefully you are able to take a step back and realize most folks are not going to post something about the less charming side of things (let’s face it, it’s a bit more fun to write about the DELISH PIE we just shared with our BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS at an AMAZING CAFE, then it is to write about the pile of bills on the counter or the dirty dishes in the sink)… and these blogs are just a snipit’s of people’s lives. So keep that perspective.”

 Blogs? Hell I do this with women I pass on the street.

 I’ve officially, as of last night, separated from my husband. We no longer share bills, a refrigerator, a car, groceries, my paycheck, a TV, a shower, or a bed. Before last night, sometimes in my darkest moments I would let my mind wander to that last night. That last night where I would lay down on the left side, facing the door and then 8 hours later get up for the last time the next morning and move on to a new, undetermined life alone and never return to those sheets again.  I wondered how that would go and now I know: 

I went to bed alone with my daughter, woke up at 5:00 a.m. anxious to get started moving and I left to clean out our storage shed.  End of story.

Sometimes the reality doesn’t sound so good on paper, much like those cafes and delish pies.

For a long time now my identity has been so intertwined with my husband’s, and rightfully so. I am a wife. I am a mother, a friend, a sister sure, but a wife too. Now (almost) I’m not anymore. I’ll technically still be married but I don’t really consider living in my own house away from him very married, would you?

A wife isn’t the sum part of my being by any means, but it’s pretty engrained in me. I just keep thinking about that. I’m no longer a wife, that title replaced by separated and perhaps one day, divorced. Ugh.

On top of that, it strikes me that all of these frustrations or joys or yearnings or hope for the “ US ” that I have been holding on to for these years,they areall gone.  There is no more reason to hold them.

I’ve been unhappy for awhile, we both have, so I’ve looked very carefully and thoughtfully and studiously at other people’s marriages and relationships about why I’m so unhappy, what we are missing, some clue or justification. I’d get glimmers and think “Aha! That’s what we don’t have! Let’s get some of that!”

But I know all too well these glimmers are never shown by couples during real problems or 3:00 a.m. feedings or when they are overdrawn at the bank. They are couples I get jealous over who coo over each other at parties or during board games for god sake. The couples where you know they fight, but more importantly you know they want each other fiercely.

So perspective? Yes I’d like to order a large one.  It’s not easy to trust myself to be so sure about what I think I need when I’ve been telling myself for 12 years I can do without or I can compromise. I’d rather say “why can’t we be like Mr. ZYQ at that café eating that delish pie?” than think “well, no reason to compare now.”

So what does the future hold for me and all of my labels? This sister/mother/friend/almost divorcee?  Hell if I know. And hell if I think any of those other couples have anything to tell me any longer either.

There isn’t a name badge at the Office Max that can hold all of those labels and there are days when I don’t think I can either.  So I’ll just settle for “Hello my name is Happy.”



Stack of Boxes

I don’t have any married role models.  I have relationships I envy in certain ways, sure, but not necessarily for the status of their marriage license or the number after the “Happy” and before “Anniversary.”   I have marriages in my life that have lasted years and years, but that doesn’t mean they are my idea of a good marriage.  Even those I thought I envied turn out to be missing something crucial in my eyes.  But, of course, isn’t that the case with anything you think you are so jealous of. So I suppose I couldn’t tell you what makes a good marriage either, as it’s so different for everyone.  Hell, one of my favorite human beings, Dolly Parton, admits her relationship works because she doesn’t see her husband for weeks on end.  I’m sure that wouldn’t fly with most people.

Obviously I’m not most people, I’m me, and currently my marriage is sitting on that cliff in that convertible with Thelma & Louise trying to figure out if it’d be better to just keep going on our current path of certain death or turn around and find a road a little less “flammable.”

