Friday, July 23, 2010

Do you take this person to be your spouse...

in good times and in bad? Through mental breakdowns and suicides? Through graduate school and dying cats? Through unplanned pregnancies and job loss? Through fights and disagreements and angry words and offhand accusations? Through potty training and dating and breakups? Through broken glasses and broken vases and broken bowls and broken rear view mirrors and broken air conditioning?

in sickness and in health? Through Alzheimer's and broken hips? Through broken baby arms and broken teenage hearts? Through dialysis and parasites? Through vomiting and diarrhea and pneumonia and rsv? Through spinal headaches and blood patches? Through PMS?

for richer or for poorer? Through two incomes and one kid? Through frivolity and crazy spending? Through maxed out credit cards and cash advances? Through bill collectors and bankruptcy? Through crazy repo-men? Through, "We only have $20 for the next two weeks"?

Probably if the late minister had laid out just a few of the conditions behind those all-encompassing vows, we would have run as fast as we could in opposite directions. Who would knowingly sign up for that? The bottom line is we did sign up. And we keep at it every day, knowing that the future holds more good times, more sadness, more trials and tribulations that will test us and make us question our choices.

Today, I question nearly everything I do, say, wear, decide, dream and so forth. I don't question saying, "Yes," to all the knowns and unknowns that came along with marrying Brad Bell. That is one--perhaps the only--decision I know with absolute certainty was right.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reconciliation

Most days, I think of myself as a pretty good person. Not in an egotistical way, but in a doing the right thing most of the time and feeling more than the appropriate amount of guilt when I fall short way. I strive for selflessness, to put others' feelings, wants, and needs before my own, and try to be kind and compassionate to everyone with whom I meet and interact.


Unfortunately, under certain circumstances, I find myself feeling--not necessarily acting--completely contary to this persona I have worked so hard to build and maintain. Usually, these episodes are brought about by family of origin interactions. It takes but one simple action or statement, and I have regressed from the evolved and educated person I have tried to become to the spoiled, bratty, youngest child I was.


Growing up the youngest of seven children, with older parents, I learned not to be too needy, as no one really had the energy to deal with me. While I wasn't really one of those hey-look-at-me kids, a big part of me really wanted someone to look at me, and that has caused all sorts of turmoil my whole life.

Even now, as I aspire to put my own needs second to my husband's, my children's, even my friends' and extended family's, there is a part of me that still struggles with "Hey, Look at ME!" I repress that, ignore it, and occasionally engage it, only to feel terribly guilty afterwards.

So what to do about that? Selfishness is and always has been a big trigger for me, and I have read and studied enough to know this is because I'm unable to address my own selfishness. But I'm not sure how to address it without destroying all the work I've done over the last 10 years to make myself a better person. Even now, if I do something that I've designated a selfish act--buy something frivolous, go out without my husband or kids, sleep in, go to the library by myself--the guilt that wracks me afterward isn't worth the small thrill I felt while engaging my id.

Apparently, I just need to keep trying. I have noticed that over the past several years, fewer things and people trigger this reaction in me, but when they do...it's colossal.