Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Do


I married Mr. Curry on the beach you see us standing on above, La Jolla. A gorgeous wedding, perfected by the great wedding planner Nature, and her ocean roar, sun glimmer, sand dune backdrop, sweeping blue sky, enroaching sunset and shore of winking diamonds. I carried in my hand a pastel bouquet of flowers from my Mother's backyard garden, my dream bouquet, absolutely gorgeous and lush and fragrant. We married for the wrong reasons, probably, we were in love, but we were also harried: life had been very hard for both of us, and in our excitement in finding that a best friendship had turned into passionate love, we rushed into each other's sanctuary without practical life stability. Ha! Anyone who knows me knows I have never had practical life stability, so perhaps waiting for it to marry wouldn't have helped sturdy the boat at all. We married into the eye of the storm. We made love every day. We laughed with the intensity of those who are slipping and know the fall is going to be more painful than pratfall.

Days slipped by easily, Mr. Curry and I on our king sized bed lain on the floor, Lola the baby in between us, sleeping, as we watched The Sopranos. Mr. Curry and I making love on the orange carpet next to the bed with the sleeping baby as rain sluiced the windowpanes. Mr. Curry and I listening to Tom Petty, dancing with the boys. Mr. Curry wrestling with the boys on Friday Night Family Night ( which we still do ). Mr. Curry and I at Rubios with the three kids, Mr. C putting the " Shrimp Burrito " sticker on toddler Lola's shirt, every time. I have one in her baby book. Meanwhile, life moved swiftly. Mr. Curry built and lost his business, and my mystery illness began, with it, the chronic pain and fear as a diagnosis eluded me. We entered into medical debt that has bankrupted me, after three surgeries and countless tests and treatments.
We struggled with blended family issues, and family of origin issues. We struggled with personal issues, the ones that threatened to disguise who we were, and who we were meant to be.

It all could have ended there.

Marriage is a hot commodity in this time, bandied about in the media, debated and discussed vehemently in books and essays, it's very existence called into question: is marriage even relevant these days? Statistics are picked apart: men fair better than women in marriage, they 'get more out of the deal' and live happier and longer in marriages, while women are more stressed and encumbered by the unequal and overwhelming amount of domestic duties we take on. Divorce erupts as a pulse for our domestic heartbeat: Why do we marry, why do we divorce? Should less people get divorced? Should more people get divorced? Does divorce destroy children? Does divorce leave us empowered, or adrift? Is marriage a setup for misery in a society plump and silicone filled with sexual opportunities? Why fight for marriage, anyway?

I fight for mine. This is why.

After my first surgery, I could not urinate for two days. Finally, I felt a trickle threaten. I could make it to the bathroom, but barely, and once there, could pee, but all over the toilet, the floor. Except for Mr. Curry. He walked/carried me half naked to the bathroom. He sat me gently on the toilet, and rubbed my back as I leaned forward, moaning softly. He did this many times, all day long, and many times at night, when I woke him for help. I woke in darkness, in pain, a little confused and afraid. I could not think where the light switch was. I was heavily drugged. I said his name. I felt his hand on my arm, steadying me, and then a light switched on, and there was dark in the perimeter all around us, in the silence and the quiet mustiness a room builds. I had two more surgeries after this. The last surgery, we flew to San Jose because I had found a specialist. We flew for a consult, flew back, and then flew again, for the actual surgery. We waited a day, I had surgery. Waking, I was told I needed another immediate surgery. So I had the next operation. After two days, it was time to fly home. Only. I was terrified to fly. The anxiety and stress caught up with me, and I felt the grip of cold panic every time I pictured flying, again. I told Mr. Curry. And he drove me home. He drove for hours and hours and hours- after taking care of me, drove me home, to care for me more.

It is not that you cannot receive this kind of unconditional love if you are not married. It is that there is something about the human being that craves symbol and ritual and statements of purposeful intention. There is something about me. And there is something about the ritual and intention of marriage that helps me to stay longer, dig deeper, look harder, love fiercer and grow larger. The 'we' that Mr. Curry and I became when we married is almost a thing of itself, separate from me, or him, it is the 'higher power' of our union, the connective force that is comprised of past, present, future, goals, dreams, promises, our children, our parenting, our larger families, our community, our sex life, our mutual friendships, our animals, our shared and common goal to have a life witness, who loves. When I fail to find what is necessary to work through the hard times inside myself, I reach for this ideal 'marriage'- and I find it there. When who I am is not strong enough or smart enough, I fall into the connective tissue of marriage; let it hold me while I figure things out. Watching the media portray an ideal as a joke sours me. It's not a joke, or an impossibility. Because it is not possible, or desirable for everyone does not make it worthless. If ( knock on my heart ) Mr. Curry and I should ever divorce, I still won't think it so.

