Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: marriage

Back To School

It’s back to school over here. When you’re married to a teacher, the transition from summer vacation to school back in session can be a harsh one.

After a few years of this, I’m noticing the pattern. The exhaustion on his part, the loneliness on mine. How comfortable we become with him being home and rested and not drowning in papers and activities. How disruptive it is the day it’s gone – no easing into it. One day we slept in until 7:30 a.m. and he was home for lunch, and the next a 5:30 a.m. alarm and not seeing each other for 18hrs.

It’s not being without him that’s so terrible, but that I also work alone – and so the days stretch out before me, taunting with all I could be doing or should be doing.

But this year I’m learning. I’m accepting the loneliness, inviting it in. I’m learning the awkwardness of now only having a few key hours in the evening to spend together – what what do we do with them? And I’m making sure to focus on what I need – sleep, exercise, lovely writings on the internet (here and here), podcasts, calls with friends and a general letting go of doing it all on my own.

He’s made extra effort to communicate when he’ll be home, what he can help with, checking in with me how I am feeling. These are all good things.

My aim is to feel better than I did last year, but more so, to not knuckle down until Thanksgiving, but to really see what this season brings to my work, my marriage and my creativity.

We Must Make the Most of the Time We Have Together – One Year of Marriage

Honestly, I didn’t think getting married would change much, but I was wrong.

I had hopes. Hopes that marriage would feel the way I feel when I hear another couple is getting hitched. Words like romance and commitment. Standing together, united as husband and wife.

I also thought I was above it. I’d considered having the Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russell chat long before we were engaged. Maybe we didn’t need to get married. We loved each other and knew we were committed. What did a piece of paper or a rings matter?

But, it turns out, they do. To me, to us. They matter.

Soon after our wedding, H started grad school. Two months later, my sister moved in with us. Needless to say, this is not how I pictured our first year of marriage. I felt like we weren’t on the same page – we didn’t have similar goals. I felt responsible for much of our home-life. He filled his time with work and grad school. My sister crashed on the floor in our office. I traveled a lot for work and was lonely. We were caught up in the every day.

Life took us for a ride this year – work, promotions, traveling, family, my sister living with us, grad school, celebrating friends, combining our finances, beginning the house hunt. All of it was good, but stressful. It pulled us away from each other.
And like all things, I put too much pressure on it. Being Married. On us. Being husband and wife. I thought, “how can you love, and be that vulnerable and not make a Big Deal out of it?”

It brings me back to a core problem, the “shoulds” vs the “wants”. As in, because we’re married, we should do this / act like this / be like this / love like this…

Twelve months later, here is what I know:

I want more of US creating the lives we want TOGETHER.

H has amazing intentions, is an awesome husband and his job is incredibly demanding.

We are fiercely supportive of each other.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

We had the luxury of a 4-day weekend for our anniversary, and that quality time was just what we needed. In the beautiful card H gave me, he wrote “I can only assume the time will continue to fly by and the years will pass, without any concern for us. This reinforces the idea that we must make the most of the time we have together.”

(I knew I married the right guy.)

Today, I feel like we’ve come full circle… that a year into marriage, I finally have the peace, the love, the romance that I hoped a wedding would bring us. And H is right – we must make the most of our time together. Life is precious and short and flies by.

Getting married was transformative. And it wasn’t. We are the same people we were before marriage, and yet, we’re not. It’s vulnerable and it’s peaceful. There’s a solidity to it. And I can only hope our love deepens in this next year, no matter what life throws our way. And that we make the most of the time we have together, always.

Love Is In The Air

Our Valentine’s Day plans were actually for Saturday, though H made a good display of it on Thursday evening, it being our 7.7 anniversary.

Since I’ve started running again, Saturdays are my long run day. I went out on my own with a Paperclipping Roundtable episode loaded on my phone for the hour+ run. It turned out perfectly, as I went 6 miles total, .5 farther than I planned (Woo!!)

So I was in a pretty awesome mood when I got back home, even before I spotted the HEART-SHAPED PANCAKES!

Yes – as I said the other day – H really is getting to be quite the romantic as we get older. There he was, pancake mold, bacon and berries, being all cooked up in our kitchen. Glorious.

