Failing and Flying

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Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

It’s the same when love comes to an end,

or the marriage fails and people say

they knew it was a mistake, that everybody

said it would never work. That she was

old enough to know better. But anything

worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean

on the other side of the island while

love was fading out of her, the stars

burning so extravagantly those nights that

anyone could tell you they would never last.

Every morning she was asleep in my bed

like a visitation, the gentleness in her

like antelope standing in the dawn mist.

Each afternoon I watched her coming back

through the hot stony field after swimming,

the sea light behind her and the huge sky

on the other side of that. Listened to her

while we ate lunch. How can they say

the marriage failed? Like the people who

came back from Provence (when it was Provence)

and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,

but just coming to the end of his triumph.

 

- Jack Gilbert, from poets.org

Monthly Update

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Boston Cream Pie

I haven’t been posting as much lately as I should.  Everything is quite ordinary, which is excellent.  I’ve been going on a few random dates, after taking November/December/January off from dating.  I don’t know if I should have dated so soon after Matt and I breaking up.  It distracted me from the massive emotional disturbance of the divorce, but I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not.

Nevertheless, things are going swimmingly around here.  I’ve had a couple interviews for different (better paying) jobs at work, and on Friday, I have a second interview for one of them.  Yay!

Last night I went on the worst.date.ever.  He was 30 (but looked 40, poor guy), lives with his parents, has a degree in Liberal Studies, and he’s worked at Whole Foods for the past 8 years.  He was so incredibly negative about everyone (customers at Whole Foods have the stupidest questions and treat the workers terribly *eye roll*); he wants a nice office job but no one will hire him, and it’s just not fair!!!!  *Sigh*

But I had two fantastic dates this weekend with a lovely, lovely gentleman.  He hasn’t pushed my boundaries even once.  Usually people insist on giving me a ride home, since I don’t drive.  He’s offered, but doesn’t insist when I say no.  He hasn’t even kissed me yet (but gives great hugs).  We haven’t talked about past relationships (which, honestly, I don’t want to know about them, and I don’t want to talk about mine), and we have a lot in common in regards to likes/dislikes/political views.  He seems interesting.  

I’m getting back into baking.  For the past few weeks, I’ve made a cake on Sunday night to take to work on Monday.  This week was a Boston Cream Pie – a request, because I would NOT have made that on my own.  The glaze didn’t turn out right.  It’s a bit too liquidy, and I should have used baking chocolate instead of cocoa powder, since the powder didn’t blend in quite right.  Maybe I’ll try again in a few weeks.

Remarks on my Three Day Weekend

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Today, I’m back at work from a lovely three-day-weekend.   Yesterday, I had a truly enlightening experience.  I’ve forgotten what it’s like to work at a job I detest – a job I absolutely loathe.  Sometimes, I complain about my job, but I really have it easy.  I don’t wake up in the morning dreading the day ahead.  I don’t count the hours until I’m off work.  I like my coworkers, and my workload is varying and mostly interesting.  I have great benefits and so much paid time off, it’s ridiculous.  And maybe I don’t make as much money as I would like, but I don’t have to worry about getting raises, and I never worry about being laid off or fired.  I really am quite fortunate, and I need to stop griping about waking up early, or my stupid co-worker that plays pranks on me.  I’ve been a lot worse off.

This weekend was rather enjoyable.  Sunday night, I had a lovely date with a guy from eHarmony.  We saw American Hustle (which I liked, but I didn’t like), and then had dinner and coffee.  I really enjoyed meeting him, and I have a date with him for Saturday.  He reminds me about Matt in a lot of ways.  He’s 25, and he has a job, but he doesn’t have his career figured out.  Which is absolutely ok – lots of people my age definitely don’t have things figured out.  I certainly don’t!  He is rather geeky, but then, so am I.  He didn’t make a move on me, and I appreciated that a lot.  We both love liturgical churches, and we have a lot of hobbies in common.

I’m not in a rush to get married again.  I really need to figure out where my career is going to go, and I must do that before I commit to a serious, marriage-intended relationship.  I’m very much enjoying living by myself again (with a roommate), and I love having money to spend on nice things, like letterpress birthday cards that cost twice three times as much as a Hallmark card, or Clinique skincare products instead of Neutrogena (I <3 Clinique!), or a ridiculous amount of fabric for Spring dresses just because I can and it’s pretty and I want it

I was thinking yesterday about something one of my friends mentioned on Friday.  He said that feminists, like me, tend to marry “milquetoast kinds of guys,” not “real men.”  He says we marry men we can boss around, men we can control.  My friend has it all wrong.  My friend automatically assumes that someone is going to get bossed around in the relationship, and if the man isn’t bossing the woman, then the woman must boss the man.  He doesn’t realize that there can be marriages where no one does any bossing whatsoever – where respect and consideration and love go both ways.  My friend wants a puppet wife to do what he wants her to do, not a wife that demands equal respect and equal say.  (He wants puppet children that he can control, too, but that’s a whole other story.)

So I was wondering all day yesterday if I’m setting myself up for failure again by dating guys that aren’t the take charge, alpha male types.  When I think about it, guys like this repulse me.  I don’t understand relationships where one person has more say than the other.  I don’t understand marriages where the wife has to be manipulative in order to get what she wants.  I’m reminded of that movie (My Big Fat Greek Wedding?) where the mother tells her daughter than the husband may be the head, but the wife is the neck, and so the wife gets to turn her husband’s head in whatever direction the wife wants.  A marriage like that would be a living hell for me… it was a living hell for me.  With Matt, often he would make me logically argue for what I wanted.  If we had different opinions, I had to logically argue for my perspective, but he certainly never had to do that.  I remember throwing temper tantrums because I was so frustrated that he didn’t listen to me.  If me simply telling him want I wanted didn’t work, then maybe breaking a few dishes would.  Yeah, that was so mature.