I desire the work of marriage. This is why.

I am deeply flawed. I had a terrifically painful childhood that left scars and brought me to the brink of complete despair, before I began the long labor of birthing myself back into the world. Mr. Curry has a similar yet simultaneously wildly different story. We are not shining examples of human beings with glorious souls ablaze in beauty. We are human beings who have momentary states of grace, but often reveal with startling brutality our faults, our weakness. Walking this road of healing with Mr. Curry is an honor. Seriously. To see that deeply into a person- to be allowed to see- and to have them see you as well this way, all fucked up and ugly and small, and to still be loved? That- that is healing. That is healing that only love can do. Where I cannot love, where I find myself flailing at Mr. Curry in anger or in bitterness, finding walls where there could be openess, this is where I am feeling with my hands the very limits of my own heart. That is where my work begins.

I desire the benefits of marriage. This is why.

When I am angry at Mr. Curry, if I am hurt, I might want to hold back, to not reach out, to hold him, touch him, make an motion, physical or emotional, in his direction. I often think to myself " We're married. I'm not going to divorce him, so I might as well love him. " When leaving does not feel like an option, the small and large decisions err on the side of love.

My mother left my father. I celebrate this. She needed to, absolutely. I would never change the freedom that divorce gives to people to claim the right to their own life, their own happiness, myself included. I would not stay married year after year after year if no hope was present, or if abuse of any kind, including emotional, was present. It takes two people willing to love and to change to make a marriage a living, breathing entity, worthy soil for planting two human beings.

Mr. Curry and I both hope for our children a kind of marriage we were not able to have- one that is possible, a marriage begun in joy by two people who can communicate well, love well, who know each other and who have a strong and solid foundation as individuals to base a union on. We are having a reverse osmosis marriage, one that is growing stronger, more meaningful, more joyful, more innocent as the years go on, a Benjamin Bunny marriage, where we began beaten and battered, and are growing younger and stronger and lighter every year that passes.

The weights we carry are heavy ones, serious and intimidating in their enormity and complexity. We have had very hard and lonely patches in our marriage and we will again, for reasons I discuss here and one that I do not. I make lists in my mind and jot them in my journal. These lists are the fruits of our labors, and mawwage is the weason we are gathad here today. ;)

My wife is immature. Whenever I take a bath, she sinks my boats. -Woody Allen

Annabelle said...

Oh that was beautifully written... part of it made me cry and the end made me hopeful and happy.. You sound as if you've had a tough life - but "MR Curry" sounds like he couldn't be any sweeter (carrying you to the bathroom) not many men would do that. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing such touching thoughts.

sarasophia said...

"We are having a reverse osmosis marriage, one that is growing stronger, more meaningful, more joyful, more innocent as the years go on, a Benjamin Bunny marriage, where we began beaten and battered, and are growing younger and stronger and lighter every year that passes."

I see myself in this.

Oh the depths you reach Maggie May.

<3 Sara

Alix said...

It's 4:58 am. I've been awake since 1:45am with a very loudly snoring husband next to me.

This happens frequently, so I keep my laptop at the ready and peruse my favorite blogs while he snores.

Usually I'm annoyed, but not after reading this post. In fact, as soon as I comment, I'm emailing him a link to this beautiful piece because it reminds me so much of us and our story and our marriage.

Thank you truly and sincerely for the masterful painting of such a personal life portrait.

maybenextweek said...

Such a wonderful post, Maggie May! I hope someday to find a man with whom I can have a relationship as deep and strong and beautiful as yours.
xo Francesca

Lydia said...

Whew! Another amazing post. This one came on the heels of my having read my journal entries around the time my husband and I struggled to find our way to one another. As I read them last night my stomach churned because I've actually forgotten some (not all) of the shit those days threw at us. I don't like looking back at it, but having done so I marvel that we are we 14 years later. Your phrase "reverse osmosis marriage" makes such sense in our case also. Thanks for doing the deep scratching and heavy lifting to help me see bits of my marriage in your words.

la fille vanille said...

LOVE your words about marriage - so true...

AlpHa Buttonpusher said...

One of the best descriptions of marriage ever!

saracita said...

