Monday, February 22, 2010

thinly veiled as the major character of the wife


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— ROBERT B. PARKER and his wife, Joan, have been together for almost half a century, have raised two children, and since 1987 have worked together turning his famous detective novels into TV movies. He dedicates his books to her, and she appears in them, thinly veiled, as a major character named Susan.
But real life has thrown them some curves. In 1982, they separated and discussed divorce. Instead, they each underwent intensive psychotherapy and confronted a vexing truth. Despite incompatible lifestyles -- she is tirelessly social, he's a loner -- they couldn't or wouldn't sever their bonds.
''In 1984, we reunited in a loving, monogamous relationship,'' said Mr. Parker, 69. With the slight smile that is a cue for some classic Parker-fiction banter, he glanced at Ms. Parker and said, ''Her yearning for me was palpable.''
Mr. Parker, creator of the tough but erudite private investigator Spenser, got a response befitting Susan, Spenser's feisty girlfriend.
''That is humor based on fantasy,'' she said.
+++++++++++++++
Those of you who dubiously pondered my adoration of Robert B. Parker must surely see, through this small snippet, why I would love his work.
I never thought of myself as anything, but a writer. The normal labels people take on from birth- as we begin someone's daughter or son- were subverted in my family by the incredibly vast and debilitating space between each family member. At times, my sister and I clung to each other. My mother and my sister had long periods of ease. There was never a period where I felt strongly ' I am part of a family ' : I am a daughter, a sister. I felt like me. What this meant to me was a conundrum of personality quirks that I did not understand and most commonly did not like or want, a constant need to write from age 5, a fierce love of nature and of facing the truth. At 19 I had Dakota and I was, life-savingly, someone's mother.
Now here I am, someone's wife. What this means to me, what I believe a wife acts like, looks like, thinks like, most importantly (to me) what a wife feels like, I am only beginning to observe. The first year of our marriage was like a long adrenaline rush. Lola was a baby and the boys were in school, I was home and Mr. Curry worked and came home and we ate, had scrambled hurried amazing sex almost nightly, watched Sex in the City, Sopranos or Six Feet Under, and then slept, Lola in between us. Being a wife meant nurse the baby. It meant have sex. It meant clean the kitchen. It meant ask how his day was. It meant when people looked at me and then looked at my finger they saw I was married. It seemed that simple.
One day Mr. Curry came home in a bad mood. A really, really, really bad mood. I felt a rising fury, a betrayal, that I would be exhausted, Lola cried and nursed all day, my nipples were sore, the boys had been fighting, the dog shit on the floor, the shower was not producing hot water, and all I wanted in the world was for Mr. Curry to produce hot water, and here he comes, home from work in this foul and rude mood.
A husband should always put his family before his feelings. A husband should clean what his wife could not, and he should do so that day, so the house looks less like a hurricane and more like a home. A husband should fix anything that is broken, and if he cannot, he should learn how quickly, and he should do so nicely, without complaining. Why should he do that? Because he is a husband.
So quickly we realize ourselves, when there is no hot water. It took me five minutes to have all those emotions, from the time Mr. Curry stepped in the door, scowled, went to the bathroom and began muttering and complaining about fixing the shower, attempted for 10 minutes to fix the shower before giving up and then getting even more angry when I asked him to go get the necessary parts now, and not tomorrow. I did not care that he never complained- ever- about the state of our house, not even in a jokey manner. I did not care that he constantly told me how sexy and beautiful I was, even with milk dripping down my chest and my hair in a knot and my skin greasy and last night's sweats still on. I did not care that even though the kids were late to school because I couldn't get them and Lola out the door on time, he didn't judge me. I cared about the damn hot water, and his grumpy attitude.
I did not know that I had a laundry list of requirements for a husband, or that this was only the beginning of wondering what a wife is, too, and truly and realizing in the middle of living it- when most things are realized- that I had no idea what I was doing. Life rolled on so very quickly and fiercely- including a major issue I don't address here on the blog and also the loss of Mr. Curry's business (which he worked very hard to obtain and build and for which I will be eternally proud of him) owed tax dollars, moving when our landlord raised the rent, losing Mr. Curry's expensive truck, Dakota's transition from private to public school (brutal), my chronic pain worsening and then three surgeries, the serious and prolonged illness and death of both my Grandparents who I was helping care for, my mother almost dying in the hospital due to organ failure- I could go on, but I'd be afraid you would swallow Vodka and arsenic and give up your religion. It was a road raising children and adapting to life, and the dynamics of a marriage don't have much time to be felt up, so to speak. This is what makes getting married with family already in tow hard(er).
0Over the last year I have been thinking seriously about my role in my own life. I am a wife. I am a mother. I had Dakota so young, and took the role of mother so deeply, so to the core, that I literally swung immediately from being a self absorbed fucked up teenager to a sober and hard working, school attending, nursing and bringing baby to work momma. Dakota was 7 when I became pregnant with Lola, and I was on the cusp of a more- much more- self-created life, kicking ass in school and beginning to travel to LA on weekends to audition for things like the N'Sync video I danced in. Marriage, baby, life. I absolutely am not blaming anyone and I absolutely do not feel this was a bad thing. If I hadn't had Dakota I do not honestly know what would have happened to me. I was so deeply, bone breakingly lonely and sad. Dakota breathed love into my heart, it's that true. I am stating the facts, because they matter, and they matter as to why, at 35 and working feverishly on my novel, I spend a great amount of time feeling terrifically guilty for working feverishly on my novel, and for the time I spend here- even though, I have become very disciplined with my time here, and only moon over the screen for endless hours when it is the weekend and the kids are busy or playing. They matter as to why at 35 and in a deeply loving but very strained marriage, I am increasingly unsure of how I am supposed to contribute to this marriage, or to what degree, or what boxes are marked X and which are left empty, and where who I am is allowed to be staked in the ground next to who Mr. Curry is, instead of the one-ness that marriage is.
What I'd really like is if a room full of people in very similar circumstances to us lined up, and I could compare myself to them. That's how my mind works. I want to know, where do I stand next to XYO. How well am I doing here? Am I a good person, or just the thinly veiled character of one on my blog?
I am not thinking of anything revolutionary, or new, just the same thing most of you wives and mothers each or both have thought about yourself over the years. I am asking myself a lot of questions at night, when I watch movies, or read. I want to know what being a wife means to me. I want to know how my internalized, unspoken definition of being a Wife or Husband is shaping my marriage. I want to know how my idea about a wife stacks up to 'most people'. I want to know, like I do when I get interested in something, every fucking thing there ever was to know about being married.
And then the teacher will like me best, and I'll get an A, and no homework.

