Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Inside a Marriage After an Emotional Apocolypse

When Dave and I met, he was 22 and I was 27.  We met in one of the most foreign and beautiful countries on earth and we fell in love.  We had fun.  We laughed.  We swam in oceans and ate delightful things.  We sent long emails to each other and talked about life after Japan.

Then we moved together to England.  We had a transitional phase (read, we fought a lot) then we adjusted and grew into each other.  Adjustment gave way to confidence and acceptance and we became engaged.  We travelled to Rome and I discovered Europe.  Again, we ate breathtaking food, walked hand in hand all over the country and met Chuck D.

When we moved up to Scotland, the ease that had accompanied us in our preceding 3 years together disappeared and tension was a more constant companion.  He hated his job, I didn't like mine.  We lived in a good flat in a bad part of town.  I commuted 3 hours a day and hated it.  But the love was still there and while we had no social life, we loved our time together.  We planned a beautiful wedding and had a mini-moon.  But our hearts were not as happy as they had been.  Despite this, we planned for a baby.  Perhaps it wasn't the best of times, but it worked like a charm and we looked forward to her while being sick of life in the town where Dave was born.

Then she died.

And we've been tripping over our feet ever since.

The last 15 months since we lost Isla have been so indescribably difficult from an emotional, physical and psychological point of view. In regards to our marriage, we never dreamed of being where we are when we sunned on rocks by the river in rural Japan.  There have been times over the last year where we have been sick of each other.  That connection we felt so sure of has been strained by our grief.  It's a strange thing - to be simultaneously comforted by the person who understands you and your loss better than anyone else in the world and also want to be as far away from them as humanely possible.

The old us have gone.  We are completely different people.  There are shadows of our former personalities we can illuminate when we need to, but fundamentally, we are strangers to ourselves and to each other.  We have had some raw discussions, words and feelings that feel like bare-knuckled hits to our hearts.  Dave's eyes are no longer as shiny as they used to be.  My self-confidence ebbs at a low level and consequently, I need him to prop up my ego in a way that embarrasses me.

Marriage is hard, yo.  People say it all the time.  It's true.  It's about give and take, being high when he's low.  Watching your words.  Being kind even when you want to choke each other.  It's about thinking about the other person all the time and loving him all the time (liking him all the time is optional).

We're not going to get a divorce.  That's simply not an option nor has it ever been a consideration.  We're just starting over.  We've been together in Toronto now for 4 months.  We've transitioned for the last time.  There is no talk of "when this happens" or "when that happens".  It's just now.  We're working on ourselves and our relationship because it's the most important thing to us right now.

I finally read "The Happiness Project"as per Anna's recommendation and because my boss had a copy.  I didn't love it  because the author was already happy; she just wanted to be happier.  I think I'd be more pleased if it had been written by a person who had been devastated then learned a few things to be happy again.  I did, however, take away a few tenets that I've moulded to fit my life now:
1) Be brave.
2) Be kind.
3) Cut people slack.
4) Be selfish when you need to be.
5) Breathe.

I have been trying to remember and applying these things every time I talk to my husband.  He in turn is relaxing more which makes me relaxed.  We hug each other longer and sit closer together on the couch.  I'm listening to him more.  He's the father of my daughter and my partner in life.  I vowed to always save him the big piece of chicken and to be his safe place, and he vowed to unball his socks before throwing them in the laundry basket and to love me always and forever.  I love him more than anything.  I've decided to add his last name to my own.  We are a family.  I couldn't imagine going through all this with anyone else in spite it all. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011


I couldn't find the right image, so just remember the episode when Homer decided to suppress his rage.  You remember the one - when Bart drew a cartoon called Angry Dad because of Homer's episodic bouts with anger.  In an attempt to control his emotion, he decides to swallow it and as a result, he grew lumps that turned out to be boils.  His anger was manifested through these boils.

Now that I've set the scene, I can say that this is basically what has happened to me my whole life.  My pain, my anger, my stress manifests itself through my body.  I'll spare you the details, but I've had a very traumatic life.  I don't like to think about it or talk about it, and therein lies the problem.  I met with a homeopath for the first time tonight and we talked about a lot of stuff.  She took my history and said "ooh" and "ahh" and promised to get in touch with some remedies in a few days.  I don't usually think about all the terrible things that have happened prior to having Isla, but unfortunately, they're all connected.  My latest physical issue is connected to the birth and a culmination of how I deal with stress and trauma.  When she made this assessement, something clicked.  She said I'm intellectually capable of expressing myself, and I do a good job of it, but I'm emotionally suppressing and there is enough evidence to connect the dots that the mental, emotional and physical are all connected.

Of course, this can all be conjecture.  Of course, I can be so desperate for a "cure" that I'm willing to grasp on to anything.  I guess, we'll see.

I had a bad day today.  I really toughie.  I reached out and D caught me.  It's so hard sometimes, going through this thing.  Thanks for being there for me D, my sista from another mista.  Love you.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Goodbye Cable

Dear Rogers Extended Cable Package,

When you came into my life 5 months ago in the form of an offer of 6 months free, I really couldn't resist you. With over 900 channels including movies and music, you hit all the right spots. After 6 years away from American/Canadian programming , I indulged in your variety and overdosed on your banality. ANTM, The Bachelorette, nearly every program on HGTV-I lost hours of my life plugged into the inanity. But Movies-on-Demand, Boardwalk Empire, Spartacus; I anticipated my escapes into fantasy and history.

Despite the good, you're not worth the $96 a month. For a long time, I wished I could quit you, and now I will. In your place, I aim to sew and knit more, read more and study for my classes. I hope to have more meaningful conversations with my husband when he's not killing zombies on the Xbox. Perhaps we will get Netflix or Zip to continue with our addiction to films and dust off the old Scrabble to engage in some hardcore competitiveness.

So, so long Cable. You will be missed sometimes, but hopefully not all the time.

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