Very insightful. Your thoughts on relationships are very encouraging to me right now. "When leaving does not feel like an option, the small and large decisions err on the side of love" ... rang very true to me.

starrlife said...

Oh Maggie May- you give me hope for me... thank you.
And I'm happy for you that the worst seems to be over? More hope....

Ms. Moon said...

This is everything I would expect from you. The words, the insights, the poetry of grief and pain and healing and trying and the staying. The staying.

Courtney said...

"When who I am is not strong enough or smart enough, I fall into the connective tissue of marriage".....This sentence comforts me.

You are lovely.

Bee said...

Sometimes, when you describe the tender, caring ways that Mr. Curry loves you, I think that you are enormously lucky, Maggie. Despite all of your hard burdens. Despite the fact that I have been married long enough (16 years tomorrow; almost broke down at 9) to know that a good marriage is never given, but earned every day. It really is a conscious choice sometimes: to go on loving and showing love.

Beautiful writing. It brought tears to my eyes.

Brigindo said...

What a beautiful portrait of a marriage. I love being married--for all the hard work. I even loved it the first time around when I married the wrong person. Marrying your best friend is a gift. While marriage may be symbolism, symbols are important to us. It makes me crazy not everyone is allowed this symbol.

Petit fleur said...

I loved this. You described many parts of my marriage in there. Although I could never express it or perhaps identify it in the wonderful way that you do, it's there. And reading your words is soothing, just knowing that there are others trying, really trying.

Ah, I wuv the whole marrwage thing too! Classic.
Love you Maggie,
xo pf

Johanna said...

I love the part about your reverse osmosis marriage too. It reminds me that certain missteps or mistakes are able to strengthen a relationship, if you let them. I think it's all about attitude, and that's something I need to work on. You always manage to inspire me. :)

Kirie said...

Your have an beautiful range of writing, of insight. This post is stunning. I know I will hear snippets of it running through my head later as I go about my day. What a lovely gift you give to the world with your writing.

Evangeline said...

That was IT. You nailed it. So beautifully written!

Am sending the link to my husband right now.

just making my way said...

It always moves me when you write about marriage because there is so much truth in what you say. It is not a fairy tale, it is not perfect. In fact it is often messy and painful. But I agree with you - it is worth it.

xoxo

Petunia Face said...

Yours is a great love story full of sand and salt.

Brandi said...

This is such a beautiful post. I think today it is sometimes hard to believe in marriage. I still do. I think two people can define the meaning of marriage for themselves. Your post gives me so much hope for my future.

krista said...

tihs was beautiful. and such an honest testament to a life chosen together.
i, personally, do not hold any kind of reverence for marriage (for myself, that is) and actually being married would not make me work any harder in my relationship than not. more than anything else, i wonder why that is. i suppose it's because marriage has always felt to me like it takes the choice out of it.
funny, right? growing up and watching the horrible marriages around me, all i saw was the fact that no one had a choice. they were stuck. and i vowed i would never put myself in that position. ever. i don't believe in happily ever after and i cannot say that i would stand by my man's side no matter what. i can list five things off the top of my head that he could do that would make me leave.
yet, every morning i wake up and choose him. i choose love. and i fight to make it work. because i don't feel like i have to. it's my choice to do so.
blah blah blah.
i hope you don't take this as disrespecting your post at all. it's beautiful to read a perspective on marriage that fits what mine would look like if i ever chose that fork in the road.
it's always beautiful to read your perspective, period.

Annie K said...

Hi Maggie,
Thank you for this post. You brought tears to my eyes, happy tears, nostalgic tears. Your post is beautifully named, eloquently written, and authentic. You inspire me to work harder, to not let the love slip away.

Becca said...

Wow! I love to read the words you write. You give life to them.
What a beautiful relationship you share with your husband.
There is a lot I can learn from you.

KC said...

Absolutely beautiful!

anna said...

I hear you on the reverse osmosis marriage, and the ritual intention. We are a couple who 'shouldn't'have survived, and we are still going strong 12 yrs on. Even though we barely knew each other, our souls spoke those vows. And ditto to Bee's comment our marriage is earned every day. Yet again Maggie, you speak your truth and so many of us say ,me too! we are not alone!

Mwa said...

"We're married. I'm not going to divorce him, so I might as well love him." - In tough times, I often try to "love my way out of it" - I find it hard, but it's harder going if I don't.