But wait – there was even more…

He’d bought us a scavenger hunt from Urbanquest to take us through Venice beach. We headed out for our afternoon, parking near Abbot Kinney, and stopping by the Warby Parker school bus before starting near Market Street.

It took us from a mural on Market to a side-street near the water to the beach path. It was never too hard, so it always felt fun. The worst part ended up being the combination of 80* weather, 3-day weekend and the fact that Venice is a tourist trap – it was so crowded!

Still, with a pit-stop for ice cream, we completed our quest in a little under 2 hours. Afterwards, we enjoyed the weather some more by walking down to the Venice pier to meet friends for beers. Then it was on to our favorite restaurant for Mexican food, where I promptly consumed a 26 oz margarita, jalapeno poppers and a combination plate, and then felt way too drunk to walk back to the car.

It was an adventure. And considering this was our first Valentine’s day as a married couple, I’d say my husband hit it out of the park. Love him.

 

On Being Married – Half a Year

I mailed out our wedding thank-yous today, which is perfect because it’s our 6 month anniversary. People ask us over and over again, “So, how’s it being married?”

At first, it was a relief. Look at all of this time we have, the freedom of our energy and finances. It seemed our life was finally going to become so “normal” and we’d go on, literally, happily ever after.

For the first 4 months, I didn’t even understand I had expectations. Our relationship has always had ups and downs, just like anyone’s. Some weeks we’re kissing and hugging, others we’re touchy, ready to snap, most weeks have a casual and loving shine to them. Safety. Love. Comfort.

I didn’t understand that I expected something to change, for better or worse (pun intended) post-vows.
But of course, expectations are there to be challenged, shattered even.

Life went on post-wedding. I went back to work. H spent the rest of his summer break and then returned to work too. He made a spur-of-the-moment decision to start grad school. I was beyond supportive, thinking it was a perfect opportunity for him, and in turn, for us. I was sucked up into the vortex of work events and traveling. He was hardly home, working 12 or 15 hour days. All of a sudden, we were on parallel schedules and had different priorities.

  • I didn’t realize how much I expected our relationship to deepen because we’d gotten married.
  • I didn’t realize how much I wanted our relationship to become immediately awesome and even possibly, problem free because we were now husband and wife.
  • I didn’t realize how much I wanted him to act as if everything was more serious / important / special because we made our vows

To my credit, I never thought “We made a mistake. We never should’ve gotten married”. It’s not that, I know, though the idea of having made a life-long commitment still freaks me out. Sometimes I think we’re nuts for having taken the plunge, like what were we thinking in the sense of messing with a good thing.

But what I’ve realized after 6 months of being married is…

Our relationship has needs. We have needs. And if we’re not making those needs and “us” a priority, the rest of life rushes in to take its place. It’s up to us to create us.

We’re awesome, whether we’re married or not, in the same apartment or not, on the same page or not. So much of me wants things to be balanced and non-confrontational, but that’s not what life is. We’re two whole human beings, trying to live our lives together. There are bound to be differences, long conversations, miscommunications. But we always try to support each other, and we’re damn good together.

– It’s up to me to define and ask for what I need. And it’s up to me to be my own best friend, loving and listening, and doing all I can to fulfill my own needs. The more I depend on him for my happiness, the more miserable I can be. Yes, he makes me happy, but I am the one responsible for my happiness. I get to choose how I experience all of this.

I’m not the only one. At Christmas dinner we all shared challenges and successes of 2012. And he said, “Being a husband. Having a wife” which made me love him even more. He felt the stress, the shifts too. He understands that I want more or that he needs to focus his energy. Being married is not easy, but I’m not in this alone.

– I am proud of us. We’ve been together 10 years, through 3 colleges, 5 states, long-distance, 3 apartments just in LA and the crazy year of our wedding and honeymoon. We’re still in love, we’re still happy together, and we have built and are building an awesome life.

– I am blessed. Whether or not he can read my mind, he always tries to give me what I want. Whether or not I am easy-going enough for him, I always try to go along with his fun plans. And at the end of the day, I love him – for how he treats me, how he lives his life and for how funny and smart he is.

I picked a good one. And I can only trust he feels the same.

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life”
Mumford and Sons

 

This Grateful Season – Kick Ass Wedding Weekend

I may never get around to writing the full-on wedding post, but it can’t go without mention. I use this grateful season to recap my year and if 2012 was anything it was the year of our wedding. I know it’s a cliche, but the whole day, the entire weekend, was perfect. It proved again and again that trusting my life to unfold brings so much more goodness than I could ever imagine alone.

