So, this happened:
After 8 years, we’re officially engaged. I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. ❤
I have a desperate desire to travel right now. Sigh. Someone buy me a plane ticket?
1. “I don’t know why I thought it was all right or necessary to say what I said the way that I did. It’s not that I wasn’t speaking from the heart, per say, but more so that I was speaking without any heart at all.”
2. “But it isn’t so easy as that. I meant what I said, but I don’t think I meant it for you. I think I meant it for me, and used you, as I often do, as the unfortunate sounding board for my own insecurities and distaste for myself. Sometimes I get wrapped up in numbers, in goals, in comparison, in what’s “normal” and “right” and what’s “supposed to happen.” I spent so much of my life unconventionally, as you quite accurately put it, that when I was in the thick of it, I could do nothing else but think of my escape. And my escape would only come with the future, my future, any god damn future, and I ignorantly and naively sought to confine that future to a set of predetermined goal posts, thinking that: I will ________ when I’m 22. Be ___________ by 24. _______by 25. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But that’s just the thing, and you told me this, I can’t control the numbers. I never could.“
3. “And then she told me, ‘I thought I could make myself be happy through the external factors of my life, never once stopping to consider that the unhappiness was in fact, totally internal.’ I was unsure of what to say. To agree would be to validate that she was somehow in complete control of her sadness, which I don’t believe. But to disagree is to take the fall. I wanted to just… gree. And it was impossible.”
4. “Logically, this makes no sense. I am a successful, smart, handsome, funny, talented man who is young enough to not be worrying about tomorrow. I have no reason at all to be concerned with my life, or its course, or where it is at present. I have a beautiful girlfriend who, for some unknown reason, completely adores me. My parents are healthy. My sister is finally home. I have friends who love me, coworkers who depend on me, and a pretty damn good life overall. I have no right, no right, no right, to cry or complain or even think that anything at all is wrong. Especially if I’m not going to do something to “fix” what isn’t even broken.”
5. “Don’t you see the correlation, darling? Every insecurity I have about myself—that I’m taking too long to become who I’m supposed to be, that I won’t succeed, that I’ll struggle financially for the rest of my life, that no one gives me credit for all of the work that I do, that I’m not doing what I should be doing—I project it onto you. And my god, I am so, so sorry. So incredibly sorry. For someone that claims to want fair treatment, I’m doing an awful job of giving it to the one person who has quite literally never turned their back on me no matter what horrible things I’ve done.”
6. “The facts of the matter: I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re fine. We’ve been fine, more than fine, and getting better as the years pass. I fall more in love with you every day. Every time you talk to me. Every time I look at your picture or your face or feel your skin and hands and lips and everything else. Hear you laugh. Watch you eat. Watch you look at me when you think I can’t see you. I love how quietly you exist, like a good luck charm that you keep in your pocket and touch when you’re scared. I love the way your eyes light up when you talk about music, the way you turn down the corner of your mouth when you’re concentrating really hard, the way you smile when you’re laughing so hard you’re about to cry. I love your ‘trying not to laugh’ face, your teeth, your ears, your neck, your arms, your voice. When I make you smile I nearly burst from excitement, no joke—I am that much of a nerd for you. I love the way you bury your face in my hair, when you close your eyes and inhale and make a little satisfied sound… I love belonging to you. I love being with you. I’m so proud of you, your talent, your knowledge, your humor, your determination, your passion, your ability to risk judgment and normalcy for what you love. These are the things I should be telling you, every day, every minute. That I adore you and want you, just as you are, perfect and wonderful, forever. That you astound me, every day, by being just who you are. And I don’t tell you. I’ve failed you, because I’ve failed to realize what I was doing—hurting you to hurt myself. I’ve failed us.”
7. “It’s been weeks since I’ve felt right, or been able to focus. Maybe that has nothing to do with anything, or maybe it has everything to do with it. I just don’t know. I guess I’m apologizing in the hopes that you’ll gain some insight into why I am the way that I am. So that you’ll know I’m just a personal-problem-projecting bastard, and may always be that way. So that you have the option to decide if you love me in spite of that. God I hope you do. Because love is not even strong enough a word to describe the way I feel about you. How much I need you. How I really don’t think it’d be worth it if you weren’t here to share it with me.”