:)




Ms. Moon said...

All I can think of at this moment is when John and Yoko spent something like sixteen months apart and got back together and he said, "The separation was not a success."

CitricSugar said...

Maggie, every time I read you, I feel.

Always candid, very frank, and somehow "modestly" exposed. And, oh, how I admire your humanity.

Annje said...

A very honest and thought-provoking post. I have a hard time with the "wife" role, actually. I struggle on a daily basis with how it tries to define me. I haven't thought as much about how I define being a husband.
I too have the desire to contrast and compare and I like hearing the realities of other marriages rather than the facade that is usually portrayed: who does what, what they argue about, to me that is fascinating.

I love the Robert Parker excerpt... humor based on fantasy--love it!

svasti said...

Times like this make me want to strip it all back, down to the bare bones. Down to my own naked self, with no labels or brand labels or styles or any way for people to judge me. Especially not myself. And to stay away from mirrors which in many respects, only reflect back at us those things we tell ourselves are true.

And when we lose sight of what is really real, and who we really are because we've been juggling and tap dancing so long, to so many different songs and audiences... we need to take a sabbatical from it all.

Okay, maybe not literally as in running off to a simple hut on a tropical beach (although that does sound nice, doesn't it?), but we do at the very least have to stop looking in the mirror for a while. Stop comparing. Stop analysing and stop trying to live up to what we think we should be.

Because that way leads to a loss of intimacy with our Self, with our own breath and body. And by intimacy I mean closeness, sensitivity, loving kindness. Respect.

And if we've lost that intimacy with our Self, it's very difficult to find it with another person. All of our requirements are just streaks of colour and light we once painted on a canvass we called our life. At some point we forgot to update it. We forgot to say - hey, I no longer want to do this or be this person. We forgot to update our view of the people we love, too.

And all these things are necessary if we're to extract ourselves from the swamp of pigeon holes, post-it notes and tags that we or other people have seen fit to bestow on us over the years.

We all deserve freedom. But the only way to start is with yourself.