I don’t want to think about unpleasant memories, so I’m going to stop there.

In other news, I bought some Marvel superhero fabric to make a comic book dress.  It’s cut out and waiting to be sewn.  Super excited to wear it!

 

Was it really a year ago that Matt and I took that spontaneous trip to Solvang?  Time flies.

Seven Reasons Why I Got Divorced

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1. I got divorced because he hurt me, and I couldn’t trust him, and people on the internet told me it was okay to get divorced. I didn’t have to stay with someone I had good reasons to not trust.

Oh, I guess that’s only one reason. Oops.

Of course there are fringe benefits, like, I have money to spend on fun stuff now. And I don’t have to deal with his family. And I don’t have to run around trying to sooth all my friends and their hurt feelings because he said something offensive and mean because he has a damn superiority complex. That’s probably the best fringe benefit.

I’m not sorry I left. I don’t know that I should be.

Six Reasons why I Got Married

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Over the course of several conversations today, I thought I needed to give a full rundown of why I even got married in the first place, and why I got divorced. Apparently, some people are under the impression that this whole thing is my own fault? I’m not sure. It’s confusing.

1. I got married because I was wildly in love. Yes. I loved my ex husband, and a part of me still does. We had a lot of fun times together, and for the most part, our marriage was good.

2. I got married because holy cow, being an adult is freaking scary, and boy, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else to “lead” and figure this out for me?

3. I got married because I want babies. Five babies, to be exact. All girls.

4. I got married because this was the first Christian guy to ever be interested in me, and I really shouldn’t pass that up.

5. I got married because he said he wouldn’t hurt me again, and I believed him.

6. I got married because I thought my parents liked him, and I thought they would be proud of me for marrying someone who was a Christian.

We had only been together a year by the time we got married. I remember lots of people asking, “Are you sure?” Of course I was sure. I loved him, so I married him. Because that’s what you do when you love someone.

Thoughts on Being a Bully

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I bullied my sister when I was a child, and it’s something I will always bitterly regret.  This is something I’ve been talking to my therapist about recently.  I wanted to understand why I was a bully.  There’s no excuse for it, and it was definitely wrong, but I wanted to understand why it happened.  

I’m pretty damn sure my parents spanking me had a lot to do with it. 

This is what spanking does to young children (source, and emphasis is mine).  

Spanking may reduce the brain’s grey matter, the connective tissue between brain cells. Grey matter is an integral part of the central nervous system and influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions and memory… Medical professionals investigating the long-term effects of spanking have consistently found a link between corporal punishment and increased aggression in children. 

People who know me in real life know that I have difficulty handling emotions properly.  I have difficulty with muscular control and sensory perception.  

And when I was a child, oh boy, did I have major problems with aggression.  My parents spanked me in order to teach me to behave properly, but that was rarely the result.  Spanking humiliated me, and it infuriated me.  I was a little girl with a giant ball of rage inside, and many times, I inflicted my rage on my younger sister.  

None of this was my sister’s fault.  She was the victim in a cycle of violence, and I didn’t understand my role in the cycle for a very long time.  My parents hit me when they were angry or displeased with me, and I hit my sister when I was angry.  The violence continued from their generation to mine.  

My family’s history of violence ends with me.  I choose to love instead of hit.  I will not hit my (future) children, even in fun.  I will never slap their face, never spank them, never threaten to hit them.  I will never say, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.”  I will never say, “If you don’t behave, I’ll take you out to the parking lot and spank you.”  I will never say, “Do you need a swat?”  I will not break their trust.  I will not betray them with violence.  

And to my sister, I am so deeply sorry that I hurt you.  I will always, always be sorry, and I don’t think I can ever do enough penance for it.  

I Learned How to Be a Grown-Up During my Marriage

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I read this pretty cool blog post the other day called “23 things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23.”  Obviously the author was pretty tongue in cheek about the 23 things to do, like, baking a cake, and eating a whole jar of Nutella.

But I loved this part:

I can’t help but feel like a lot of these unions are a cop-out.  It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.

If you knew me from ages 19-24, you know that I wanted to get married sooooooooo baaaaaaadly.  I’m pretty mortified by much of my behavior in relationships during those years.  

Back then, I wanted to be taken care of.  I wanted someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  Being an adult was completely stressful, and I had no idea what I was doing most of the time.  Many nights, I would cry hysterically due to the stress of not knowing what to do.

Two years ago, Matt and I got married.  One reason I wanted to marry him – a very small reason, about 15% of the reasons – was because then I wouldn’t be alone (finally).  I could depend on him to help figure out this thing called adulthood.

Funny thing though.  Matt wasn’t very good at being an adult, either.  

So through the 18 months that Matt and I stayed together, I did a lot of growing up.  He was just as clueless as me, and someone had to figure this thing out.  (I’m sure he did as much growing up as me.)  Now that I’m on my own, adulthood isn’t so scary and hard.  That’s one good thing I got from my marriage, and I wonder if I would have learned how to handle responsibilities without being married to Matt.  I’d like to think so, but I have a nagging suspicion that I would still be as frightened and clueless as I was at 23.  

So, thank you, marriage, for teaching me how to be a grown-up.