Kay said...

is it luck? cause i see you as lucky, to have found the person to share life with, to embrace having someone to grow old with...

is it lucky, i ask again? cause i think you are blessed and lucky.

That one girl said...

I love this.

Simply Mel said...

There is something beyond magical about your words and deep desire for marriage, and I couldn't agree with you more. It is a sacred bond, and one that I take very seriously. The reverse osmosis statement is the exact key to everlasting love (in my opinion) because so many grow beyond the 'we', but the goal is to grow more intimately, joyful, and stronger. Maybe you and Mr. Curry should be the poster 'kids' for marriage because people need to realize that beyond the 'fun and games' it is a serious matter that demands and deserves a joint and loving effort when times are tough and living daily life is just damn hard!

Laura Lee said...

Indeed, Miss Maggie May. Must say this describes my marriage just to the 'T' - eleven years.

Maybe he got tired of my ailments.
Maybe he needed time to be interested in his own. He never had any. But does a nonsmoker have any less right to take a break?

He l e f t. He has regretted it ever since, for all the things you have described, for the "us" that was made beyond him, beyond me, when we stood 'gathad together.'

PalagiGirl said...

Beautiful

Elizabeth Bradley said...

You life mirrors mine. I will never divorce my husband. And I won't apologize to anyone for having a marriage that works. This post should be published. You wrote something so powerful, I can hardly find the words to convey what reading this meant to me. Thank you.

Annje said...

This is one of the most beautiful odes to marriage I have read. I am not so much into the symbols of a wedding per se, but the "statement of purposeful intention" that is marriage--absolutely. I love how you worded that--it is exactly what marriage is.

SJ said...

My god -this was breathtaking. You are breathtaking! I am so glad you and Mr Curry seem to have found your way back to each other, and that you found your way to each other to begin with. This, in its truth and honesty, gives me hope.

nfmgirl said...

Beautiful, as always. BTW, I posted a link to this post from my facebook page, and my mother read it and loved it. She described your writing as "soft, feathery and fearsome", which I thought was a very apropos description!

La Belette Rouge said...

Marriage is part PhD and part spiritual and psychological boot camp. I am so grateful for the person I have become because of marrying my weasel. I am more grateful that he loved me as he did before I changed.

Beautiful and thought provoking post. You, Maggie,are a gorgeous and honest writer.

katiecrackernuts said...

Sounds good. Feels solid - but not too solid, there's fluidity. I like it.

Maggie May said...

The heartfelt replies I get back after opening my own heart up are the reason I blog. Thank you for connecting! It makes life bearable, even joyful, tender.

Field Notes said...

Eloquent and honest. My first visit here and I want to read more.

I'm an endometriosis 'survivor' too.

Without my husband, I would not have coped with it as well I have.

Gaby said...

I just found your blog. . .i loved it!
Incredibly beautifully written!
i laughed & cried.
love Gab

Barrie said...

I think the two of you are very brave and very right for each other. Also...thank you for the kind words about Flo.

Miss Grace said...

You're in my thoughts sweet Maggie May

Heidi said...

beautiful words, raw and honest. lovely. thank you. hx p.s. love the princess bride too!

Pris said...

Your story of your marriage is beautiful! It's amazing when two people can find a way to make something so beautiful in the beginning last.

I wish you would read my book Sea Trails...and not to seem like I'm pushing it at all. It's a poetry/prose memoir about a trip down the East Coast with a man I once thought would be my Mr. Curry. It fell apart on that trip. I write in poetry and prose about it. If interested, you can find it in the sidebar on my blog. This man was the love of my life. He decided what we had wasn't enough. When one decides that, to go on his impossible. When two decide it's a go, anything is possible!

Phoenix said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, honest, beautiful.

britteny said...

wow. that was amazing.

you are truly gifted. but more importantly, i loved the message here. you are right about true love and you are so so blessed to have it. good for you guys for not giving up an letting the stress of life tear you apart from what is clearly, something to treasure

Jane said...

"To see that deeply into a person- to be allowed to see- and to have them see you as well this way, all fucked up and ugly and small, and to still be loved? That- that is healing."

I have known this, and it is one of the most powerful -- as in that-close-to-a-living-god -- paths to healing.

I am not married, and it would be illegal for me in most states, but if I were I think I'd feel ver similar to the way you do. I'm just not sure I could express it so tenderly.

Jeanne said...

After two failed attempts and one that has 12 and 1/2 years of success so far, I've come to suspect that staying married is as much about commitment to the idea as it is to the person -- on both sides of the marriage.

