There are no pictures to go with this post because don’t nobody want to capture this day in photos. It’s not a particularly bad day or anything…I mean, 76 degrees, partly sunny, good hair day, didn’t hate what I wore to work…but there’s something sinister lurking in this day that had me leaning toward tears on more than one occasion.
Here are the facts:
FACT 1: The K’s are with me for two weeks while their mom and step dad are in a foreign country picking up a missionary. This is nice. I like having them around even with the incessant bickering that accompanies their presence. Quick rambling story that I actually think has some relevance: Sunday, on our way back from visiting Justin, K1 was eating some watermelon in the backseat (don’t judge me) and threatening K2 with seed-spitting grossness. We were on a side street headed toward the highway when I realized with a certain amount of panic that this back and forth and back and forth could go on the entire 45 minute drive home and no amount of Prairie Home Companion cheesyness could drown it all out.
So right before we got to the onramp, I pulled the car over in front of a horse pasture, opened my door, walked around the back of the car and opened K1’s door. Without a word, I snatched the watermelon from his hand and calmly threw it into the horse pasture while he looked on, horrified. I laughed a little when K2 said, “I guess the horses are having watermelon for dinner.” and started back to my door, giving myself a silent high five. “Self, ” I said, “You were poised and calm. Well done!” But then I noticed that K1 was crumpled in the back seat sobbing for the loss of his watermelon and I realized that all my poise and calm and silence had actually been kind of terrifying and unfair. After a moment of thinking as I so often do, “Dude, get over it…it was watermelon.” I checked in with myself and unfortunately still had that feeling…yep… terrifying and unfair. “Self,” I said, “You gotta do the right thing.” Though I still felt kind of justified in the reasoning for my behavior (seriously, 45 minutes is almost an hour) I said, “Hey, you know what? We all probably could have done some things differently in this here situation. Me, for example. I could have asked you to stop and told you that I was going to remove the offending watermelon. I should have communicated my feelings (though you and I both know it would have done no good) and then been less reactionary and for that I’m truly sorry. What could you have done differently?” K2 chirped up immediately that she should have asked for help from me but K1 is a lot like his Dad and was not ready to talk about how he was feeling right after the incident. When we made it home after an absolutely noise-free, watermelon-free, NPR-heavy car ride, K1 finally said, “I forgive you. I guess I could have not spit any watermelon seeds in the first place.” And that was that. We’ve been calling this “The Watermelon Incident of 2014” all week and now we can joke about it. There’s nothing quite like children to show you the worst parts of yourself and force you to face it head on.
FACT 2: I’m reading a book that Ted (not his real name) invited me and Justin to read so that we can begin to work through our relationship lumps. Ok, so I realized ‘relationship lumps’ is not going to make it into the urban dictionary any time soon, but I don’t really know what else to call them. ‘Problems’ is too heavy and somehow the idea of it all just being like these masses under the surface seems about right. The book is called, “Getting the Love You Want” by Dr. Harville Hendrix. I know, I know. This sounds like a made up book by a made up Dr. in a Bridget Jones novel, but I assure you, it is real. And it’s tricky.
The first half of the book is all about why we choose the partners we choose and I’m afraid the news is NOT good. Basically, he proposes (with much more scientific language than I can distill) that we choose partners for three reasons: 1. to heal childhood wounds inflicted by our primary caretakers (we chose someone who reminded us in some way of our parents in order to rewrite our story) 2. to free us from our repressed self (we chose someone who owns characteristics in themselves that we used to have in ourselves and have since shut down because of societal norms) 3. I can’t remember this one, read the book yourself.
I think it all freaked me out…this theory and the way it mirrored many of the things I’ve intuited but didn’t have a name for over the years of self-reflection. If falling in love has seemed a mystery to me then falling in love with Justin was even more so, but I have always suspected there were some patterns in the men I fell for and even now, I see, I see. And seeing can be painful. Like the watermelon incident of 2014. Conscious or unconscious as the choices may have been at the time, I can now understand things in light of a new perspective – colors are sharper, deeper and more symbolic than ever …. and that shit means that I have to behave differently (sorry for the swear). I have to allow the revelation to become part of my current system of belief and then I have to do something about it all if I am to remain a person of integrity. Like Jung so aptly said, “There is no birth of consciousness without pain.” Right on, brother Jung, right on.
The good news is that Jung prefaced that line with this one “Seldom or never does a marriage develop into an individual relationship smoothly without crisis.” And that reminds me that a marriage CAN evolve and it can develop. Yes, there must be crisis in the pursuit of this beast we call marriage, but if harnessed and explored and owned, that crisis can bear fruit…it can bring the love we want. And the part I think gives me the most hope is that I want love. I want to love. This is all I’ve ever wanted in life and I am willing and able to trudge through the valley of the shadow of death to get it. I think Justin is too and we’re doing it. Nothing smooth about it but plenty of hope.
Fact 3: My mom is coming tomorrow! There is safety in them there hills! I’ve been holding on to this mountain for over a month now, gripping the edge of sanity on more than one occasion. I’ve been pretending at being a mature, together adult life form. But now that Susan is on her way, I’m relaxing my grip. I find myself longing to let her clean my bathroom and organize my dusty bookshelves. its ok if my mom knows that I haven’t cleaned out the refrigerator in over a month and I’m pretty sure there is something dead in there. She’ll probably make me dinner more than once and she won’t judge me for letting grandpa the cat lick the bathtub water (because I feel cat-parent guilt at being gone so much and feeding her dry cat food).
Fact 4: I haven’t allowed myself real space to process or think. I have purposely created noise around me. No meditation. Sparse journal entries. Crappy prayers. I read the book but I don’t want to really think about it too much or else I start feeling sad.
So all in all…there’s a lot of self-reflection and self-doubt and self-ishness going on for me right now. I’m full of weirdness and not sure where to put it all. THis isn’t really even about Justin’s addiction but more about my own muddled side of the street. He’s in there sitting in circles and eating vegetables. I’m out here killing all his plants, not exercising and eating tortilla chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And that, folks, is what it’s like to be me today.