09:48 Hello lovely people. I am cosy in my bed on a heated mattress pad while the rain is ticking on the skylights and my husband is (wonderfully!) looking after the kids.
There are some days where I feel like I can only function thanks to the existence of this heated mattress pad. I feel so very grateful for it. Sometimes it’s the simple things, y’know? And then immediately after feeling grateful, I feel guilty. I wish that everyone in the world could have a heated mattress pad. But I guess having this blog is my way of using my heated mattress pad for attempted good in the world.
Having gone to bed by 21:30 last night, I woke up this morning around 03:30 so tired I could not drag my sorry rear-end out of bed to go and write. My husband is home again and I was grateful to have his snoring warm mass beside me, like a sun-filled sleeping ape. (I don’t think he’d mind that analogy.)
Marriage is not easy. But it is rewarding when I let all expectations and/or blame fall away. I went through a lot of stuff (both “good” and “bad,” if there is such a dichotomy) before I got married to this guy, so I really did “choose my love” as best and consciously as I could. And throughout these many years, as all long-term-committed folks do, I keep having to renew my dedication to “love my choice.”
“Choose your love, and love your choice.” That was what one of my favourite aunts always said to my mom, when my mom would complain about my dad. (Well I’m lucky, I have four aunts, one by blood and three by marriage, and they are all my favourites, in different ways.) I think my mom’s sister was right, in my mom’s case, since my dad was the best dad on the planet, in my books at least.
Truth is I grew up learning to blame others for my own faults and I keep having to unlearn that, day after day after day.
In my case, I think (subconsciously) like this: If I drink too much on Friday nights sitting on the sofa? “It’s because he likes to drink on Friday nights while sitting on the sofa.” I don’t get up early enough on weekends to write? “It’s because he’s there beside me and I don’t want to disturb him.” I can’t get all my organizational tasks done when he’s home? “It’s because he’s got another agenda that interferes with mine.”
But no, no, and no.
Hello Self? Try this instead:
If I drink too much on Friday nights sitting on the sofa, the real reason is because I’m a recovering people-pleaser, and I haven’t quite finished learning how to do my own thing yet. There is no one threatening me.
(I’m very lucky this way. I realize some folks are not so lucky, and do have someone threatening them, and have far more difficult things to deal with than just basic people-pleasing urges. But then, I did choose this love as wisely as I could, after choosing perhaps not-so-wisely in the past. If you are in a truly threatening relationship situation, my inexpert but experienced advice would be to remove yourself completely from it as soon as possible. And remember this: It’s not only for your own good but for his/hers as well. And if you have children, it’s pretty much imperative, for their sakes.)
If I don’t get up early enough on weekends to write, it’s because I don’t want to leave my heated mattress pad and find a chillier corner to be on my own. Or because I feel self-conscious typing in the bed beside him (even though he’s said he wouldn’t mind).
If I can’t get all my organizational tasks done when he’s home? It’s because I ALLOW his agenda to interfere with mine. I can also just say what I want to do (whether that includes the kids or not) and just get on with it, without further discussion. I’ve tried this in the past and it works like a charm.
Fellow people-pleasers, you will be so surprised if you just make up your mind about something, and quietly carry that out, no ifs ands or buts about it. Honestly people really don’t mind or care that much, once they see your mind’s made up. This includes your decision to not drink even if others don’t see you as alcoholic.
My husband and I both started our relationship coming from the place of being eldest siblings, both used to a lot of responsibility, both wanting to drive the relationship but wanting zero responsibility in terms of making choices about simple things, because our sense of responsibility had probably driven us up the wall. I had to learn that if I ever wanted to truly have my way, I was going to actually KNOW WHAT I WANTED FIRST and then I would have to say, “I’m doing this,” and not wait for my spouse’s approval. So many good things happen when I remember this.
But, it takes constant self-reminding and relearning.
So much of the way I operate by default is based in fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Mini-mares: I had some more of these last night. Of course my blaming mind would think it so easy to think that it’s a correlation of having my husband home again. Poor guy. He’s my scapegoat for everything. But the last time I had mini-mares it was the day before he arrived home again. And even if there is a correlation, I believe it lies with the fact that I do get stressed out when he comes home. Which is only natural.
As any parent will know, if they have ever parented singly as well as co-parented, there are pros and cons to both.
I haven’t been technically single since getting married, but I have parented “singly” for intermittent periods while my husband is away working overseas. That said, it’s not truly “singly” because he is in fact always there for us, in case of emergency. He is still an intimate part of the family unit, also still on call for any car troubles and so on.