Sounds like you've both figured that out, so congratulations! Someday I hope to read your 50th wedding anniversary post.

magnoliaamber said...

You are always so daring, Maggie.
I love your blog more than ever.
I have been thinking about the idea of remained unmarried for I am too afraid to be hurt again. And reading such turbulent just reminds me that nothing is perfect. Yet spending the rest of your life with somebody you love, through the up and down of the days...I think is what makes it's worthwhile.
Thanks, Maggie, thanks for sharing...
Your imperfectness are shredded by your honesty and through that you shine:)

julochka said...

life is hard. marriage is hard. this is beautiful and raw and real, like always. i hope you're ok!!!

hugs from across the atlantic.
/j

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

This is an extremely beautiful piece of writing! I loved it so much. Ironically enough, a group of friends at my bookclub and I were having a conversation about marriage and how its work, etc the night before I read this. After I read it, I forwarded it to all my friends and they were 1) blown away by your writing and 2) thought it was absolutely beautifully articulated.

Jenn said...

The more I read your words the more I think, damn, she is one amazing person. The more I hear about you & Mr Curry the more I think, damn he is one amazing person. This solidified everything about who you both are and how through each of your imperfections you are able to weave a perfect union. This is simply beautiful :-]

chella said...

so when he carried you to the toliet & you finally peed, i cried and cried, remembering when ted would drain my tubes after my masectomy, six times a day. your structure is lovely: I desire the work of marriage. This is why. I desire the benefits of marriage. This is why...
thank you for reminding me of better & worse.

Irish Gumbo said...

Maggie...thishurstbeautifulsostopdontnodontstoptellingthesestories...

I knew this once, but the silver cord that brought us together, alas, could not survive the starins the Universe and ourselves put on it, and it snapped...a sad, but necessary thing.

You have extracted a diamond from a withered heart and held it to the light...beautiful, and thank you, thank you...

Peace,
IG

Lacey said...

I know I tell you this all the time... it almost makes me feel bad that it could lose it's intended meaning if said too often. You are SUCH a talented writer, and this was so beautifully worded. So much of what you wrote here struck home with me... my beloved and I are not married, but for almost five years we've shared a bond of having both come from very turbulent childhoods... I think that even though we both suck at commitment, that in itself has led us to be more committed to each other than most "normal" people probably are, ha. And we fight hard for our relationship... Sometimes simultaneously, sometimes separately. Relationships are so intriguing, don't you think?

Darcy said...

absolutely beautiful.

Kim Ayres said...

Marriage is easy when times are good, but it's how we cope together during the really shitty extreme times that decides whether it will last. Fortunately for me, all the crap life throws at us has only made my Maggie and me grow stronger and more entwined :)

Greenfingers said...

Wow! I'm so, so glad that everything is working out and getting better for you Maggie.

Lets face it, life can be shit at times but we're often at our happiest when making the best out of what it is that we have and when we know how far we can go, because without it the alternative is nothing but new lessons which will just leave us feeling like 'being here before..shit!' Take care.

Robin said...

this is beautiful maggie.

tearful dishwasher said...

Maggie-

This is the marrow.

This is what you crack the bones to get at.

This is the sweet meat.


Bless you for having done the hard work, the both of you.


It is a rare thing and worth every cost to keep.


yrs-

tearful

Woman in a Window said...

Yours is a painfully beautiful marriage, the stuff of movies and books and poetry, the stuff of Sunday afternoon longings on the couch. It IS a state of mind, as well, and your mind is its garden. Sow, Maggie Mae, sow. (and reap as you go.)
xo
erin

Home Girl said...

lovely to hear from you on my blog. popping in on yours is always rewarding, you are so beautiful and soulful. i love the way u have taken your unimaginable hardship and turned it into something that inspires so many people. love your kid's names too - think you will like the one i have instore for my next possum - stay tunned xx

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Maggie,
This is so beautiful and such a mature post. Wow. I am blown away again.

Love,

SB

kimber p said...

what a breathtaking look into your union.... thank you for this :)

Kristin Dodge said...

Beautiful words - and a truly heartening vision that you and he are so dedicated to each other and your growth together.

Now I have something in my eye...

Bethany said...

This is the why and the how of it all isn't it? You put to words what I have only felt deep down. The story of Mr. Curry caring for you so tenderly is lovely and testimony of how we deserve to be loved and cared for. Yo have a way with words Miss Maggie.

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