rooted, but still growing

Archive for March 2009

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting on my front porch in a t-shirt and a pair of stretchy cotton gauchos. It’s in the upper 70s here today, breezy and comfortable, a welcome change from the below-freezing temperatures we endured earlier in the week. The weathermen say it will be like this all week and for once I’m choosing to ignore my wariness of local “meteorologists” and actually believe them. 

What a glorious day it’s been. We slept in, then got prettied up to have our engagement photos taken. Went out to lunch, strolled around downtown Marietta. Drove back to Parkersburg to our favorite liquor store for some whisky and wine. When we got home Steve lifted weights while I cleaned up the yard and tidied up Waylon’s kennel. Steve surprised me by asking to go for a walk, which ended up turning into a partial run. I haven’t been running like that in a loooong time and while it nearly killed me, I feel absolutely terrific right now. In a while I’m going to hop in the shower — we’re meeting some friends at a local bar to shoot the breeze and some pool. 

Again, what a glorious day. 

This is what I live for. Days where the pace is as slow and luxurious as you want it to be — no rushing, no fussing. Just being. Doing what you enjoy with people you enjoy.

I haven’t felt this way in quite a while. We don’t live in the upper midwest, but the winters in the Ohio Valley are hard. Dark. It takes a toll on even the strongest mind and body and I guess I’m just more susceptible to it than people who have lived here their entire lives.

I’m so grateful that things are looking up, getting warmer. It’s nice to simply sit on the porch and enjoy the wind. I’m thankful for my life. I’m thankful to be in this place. I’m thankful to just be.

So I’m back after a long but not planned hiatus. Between school, work, wedding planning and a general life-is-tailspinning-into-disaster-oh-my-god-I-have-to-fix-it era, I’m here again after about two months of just trying to get things figured out.

I’m not going to lie and say the past two months have been great. They haven’t. There has been quite a bit of challenge and struggle, of trying to survive and grow. That isn’t to say I’m in the depths of despair, just that the past few weeks/months have been rather rough. I blame part of it on the weather — I’ve never lived in a gloomier place, and this winter seems to have decided to stay far past its welcome. Today is the first in I don’t know how long that it’s been sunny and relatively warm out there.

And the other problems lie in personality clashes, blame games, fear and, ironically, a lot of love. That love thing, it’s tough you know. Sometimes I think it causes more trouble than its worth.

As it stands, I’m getting married in about five months. I’ve been doing some thinking lately about what a marriage should be like. I know there are thousands of books, therapists, preachers and self-help gurus out there who would be more than willing to tell me what makes a good marriage. But in the end, I’m not going to be married to those people. A marriage is comprised of just two — and as one of those two I need to get my shit together and figure out what it is I expect and, more importantly, what I expect to contribute.

Steve and I aren’t traditional people. We’ve seen too many marriages based on tradition and religion fail. The ones based on finances don’t typically do too well, either. Someone always winds up hanging on to the short end of the stick — and it’s usually covered in poo.

Marriage isn’t about equals. Yes, the two are equal in the sense of humanity. But very rarely are they equals in age, experience, income, or responsibility. Attempting to take two individuals and meld them into one isn’t only physically but also emotionally impossible. Each has to remain his/her own person, else there will always be feelings of jealousy and resentment. It just won’t work.

And yet that’s what I’ve been trying to do — and I stand here now completely unsurprised that it hasn’t worked. Rather, I’m more embarrassed and incredulous to discover that I even tried it in the first place. Color me stupid.

I guess for me, marriage is about loving and supporting each other. It’s two separate lives shared on an intimate level. It’s enjoying each other’s company, sharing common interests, taking good care of one another. It’s having the other person’s back. Helping them through the tough stuff. Growing old together. Knowing each other in a way no one else does. Making decisions together. Respect. Compromise.

Giving up control.

Ah, control. That’s a difficult one for me. I don’t know where I obtained this personality trait, but it’s quite honestly the bane of my existence.  I simply must learn to give up control — or to realize I never had it to begin with. Add that to the list of things to work on in 2009.

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to examine things objectively. I haven’t done very well with that lately, either. Instead, much of my focus has been on protecting myself and my interests, all else be damned. It’s made me angry and fearful — turned me into a person I wouldn’t like very well. I’m too defensive. Again, I need to learn to let things go. Stop manipulating, and just let it all be. Quit worrying.

It’s a challenge, true. There is much to work on. But I approach it knowing I can do it and, even better, wanting to do it. I want this for me, and I desperately want this for Steve.

I know I’m not perfect and I never will be. What I *can* do is try to get as close as possible, to live the best life possible, to love as hard as possible. And this gives me a renewed sense of purpose — and faith that it will only get better from here.