And believe me, once we've done that, everything changes. For me the way I do that is through yoga. I can recommend Mark Whitwell's book "Yoga of Heart", as a starting point...

I wish you well. I wish Mr Curry and your children well. I wish you love - back in your heart and soul, and in your loving relationship with your partner. Who, after all, sounds pretty wonderful really. xo

svasti said...

By the way, I think that epic comment I just left will be incorporated into a new post on my blog, hehe!

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

I feel like I am constantly reinventing myself to fit my role. My role as mother has changed drastically in the past 15 years. My role as wife began when I was a little girl since that is when I began dreaming of becoming a "Mrs."

It's nothing like the way I dreamed it.

It's nothing like the way it was when we first married.

It's nothing like the way it was when he had his midlife crisis.

It's nothing like it was two years ago.

But at the time, I was always genuinely me.

Just when I feel like I might get used to and comfortable with my role, a new character is introduced or a different plot twist hits me in the face.

Our steps in the dance change, sometimes we end up doing our solos for awhile but eventually our movements become synchronized again in the new dance, on the new stage.

We are never "one" but are constantly adjusting our movements to match the music and partner.

Same husband for 18 years. I've done my share of solo dancing even as he does his parallel solo. But somehow we end up adjusting our steps and closing the gap.

Elizabeth said...

Uh. You get an A. Compared to most people that I know. For even thinking about it.

You've a lot on your plate, to use a cliche. Let it be. I'm stuck on the "deeply loving but strained" part you write about. To be honest, despite a certain devotion to my own husband and love, of course, I find marriage to be a bit of an outdated institution. But that's me. So perhaps I get a D to your A.

Gillian said...

I agree that it isn't always rosey.

J and I have been together, "together" lol...for twenty years. (I'm 39 we started young).

We had a three year break.

We grew, we learned, we matured.
We ended up back together. Those three years were not successful either. I missed him terribly, and did a ton of self examination. I wanted to own my part in the split.

I took ownership. So did he.
To this day we never ever speak of those three years. It is like it didn't count at all.

The grass for me wasn't greener on the other side. I had a lot of work to do, and I did it. That isn't to say everyone is the same. It just helps to not discount your part. And for the record we all continue to make mistakes, we are human.

You seem so willing to learn from yours. That is admirable.

xoxo

Just.Kate said...

I wish I had something to say, some kind of answer or maybe a lighthouse to shine out to you, but I truly don't. I can sit along side you and shake my head and shrug my shoulders and cross my eyes to try to communicate, "I know what that's like- I do. At least some of it."

The role of Wife seems so frightening. But gratifying. But confusing. But potentially beautiful?

Hm.

Only A Girl said...

Hmmm.... I will be thinking on this one for awhile, I can see that already.

Simply Mel said...

I hope when you find out EVERYTHING there is to know about marriage that you write a book about it.

After reading what you and Mr. Curry have been through together, I believe you have already figured out a very big portion of keeping a marriage alive.

blondie-lox said...

my recent divorce... i've felt many of these things. my crisis of conscience revolves around what would have happened had i not met a man i love dearly, who loves me the same back. how do we know how wonderfuly intense love feels until we feel the magnitude that makes us wonder what our gage must have been set at before? the hard part: seeing the girls, there likenesses to him, the feeling of loss; death, will i eternally wonder what it'd be like if he just loved me that intensely, by the gage i own now?

Ocean Girl said...

As much as I tried to avoid it, whenever I think of who I am, even on first introduction to a stranger, all that comes to me is I am a widow.

And I am not even sure whether that means I am a wife to my husband who had passed away or whether I am no longer married since he is gone.

I want to quote you what husband and wife is in the Qur'an because I understand it more now than then.

"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." (Quran: Ar-Rum 21)

"They are clothing for you, and you for them." (Quran 2: 187)

angela simione said...

feeling guilty for working on your novel....

i feel guilty for my work as well sometimes. pretty often, actually. and then i end up feeling even worse because i start wondering "have i swallowed the idea that this isn't REAL work too?" and maybe to an extent i have... because, like you, i've done this all my life. and my childhood wasn't the nicest and i felt bad and ashamed of myself almost all the time. and i suppose some bit of that child is still quite alive in me, still ashamed of herself, still feeling stupid and not good enough... maybe that's why we feel guilty? maybe that feeling of shame seeped in to our practice at a very early age?

i don't know.

thank you for this post. i saw something of myself in it- and that is a testament to your skill as a writer,; your ability to be clear and honest, your amazing and beautiful humility.