As a singly-operating parent, there’s a lot to manage, especially if you have amassed the average middle-class amount of stuff. Property maintenance, vehicle maintenance, chopping firewood, paying bills, whatever… it’s a lot. Of course, if you have less or more than the average amount of stuff, there are usually other troubles to manage as well. Bottom line, it’s just you who has to manage all that, on top of caring for these amazing dependent beings you’ve brought into the world, and helping them go down the best path possible, when you’re a singly-operating parent.
But as a singly-operating parent, there are also some perks. There is only one person captaining the ship, when the other parent’s not on board. You don’t have someone else’s agenda interfering. You decide no devices for the kids on school nights? It’s no devices for the kids on school nights. You decide it’s freezer food for dinner? No one to complain (and the kids are thrilled).
Unless and until, however, they go to the ex’s house, if there is an ex. That’s a whole other ball of wax. Plus the ball of wax that comes with whomever the ex is in a relationship with. I’ve seen this up close and personal with divorced/separated friends.
Anyway. It’s normal that I feel stressed out when my husband comes home I guess. I feel like I’m just getting into a rhythm of semi-single parenting, and then it all gets thrown off.
But without him my life would just be different. Maybe not better, not worse, just different. And for the kids though, well, it would also be different. They love their dad a lot. Even if he’s a bit of an ape. Or maybe because he’s a bit of an ape. (Actually a rather lot of an ape.)
So my life with the co-chief gorilla in the house has got to be managed by me, somehow. My happiness is not his responsibility. My decision to drink or not drink is not his responsibility. And his opinion does not have to be my decision.
Oh right, the mini-mares. A bit dark again, here but I want to document them for my own records.
The first mini-mare was taking place at a counter, like a coat-check in a lounge bar or maybe a book-selling table or I don’t quite remember what. But there was a man working behind it who was a famous comedian, looking a bit like Jack Black. I did not notice or think about it much until he began to flirt with me. Then he licked the back of a ripped piece of notepaper and put it face down on an envelope. He said “there you go,” as if it were a precious gift that I should treasure, having the saliva of a famous person (sort of like the napkin of Leonard Nimoy that Penny bought for Sheldon off eBay, in the Big Bang Theory). At first I was befuddled and slightly repulsed, but then I said, thinking yes I guess it could bring in some cash, oh well thanks, maybe you could sign it then as well, please? Which caused a change of heart for the famous comedian, he now became befuddled and slightly repulsed, and took it back. Why was this so nightmarish instead of just obviously ridiculous? I can’t remember, but there was some huge, dark feeling all around it.
In the second mini-mare, I went to use the toilet and opened the door and the door pushed back a little when it got near the wall — like there was someone hiding, lying in wait behind it. I backed out and then my husband (in the dream) went and had the same experience, and oddly, he seemed a little afraid as well. (I say “oddly” because in real life he once bounded out of bed stark naked to confront an intruder, when we heard a window break at the bottom of our rented building in the middle of the night.)
Sadly I don’t remember the third mini-mare… because I didn’t get out of bed right away to write them all down. But I here I am back in the bedroom, with the door locked, making time later…
Wow, I did not mean this to be a 1600-word post… kudos to any of you still reading…
What’s my point?… Where’s the rainbow?
Oh, right. I was thinking of what a huge mess my writing had become… I have about six other places were my writing has begun to amass online, plus about six journals on my Mac, it’s crazy… I don’t like mess. But the minute I became okay with mess, I became able to write freely; and the minute I became okay with writing freely, I began to discover who I really was, and what I really wanted… so my advice to you (as it has been on all my blogs) would be to write, write and write some more, just freely, for yourself, even, or more especially perhaps, if you don’t hit publish.
Also, the rainbow is that I went and looked at some old blogs that I did not publish, because I was afraid they were not good enough… and yet, I now see that they were good enough. Not great, perhaps, but they really were good enough… so my other piece of advice is to know that you are good enough, just as you are. (It’s strange advice to give, from a person who right here now, feels that this writing is not good enough….)
These periods of “becoming okay with mess” come and go in my life. But one thing I have consistently noticed is that they seem to go hand in had with rampant creativity…. and… sobriety.
Continuing thus to party sober, and be sort of okay with (creative) mess,
with love from
one sober-Saturday-morning-lover, at the sobriety tree.
Post image: a forest rainbow in the messy undergrowth. By Nandhu Kumar via Pexels.com
Thank you for being here and reading, and thank you so much for all of your support, it really means a lot to me ❤︎