8. “I believe I’ve gone on for long enough.”
Suppose you had something so valuable, so important, so completely irreplaceable, that you were anxious, each day as you came home, to see that it was still there. Still safe. Still yours. Let’s just say it was… an antique mirror.
And what if, one day, you noticed a tiny, hairline crack in the surface of the glass? You would panic. How do you know if it’s merely cracked and can be repaired, or if it’s indefinitely broken and irreversibly ruined? And if it is just a crack, what if you can’t fix it? You have no experience fixing cracks in glass, and on top of that, the insinuation of bad luck makes your heart palpitate. You might try to fix it, because you can’t just let it sit there, this beautiful thing, and be…ignored.
But even after you’ve tried the tape, the glue, powders, paint, anything you can think of…nothing works. There doesn’t appear to be anything left. No one else even notices the nearly gossamer line, but it starts to become the only thing you see when you look at this precious possession. So, what to do? Do you leave it damaged and continue to use it, knowing full well that you’re just making it worse? Just increasing the possibility that the crack will become a full-blown break? That the break could blossom into shattered?
Or do you give up? Stop using it, but because you just can’t bring yourself to throw it out, turn the damaged side down and pray that no one ever asks to handle it?
Eventually, you will look into that marred glass again and start to see the break in your own reflection, as a part of you, and not the mirror. You’ll question how this happened, how this could have possibly happened when you’ve been so careful, so diligent. When you cared so much.
And when you can’t answer that question, where do you go? Where can you go?
“So be it, I’m your crowbar
If that’s what I am so far
Until you get out of this mess
And I will pretend
That I don’t know of your sins
Until you are ready to confess
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know.”
It’s true that my environment has the strongest influence on me out of anything. On my mind, my wants, wishes, goals, dreams, and direction. It isn’t that I fail to hold tight to those things truly dear to me; it’s that there are very few things in the world that are, in fact, truly dear. I never allow my end goal to deviate me from the path I am wandering, because I absolutely believe that wandering aimlessly is sometimes the only way of finding the path towards that end. And for anyone who knows me, they know it is rare that something be steadfast in my life. The surrounding elements of my existence change constantly, save for one or two truly special components. I rarely care about objects, because they are so easily lost. People, especially lately, have come and gone through my life at an accelerating speed, so much so that I’ve stopped trying to figure out the why and am focusing on the effect, the lesson, the use as it pertains to me. That being said, there are some core elements of how I want my life to be that are so important to me– so vital– that they are less a goal/ desire/ dream and more an unchangeable happening. They will happen, I know they will happen, and there is no alternate. No ‘if.’ No maybe.
It is an altercation, between myself and someone I would gladly rip my own arm off for if they needed it, regarding one of those fundamental things, that lead me here.
I am not, by any means, the housefrau-in-training that many girls I grew up with have turned out to be. Believe me when I say, good for them!, supposing that is what they wanted. Being a mother, a wife, a woman– none of these things, standing alone or combined, deserves anything less than the utmost respect for a person who does them well. I, however, am not ready, right-this-goddamn-second, to be married (legal! Paperwork!) or have babies (diapers! Incessant crying! Not being able to drink three glasses of wine without being called irresponsible! Gah!). I am barely learning to understand myself, and with my career slowly but surely blossoming into something tangible, it is enough, to be where I am, right now, just being. Living by the beach, in love with a nice boy, with a small, well-defined set of confidantes. It’s more than I could have hoped for, coming from a background that taught me that lies, anger, deceit and selfishness were the only ways of life, the only tools for survival here in this society. Teachings that, thankfully, turned out to be complete bullshit.