Fifi Colston said...

In my moment of crisis my mother guessed, because she had been there too... same old faithful labrador at home but an energetic new young dog sniffing and looking like fun. We shared an honesty that had never existed before, my mother and I. She said 'You have to give as much as you take, and anyone who ever said they have had a blissfully smooth ride is lying to others or to themselves'.

Marriage binds, marriage tests, marriage works and it doesn't, all in a day. But he is wedded to my bones. We're a good old pair of terriers these days.

Beth said...

Would that one could study a book or the workings of other marriages to learn the secret of what makes a marriage work.
Just listen to your own heart – and try to listen to his heart with your own.
And keep looking at that beautiful picture for inspiration.

Bex said...

I'm playing a game of advance and retreat with my partner these days, advance because we have a baby together and I care for him, retreat because I get sad every time I watch a romantic movie, or see a couple obviously in love, because I don't feel that way at all. There is an image in my head as well about how love and marriage is meant to look, and what I have just doesn't cut it.

But then I wonder, is it my relationship that's wrong, or the image I have? Is it really possible that there is something better, easier, happier out there for me, or is it meant to be hard? So I do the comparisons as well, talking to everyone I know who is married, wondering what it's like for them. Unfortunately my sister has been married to her high school sweetheart for nearly ten years, and they have one of those marriages that live up to this idea of mine. It's not smug and perfect, just happy and comfortable, with so few hangups and neuroses that it's a healthy, vibrant thing. Sometimes I wish it weren't, so that I could believe that everyone's relationship is a bit fucked up, and not just mine. I too want to hear things about marriage that justify the way I feel here, that convince me to stay put and keep trying instead of striking out on my own, again, looking for something that may not exist at all.

It's just so fucking hard to know what truth is underneath all these conflicting feelings.

Brigindo said...

I have so little to say on marriage that would be helpful, even though I've been married from my entire adult life. The first marriage was so wrong and my definitions of wife and husband were tied up in my ideas of daughter and father. My current marriage is so right but I don't feel "married." At least not by my internalized definitions of marriage.

The mother role is so central to me but the wife role, while I find enjoyable, is something I put on and take off. My commitment to my husband is to be there and I am, no matter what role I assign myself or him. I think that is all any of us can really give or expect.

Lola Sharp said...

Maggie,

I do so love how honest and raw and pure and brave you lay out bits of yourself for us.

Thank you for being.

love,
lola

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petit fleur said...

"A husband should always put his family before his feelings." Dear God Maggie! We are leading parallel emotional lives! Either that or we have tapped into the same universal dynamic of marriage.

One thing I have found to be helpful is that as cheesy as it is, we did this method of communication/therapy called Imago. It really did help us to identify what our actual issues were, not what they were masked as and to really listen to one another. I found out that the hub was glad to do and be most of my crazy laundry list of machinations, but that I just had to express my appreciation once in a while... who knew? Anyway, I hope there is something positive you can take away from this because I totally feel you here!
xoxo m

Petit fleur said...

Ps that is a great picture of you two. Mr curry has deep soulful eyes... and you are a vision.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Maggie,
You are lovely. You really are. You stack up just fine, kid.

Love, SB.

jeneva said...

Weird stuff happens in marriage--sometimes it's out of the control of both parties, although then achieving equilibrium again is something we can attempt, right?

My husband and I were forced by circumstances into a traditional-role marriage when Robert became ill. I had just left a part-time teaching job to write a novel for a year, then go back on the job market. About a month after I left the job, Robert crashed. My husband had a pretty high-paying job with excellent health insurance, which saw us through this terrible time, the initial period of his illness. It was economic necessity.

But then it became a routine we couldn't break. So we went through an awful period for a few years during which I simply rebelled--we argued and fought our way back to some kind of equilibrium with our avocations. It's still not perfect, and we still have to make job decisions based on the calculus of not simply insurance alone, but best we can get, top of the line insurance.

You're certainly not wrong to question.

Babe in Babeland said...

It's like you went inside my mind and wrote down how I feel. THANK YOU!! I am feeling exactly the same way, and it's hard. It's hard when our marriage is strained and there's no time for romance. It's hard when our focus is our baby and I feel like I'm just treading my nose above water. I have all the same questions as you. I feel like my husband is disappointed that our apartment is not sparkling clean and looks perfect. I am not a housewife, and yet I am. I need to figure this out.