We married very very young.  Fresh out of high school and one year of college under my belt, I was on a mission to grow up and get things started in the direction due north from the area my life had been up to that point, or at least the people’s lives around me.  Being an overly anxious gal, I needed to get things in order quickly and efficiently as it was the first time I was in control and I wanted no more chaos thankyouverymuch.  So I found someone who made me laugh, who I could be my crude self with and who I could live with pretty harmoniously. He was easy to please and as long as either of us didn’t make too much of a fuss, we got along famously for a long time.  We then spent the next 10 years going here and there, having fun together and apart, mostly apart.  The apart thing though, that’s where I’m going here for those taking notes.

Now that we’ve had a child, well it certainly puts a damper on the “apart” time, doesn’t it?  All of those friends I would visit or hang out with to get what I didn’t have with my partner have to be put on hold due to taking care of my lil’ lady.  Before her I could see him when I wanted too and vice versa, and we certainly weren’t chained to the house and sharing huge responsibilities together.  We weren’t forced to rely on each other in ways we probably should have all along.  We’d piss each other off or let each other down and no big whoop, we’d just go out for a few hours and let off some steam.  Now though, we’re together a lot more and trying to work as a team to raise a child.  A team we never really got around to forming when we should have.

As I’ve aged in my married life, I’m now a huge believer in not putting all of your expectations on one person.  Even in friendships.  One person cannot possibly fulfill everything you need or want in life.  It’s not going to happen.  Thus the reason for girlfriends, work friends, that one guy that loves French films as much as you, but that you wouldn’t have anything in common with outside of the movie theater, the Starbucks barista you chat with every morning about music…you get my drift.  One person is not going to be everything you have ever wanted unless you are one of the most fortunate people on the planet.  That’s a lot to put on a guy, actually.  So my husband isn’t everything to me.  Just like I’m sure I’m not everything to him.  However, I think somewhere in the back of my heart I’d always hoped he would be and I sure drug him along hoping he’d figure that out.

When I got my prescription for medication to help with my depression the doctor warned “You may be forced to think clearly on subjects that you weren’t before.  Whether you want to or not.”  How true.

So we are separating.  Simple as that, yet the most complicated thing ever.  I asked for it and he agreed.  We haven’t fought, we haven’t screamed.  It’s been peaceful and we are communicating more than ever.  Hell, we still sleep next to each other in our bed until I move out at the end of the month.  Sadly, it’s like we took the pressure off of being married and now we can be what we were, great friends.

My anxiety is wanting me to plow through this, get my ducks in a row and keep going forward.  Pay the price for what you want and get it.  That sort of thing.  What I want to know ahead of time is how much exactly is it going to cost to have what I want?

I’m not scared of being alone.  I’m not fearful of those long nights in a dark house by myself or getting my own groceries or changing my own oil.  Though there is a difference between sadness and fear, fear I do not have.  Sadness weighs on my shoulders in a physical ache.

What I am absolutely terrified of is everything for my daughter.  The only sobbing I have done is when I consider how much she loves having both of us put her to bed, how much she loves when both of us read her stories or give her a bath or just in general be together as a family.  I remind myself even before the new arrangement, we didn’t do these things often and when we did there was an undercurrent of negativity and tension.  However, to her sweet little innocent eyes, it’s all of us loving her together and that will change at least logistically for her very soon.

I am eternally grateful that my husband & I agree to make her life the best we can, even if that means living next door to each other until she is 18 and putting in the effort we never could for each other.  But her life will still change in the next month, I know it to my bones as I pack my things for our new house.  I may end up picking her up from daycare now, instead of coming home to her and her father and fixing dinner.  She might not see me every day or him, even though that is our main goal.

I could only recently think that last thought without crying immediately.

What I hope to give her, whatever the outcome of this separation, is the knowledge that getting what you need out of life comes with a price, but it’s important and you are worth it to try and that she knows not even a drop less of the love she has felt all along.  Not a drop.

In fact, she is the one that taught me all of that.  Maybe one day, if she’s sitting on that cliff in that convertible, I can tell her way before she gets to the edge.