On a supporting note, I am a nester. I have always been. I am not happy when I don’t have a partner in crime and/ or a lover. I like my couch. I am devoted, often to a fault, to the people I truly love– so much so that you are not separate from me when you stumble into one of these labels, but you blend, word by word and action by action, into me. Obviously this makes it difficult for you to extract yourself, or for me to let you go. I am not good at letting go, although I will always pretend to be. I enjoy the push-pull of relationships, and find a great deal of comfort in knowing that I need someone, and that they need me, too. It’s validating, and usually, I bask in the joy of all that responsibility…it makes me feel useful, and I do love to be useful. All of this is leading me to the following revelation, which is, of course, not a revelation at all:
I want to be a mother.
(note that I did not say tomorrow.)
This is one of those things. Those imperative, indispensable, fixed elements of the future of my life. This simple and natural want, true for millions I’m sure, is as obvious to anyone who knows me well as it is to those who meet me once. I radiate it. That motherly…ness. That instinct, that attitude of fixer, protector, counselor, listener, cure-all, unconditional lover. It isn’t something I do consciously, either. It just is.
Because it is so obvious, so totally *duh* moment-clear, I wouldn’t think I would have to explain myself. I also don’t think that because it IS, that this makes me “obsessed with marriage and babies.” To have someone who does know me, who knows me so well it’s almost disgusting, tell me that not only am I obsessed with housewifery/ baby factory activities, but I simultaneously manage to only mention my desire “when I see that another one of my friends is doing it” is not only hypocritical as hell but SO. TOTALLY. INSULTING. On so many levels. How condescending, how ignorant to assume my desire is not internal but external, that I am nothing but a reeking sponge of my tiny world. To assume that, influenced as I may be by circumstance, that it is circumstance alone that dictates my direction. The heat that rose to my face, the abject fury I felt at hearing this made me do, instinctually, what I strive so hard not to do: use my wit and words to hit the attacker back with such a low insult that the guilt is immediate and vertigo-inducing. I had to grab ahold of the counter to stay upright.
I was stating the obvious (I want to have children ONE DAY).
You are already aware of the obvious (this is why it is called obvious).
I was not asking you to comment on or participate in said statement, save for giving me your own opinion on your own feelings of the matter, as it would relate to your own life. (what can I say, I guess I’m curious.)
We also know that it is not, in fact, even a slightly fair or appropriate thing to say to me– a woman who has been proposed to, who has been pregnant, and who refused both for the sake of her career, her life, her truth, and her inability to do either thing the way that she saw fit. Your own insecurities and fears do not belong to me, and projecting them on to me for the sake of an argument, for the sake of belittling me, attempting to dice my integrity or shit on what’s important to me, is a very dangerous game for you to play. I have much more venom in my tongue than I’ve ever shown to anyone. Yet.
Clearly, I am still rattled and angry. I am deathly sick of the general assumption that a woman cannot want both the instinctual and the achievable synchronously. Or that saying “I want to have kids someday” equates with “I WANT A BABY IN MY WOMB THIS INSTANT.” FYI, it absolutely doesn’t. I think it perfectly normal to ponder the things you expect in the future, days, years, and even seconds before they occur. It’s the only way we land upon what we really want. I can, in fact, desire to be a mother and desire to be a successful corporate editor. By that same token, wanting to have a lucrative career because I grew up so poor that my Christmas ornaments were discarded earrings hooked to a traffic cone does not make me “obsessed with money.” I know, without a doubt, that one thing will never eclipse the other thing on that fateful day that the things, whatever they are, become my juggling act. Balance is my forte. I may change certain opinions and certain desires, and my paths may twist and break and falter, but I promise you this:
My integrity is immobile. My choices? Solid. I have never been given anything that I didn’t work for. If you choose to pass off my emotions as nothing more than fluff, know that I know you’re afraid of the truth that emotion represents. If you think you have a right to judge me for my ambitions, know that I know it’s nothing more than your own jealousy/ envy/ insecurity talking. And for you to defend yourself does nothing more than solidify my belief in that. I don’t expect you to admit it, mostly because I know you can’t. I don’t need to forgive you, either, because it would be false (I’m sensitive that way), nor do I need to seek revenge– you’ll stew in the chaos it breeds quite enough for punishment’s sake. I know I will be all right.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for you.