My husband and I are trying to figure out what each other's expectations are for our marriage, for our life as partners. It is taking time...time we didn't really have because the babe came so quickly. But I do love him and he loves me, and we are confident we are going to find our balance and equilibrium in each other. You and your husband are not alone!!

Phoenix said...

Well, you and I both know, as A-types, how tempting it is to check in on whatever everyone else is doing and give ourselves gold stars based off the competition. So let me present to you an idea:

I think "husband" and "wife" are as undefinable and as free as the word "love." If you wanted to line up others to see how they love and then compare your own, it would be a ridiculous exercise in futility, for you know as well as I that each of us loves in a completely different way and speaks a different language with it.

So it is the same with "husband" and "wife." People might try to tell us, traditionally, the expectations and duties of a wife. But being a partner and spouse and lover is not something to be dumped into a job description. It is a living and growing thing for each of us to define privately, and this is where it gets its power.

Each time we compare our titles of husband or wife against others, we demean our own gifts and our own love.

Kelly Wantuch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Still Life With Coffee said...

Oh my... I adore your writing and your honesty.

I don't know which has offered me more growth.. my role as a mother or my role as a wife. Both have changed me forever.

and thank you for sharing with us in your beautiful blog.

Maggie May said...

@ MS MOON that is just awesome. they were so COOL.

@ Citric thank you. i love your sensitive way.

@ ANNJE this is what i meant, yes, how i am being defined (and how i am defining) and looking at it instead of just living it.

@ SVASTI that is beautiful and true. bare bones is always the place to begin for me, when i'm confused or overwhelmed. i have found yoga amazing, when i have periods of doing it.

@ MUSING MOM yes, this has been true for me too. things change rapidly and we keep changing with them.

@ ELIzABETH no- definitely you get an A.

@ GILLIAN that's a truly romantic story! thank you for sharing that.

@ JUSTKATE absolutely, so much beauty in being a wife. it's the other parts that need sorting.

@ ONLY A GIRL thank you for reading :)

@ SIMPLY MEL i agree with you. i feel i have learned a lifetime in the last seven years.

@ BLONDIE i didn't know you had divorced, i'm glad for any happiness you have. my problems are not related to lack of love, or not enough passion, or intensity. i can see of course how that would change everything.

@ OCEAN how did i not know you were a widow? I did not realize. have you written about it on your blog? i am sorry for your loss.

@ ANGELA yes, what you wrote sounds veeery familiar to me. thank you for sharing that.

@ FIFI so it sounds like you had cheating going on? that is very hard. we have never had that issue, but we have had plenty others!

@ BETH thank you sweetie.

@ BEX that was wrenching to read. you are clearly in so much pain. have you thought of getting a personal therapist to talk through it and find what you really want to do? i don't have the same problem, but i can relate to the issue of comparing my relationship, because i am SO GUILTY of doing that.

@ BRIGINDO that is exactly how i feel about romantic relationships, married or not. i am 100% committed to being there for him.

@ LOLA thank you, thank you for reading, for replying, for always being so engaging!

Maggie May said...

@ CATHERINE no i appreciated your words very much! so don't worry. that example was as i said from the very beginning of our marriage, and those things are more stable now. it was the dynamic i was pointing out, of the unconscious ideas i have of what a Husband and a Wife are and do, and how that effects how i feel about what happens.

@ PETIT i love being understood! and yes i agree about the expression of gratitude, absolutely, that is important for a two year old and a 32 year old! and thank you for the compliment sweetie :)

@ SARCASTIC i adore being called kid, and the expression 'stack up', so you pretty much hit the comment jackpot there.

@ GENEVA thank you for sharing that. i totally relate to the period of grumbling so to speak, when you refuse to accept something and the change causes friction. it is waiting those times out that can really solidify the marriage.

@ BABE oh the beginning with babies...so exhausting!! i totally recommend making it a priority to have intimacy and sex regularly, however you have to figure it out and even if you don't feel like it. it is so important in keeping the connection.

@ PHOENIX thank you for that, and the last idea you said, which is really lovely and true, true.

