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Irreconcilable Differences

 That’s what you call the head and the heart, not a marriage.

My sister just announced she’s going to Cancun. I’ve never been out of the US and it looks like if I ever do make it out of here I’ll be the last of my family to do so. This from the girl who wanted to travel through Europe living with gypsies and travel t he rest of the world like a leaf on the wind. Something I thought I’d do that was true to myself that I haven’t done…

I took my kids to the library here today. The first time they’ve been to a library here. Sad, I know, but there are a lot of reasons that go into that not the least of which is I don’t go anywhere if I don’t have to. I don’t want to waste the money. So, I’m always at home, stuck within these same walls, fighting the same messes, talking to the same children, gasping for adult contact. Talking with my husband, whom I love dearly, is… okay. He’s smart but he’s not intellectual. He uses the wrong words, wrong phrases, wrong terms, for things that for me are commonplace. But when it comes to commonplace for him I am just as out of his element and he is out of mine. The whole family went to the library but for him, regardless of the fact that he’s leaving for three weeks on Monday. The library isn’t his cup of tea.

It was a beautiful library, one of the nicer ones I’ve seen. It has a huge Children’s section with a gigantic pirate ship for them to play or read in. The kids loved it. Then on the way out there was a couple and wedding party posing to have their pictures taken.

“She looks like a princess!” my daughter said excitedly… and it once again it me, the regret of not having a wedding like I’d wanted, of settling for a courtroom wedding because it was the timely and economical thing to do. My husband and I decided to go that route and have a real ceremony on our 5th anniversary. Only it came out later that since he had a real wedding with his first wife he really had no interest in having another and we were so beyond broke at our 5 year anniversary there was no way to do it, we’ve been broke since before we got married for God’s sake.

I tried to smile and agree. And smile and agree when she saw the flower girls and said they looked like princesses, too, and how she wanted to get married so she could look like a princess. I tried not to let it get to me. I tried. Like I have every time I see a wedding photo of some couple we’re meeting. I try not to think about how I’ll never be that beautiful bride because, let’s face it, I’m always sick and I certainly always look sick. I try not to imagine arguing with my daughter over why she should have standards for herself when I had none for myself, for the things I wanted, needed, and dreamed of accomplishing.

Then I got home to my husband talking on the phone to his mother, discussing whether or not we should be moving in with my husband’s grandfather to help keep him from slipping while his wife goes into hospice care, and keep his house and property up for him. It hit me even harder how I haven’t accomplished anything I had thought I’d accomplish when I was younger. I feel like I’m going to turn 40 and look back at my life and realize I’ve spent more of it changing diapers for one generation or another than anything else. I’m over 30 and I still haven’t gone back to school, I’m not working—we can’t even afford for me to work and even if I was working it would probably be at some dead-end job.

I wanted to go to school, make a living writing, editing, traveling. I wanted to explore other cultures and mindsets. And now I’m not only being trapped within the same suffocating four walls but I’m going to be trapped with that old person smell that makes me gag because it reminds me of death, unmerciful, slow, lingering death via the living decay that besets our older generations instead of simply the life leaving their eyes.

I saw the future I kept putting on hold for myself slipping away yet again, just like I saw it slipping away that one birthday when those two pink lines showed up, the two lines that were supposed to have been a dare because we couldn’t figure out why I was so sick. I love my kids and I would die without them, but at the same time they are killing me. I need time to myself, I need time to be me and to figure myself out and just the left to feel what I feel because what I feel is so engulfing that sometimes I just can’t take anything else on top of it, there’s on room for anything else. I don’t have that, though, so I overload and I become this monstrosity instead of a mother because I feel too much. They probably have a word or a diagnosis for that, but for me that’s just me. I need to be alone. I need to decompress. I need to be safe and just let it all out and scream and cry and sing and laugh and just experience.

But I’m a role model, I can’t be free like that I have to keep it all in check. I can’t just take off and run when I’m upset because I have kids to take care of. I can’t just go for a drive and think, I have small bodies depending on me. And I certainly can’t just break down and vent what I’m feeling regardless of what it is because I have small minds who need me to mold them into healthy thought patterns… and I don’t think I have those. I try so hard to model what the experts say they need but I don’t have those things inside my own skull to pull from.

My in-laws seem like decent people usually, but they have tried more than once to absolve and or create dissolution/divorce causing havoc in my husband’s mind and he wants me to move to a middle of nowhere, Podunk town where they are the only people who know me and anyone I might meet will have a view of me that is most likely skewed by said in-laws? What is worse than being caged? Being caged with spears poking in at you? That’s how it feels to be looking at this potential reality.

But financially speaking it would be the best choice for us, part of my brain insists. The part of my brain that encompasses what little common sense my brain managed to develop, the part of my brain that wants me husband to be happy and to pretend like my in-laws and us are the big happy family he thinks/hopes we are. The part of my brain that does want to get along with my in-laws that secretly cares about my mother-in-laws approval because I could never get my own mother to approve of me. The part of me that wants my kids to know both sides of their family even if the one is disgustingly morally ambiguous because I want to raise my kids to be better than that and to be strong enough to withstand the onslaught their own morals will face in this world.

And then my husband’s buddy pops over unannounced and sees me crying. Great. That doesn’t help. I’m trying to focus on making dinner and not crying and, oh look, here’s company. Then I guess my husband figures out how very upset about “it” I really am and comes in and wants to talk about it. I’m not ready to talk. I’m still filtering. “I don’t want it filtered” he says. Okay, well I’m still figuring out what I think about it then. “I don’t want it thought through’ he says. God damn it, man, shut up and leave me alone I have nothing to say yet. I don’t. I don’t know how I feel or think about it because I’m not done processing it! But this I say in my head. We’ve reached our encompass, the same one we keep reaching that seems insurmountable in our marriage. We process information differently and it’s a huge glitch in our relationship. It’s a big part of why there are so many unresolved issues in our marriage, because we start talking about them but can’t ever finish them because we *glitch*.
I have a lot of glitches in my head. I have tried and tried with books and counseling and websites and scheduling and all sorts of things to decode and recode the way my brain works. Sometimes I get short spans where I succeed but I always slip back. It crushes me when I do even though I know that to a certain degree it is to be expected, its human nature. It still crushes me. And then I feel stupid for “letting” it affect me like it does, like everything does.

I’m emotional. Problematically so, to my husband. As much as it annoys me that shampoo commercials can make me cry I love feeling things the intense way I do. It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel tortured, it makes me feel everything. EVERYTHING. And it’s amazing to feel that much. It’s hell, but it’s heaven.

There is so much wrapped up in all of this. My husband says I can’t hold him responsible for things that aren’t his fault, and he’s right, and it’s why I didn’t want to talk to him about it because I knew he would feel like it was his fault. No one’s choices but my own brought me here, whether they were based on selfishness, stupidity, what was best for my kids, or what, they were MY choices and I made them. I can’t “fix” the past and I can only try so much to fix the future without leaving my Love and family behind, and I won’t leave them behind. I don’t want to be single, as my husband misinterpreted all this to mean. I wanted to make a difference. And yes, I know raising my children to be moral human beings will make a difference but I mean on a broader scale; I wanted to write something that would change the way people think, the way they feel, and the way they think and feel about how they think and feel. I wanted to show them the majesty of everyday moments, how you can taste the universe in a good sip of tea, how there is no such thing as ordinary only unappreciated. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make things better. I wanted to help create a world where… where it was okay to be who you were… because it was never okay to be me.


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