@ STILL LIFE thank you so much for reading and replying. it's awesome to have intelligent thoughtful commenters.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Coming from a childhood where I thought very seriously about what it meant to be married and to have children, I have been surprised at how unprepared I was to be a mom, and having only recently begun wondering whether my role as a wife keeps up with the expectations I have of my husband, I can really identify with this post. I think, imagine, that the fact that room is opening up for you to write must mean that you are doing well enough in your other roles that your family is giving you space to be a writer. I think, because we are all selfish to a bigger degree than we'd like to admit, that your family would start making bigger demands if you weren't meeting their needs. So, kudos to you that you're making both work!
I'm only just starting to shed the idea of what it means to be a good daughter, nice woman, enough to write with the honesty that I know I need to write with to really write from my heart, and so far not publicly. But, I'm getting there. So, personally I admire you for being able to do both.

Maggie May said...

zNDTIzzY yes, i thought so much in my childhood about what i didn't want, and did, that i was really shocked to realize how much i still had to learn. i'm glad you are finding your 'voice' so to speak, and can't wait until i can read some of the work you mentioned.

krista said...

i don't know about marriage, myself. it's why bryan and i aren't married. i have hangups about the mere idea. so does he.
well, i'm no help at all, am i?
poop.

deb said...

I would rather share my life with my best friend , than not.
My husband and I have "traditional" roles, that just grew comfortably, and less "suburban" ones, that we both need to be our own people.
I wonder if because I came into marriage and being a mother, so broken, so not knowing , so confused, has wasted time, hurt our children.
And yet, when I look at who we are now, how my five are all doing, the feedback from others, I'm pretty certain we are a good team.
And while we are often apart, when we make time to be together ( like in very soon, for a whole week ), we are passionate and gentle and powerful and the best versions of ourselves.

that photo is love

deb @ talk at the table

Angie Muresan said...

You are doing the right thing already, Maggie. You are thinking and striving to make your marriage work. I haven't seen selfishness in you. Ever. I see love, so much love for Mr. Curry and your babies. So let the guilt drop off. You are already doing so much for them with your loving and your giving.

Greenfingers said...

I read this post a few days ago and just had to come back to it because its a completely stunning piece of self-expression.

When I write with this openness, I rarely have an answer for myself Maggie. Just questions.

The only thing that I've realized over the years, and I'm not married with any kids, is that there really is no such thing as perfection.
We come close sometimes but then spend must longer, in our own heads, just trying to learn to except.
Sometimes nothing does make sense..and maybe never will?

Allegra Smith said...

The seasons of a marriage. Spring is filled with promises and suddenly Winter is here and those promises remain unfulfilled and then we wonder if we are at the right place, if we are doing the right thing, how good we are at what we do and at what we don't. You are as good as you are, that is how good you are, I keep telling myself. What measuring stick could accurately tell me how off I am from whatever it is I consider the "good" mark, anyway?

Many couples have said not only to us but to others speaking about us "we want to have what they have" and I wonder why some times I don't want what we have. I wonder what people elect to ignore about us that makes our marriage appear so desirable. We both struggle with a myriad of outside pressures, things that influence our behaviour toward each other. Illness, time, unresolved issues from previous lives that hang in the house of our marriage like so many cobwebs, too high up to be swept once and for all.

My very wise nanny once told me that we fall in love with the firecracker but that we are always surprised when we find ourselves married to the candle. I am convinced those are the seasons of a marriage. No matter how exciting and attractive the light of the firecracker, there is nothing as comforting as the steady light of a candle to take some of the darkness away from the path. Our roles reveal themselves with mutual acceptance. There is no magic moment, no sign from the Universe. One day we pick up a pair of shoes over which we have tripped a hundred times and instead of swearing at the wearer we decide that it is actually easier to pick them up and don't resent the habit that is unlikely to change. Unbeknownst to us, the candle has probably done that about some similar peccadillo of ours and love and comfort grow without any outside signal to let us know it is happening.

You are doing fine. In my experience the only time to worry is when there are no questions.

andrea of ffft said...

Ohhhh... very interesting thought. What ARE the characters we play on our blogs? The internet has given us a way to be a very curated representation of ourselves, in the sense that we are able to live in our masks, hide when we want to, not communicate if it seems a bad time to do so, show only the prettiest sides of ourselves and take the time to think through everything we "say" before we show it to other people. I have been thinking a lot about this lately too and trying to find the happy medium between too personal and too superficial. This is a social network and etiquette that we did not grow up with.

And I love love LOVE the photo of the masked girl with the quote from what was my favourite song from the time my cousin played it on his record player when I was five. Such a pleasure to read your posts! I would comment more often, but I can't write three lines in response to ANY of your posts. This is a good thing :)

Babbling Brook said...

Every time I read your blog, eloquent stranger, I instantly think of a the book "Gaining" by Aimee Liu.

I think that has to do with why I love your blog. There is so much of what I may be soon in it, how I may feel after babies.

It makes me wonder, and care, and empathize with the parts I can. I think it is hard to figure out what each of these titles means to a person, when we've always been taught their definitions by others. I hope that you find your own meaning, and that you get the A should it be necessary.

Loves.

starrlife said...

I identify- and thank you for being able to say it all so well. It is a struggle of me vs we always for me. Growing up in a family where the me was worshiped... sigh. I refuse to give up...

Ellen said...

I listen to Dr. Laura sometimes on the radio...not always agreeing with her...but she made a statement to a young woman who was wondering if it was normal to fall out of love with ones husband. This young woman was questioning this man, the father of their child, but who she was not feeling the love with. Dr. Laura (big on marriage vows), said that was the difference in a marriage commitment. When we marry we make a commitment to each other for better or worse and it is perfectly normal to feel not so loving towards each other from time to time. But our commitment to each other (in a good, healthy relationship) will ride out the hard times. That one can fall in love again and again. It is our growth in a friendship, and a love affair with our partners that we must be forgiving of each other from time to time. We are first individuals that are separate from anyone else that needs to expand and explore and question and talk and talk .... I have been married, happily, lovingly, longing for 32 years and times I just look at him and wonder what I saw in him all those years ago...because men are different from women...I know you hear that all the time but they are! We so internalize and analize and dissect our lives and our love ones...we live it, breath it...absorb it...so they do the same in their own way...I feel that when we question our life and those in it is a necessary growth for our own life. That will make you a better more fulfilled woman. This midlife point in my life has brought up more questions than I can keep up with but I am so very grateful I care enough to listen to my heart and head. I am so thankful that I do wake up next to my Love...and he accepts me during my "Growth" stages...

I went on and on...I appreciated your open heart in your words...

Bee said...

Marriage must be the most complicated and complex relationship that human beings ever engage in . . . and it is always, always changing. The requirements, the obligations, the pleasures: all of it, always changing.

My husband and I, like Robert and Joan Parker, are near-opposites in so many ways. Our marriage broke down after 10 years, and was only able to be patched together again because of intensive therapy, our kids, and my husband's complete unwillingness to let go of it. It is much stronger now than it has ever been, but there are still days when I think that we cannot possibly keep it going. Some days love feels effortless; other days, it feels like an effort I can't and don't want to make.

Most of our friends are in the 45-50 range, and many of their marriages are showing cracks. Who knows who will make it when the children leave home? My husband always says that no one else can ever know the truth of a couple's marriage, and I believe that is true.

molly said...

you don't marry the one you can live with, you marry the person you can't live without.

i loved this post.

Millie said...

At 54 & with all the kids gone, I'm just loving this time in my life. Work is still great & I love the intellectual stimulation & challenges it gives me. The face staring back at me in the mirror isn't too bad. The Man-of-the-House still makes me laugh, we still fight, but I can live with that. There are still soooo many things I want to experience before I shuffle off this mortal coil & I will. I think maybe the Parker's & others spend too much time analyzing their relationship roles instead of just living them. Fabulous post, very thought provoking.
Millie ^_^

Glimmer said...

My first marriage was a disaster, but I felt I couldn't leave until finally I did after 11 years. I was never going to marry again ever. And then I did. I feel I am much better/happier/saner unmarried or at least living on my own. I love the idea of living next door to my husband because I adore him and being without him is unacceptable to me. Marriage is where it's at for him. So here we are, married still. People also consider us two peas in a pod, perfect couple, etc., and I can't imagine what they mean.

We get into what seems to be continuous spats over the most ridiculous things and I hate it. But on the big things we are absolutely in sync. Except for my idea about living next door to each other, which of course he consider ridiculous. Even though I am completely serious.

I think he is the funniest person alive and he surprises me all the time. He isn't trying to make me laugh. He is simply like someone from another planet, a wonder.

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