I have so many amazing memories – playing watermelon rugby with our friends after the rehearsal dinner of bbq, the crazy buzz of excitement during the rehearsal, rehearsing our wedding vows with our friend who officiated while my dad drove us back to the house (later he told my mom he teared up listening to us). My pre-wedding private yoga class, my mom’s face when the hair dresser put my veil on, how my friend dropped a bottle of fizzy wine and it exploded all over the kitchen (luckily I wasn’t dressed yet). Sitting in the bridal suite with my dad, the view of the reception patio from where we took our photos, seeing my friend almost cry when she said my name, laughing during our ceremony, H’s step-mom loving our second dance song, our LA friend professing his love to us and our one table of friends toasting “La-dasha!” all night.

How our friends and family were so absolutely in love with us that I was overwhelmed with emotion. And how amazing it felt to stand up in front of everyone with H, this guy I’ve grown up with for 10 years, and speak our vows to each other, and then experience one of the best parties we’ve ever been to (if I do say so myself) and celebrate all of our hard work and love that we put into that day and our relationship together.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Thie Grateful Season – Honeymooning

 

 

 

One of the best parts about getting married, or more so, planning a wedding, is the honeymoon. My husband planned the entire thing by himself, I just gave him feedback on what I did and didn’t want to do. We chose Hawaii because I need beach, exotic, romantic and umbrella drinks and he needs activities, variety and fun. It was the perfect mix for our personalities.

Though this was our first real vacation together in our relationship history (10 years!) we had some lessons to learn. I need way more sleep, downtime and quiet than one “should” need on vacation in H’s family. He needs more of a diverse set of activities and entertainment than my family would ever want on vacation. Add to that mix a cranky me (wedding hangover?) and stressed him (too much scheduled) and pouring rain, and you have a recipe for unhappiness.

While my honeymoon wasn’t everything I’d hoped for – the downtime to just be together, the romance, the good food (aspht) were kind of lacking – we still had an amazing time. And it was a unique experience only we could’ve had. And now I’m excited to go back again to really dig into the best parts of the islands. And even excited to go on vacation together again – knowing better what we both need and want from the time away.

You can read the posts I put up during our travels here: Hawaii

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Fleas

The pup’s been flea-infested for a few weeks now. We think he picked them up from a friend’s backyard, and with the hot weather and lack of strategic elimination on our part, they weren’t going away. While I vacuumed a ton and bathed him, it just wasn’t working.

H never seemed particularly alarmed by this, which only served to drive me nuts. I kept myself on the neutral side of complete melt-down by reassuring myself the humans in the house weren’t experiencing the fleas (yet) and that the problem wasn’t getting worse. Each day I’d ask the dog to lay on his side and pick a few fleas from his bottom. Then we’d go on our merry way.

While our travels are not over, one of us will be home the next few weekends and the dog won’t need to stay overnight anywhere. And so, today was the day I dealt with the flea issue.

An 8:30AM call to the vet gave me a boat-load of information. I was to buy diatomaceous earth, vacuum the carpet, cover the carpet with this floury substance, bathe the dog and treat him with flea prevention meds of only the highest quality.

3 hours of my evening went to this project. The good news: I haven’t seen a flea on the dog since. The bad: our apartment is covered in a fine film of white dust. H was not impressed, so much so that when he came home he suggested we just rip up the carpet and live with the concrete temporarily… which was my gross-carpet-fix suggestion all along, even pre-fleas!

“What changed?” I asked

“White powder all over the carpet…?” he said.

Whatever. I didn’t continue the conversation. I am annoyed that I finally took action to fix this problem, and spent my entire evening doing so, and it seemed to do nothing but drive him to take a drastic measure (one I had suggested and he had shot down for 2 months now).

Shitty for us tonight. I got into a hot bath and soothed myself with water and a book. It’s most aggravating when I think I’m doing something for us, even for him, to lessen the chore burden because I know he’s tired, to improve the quality of our life and home, to check something off our list… but it just doesn’t ring the same for him.

Someone suggested I read this book, and after a quick read through of this PDF, I can see tonight was a prime example of speaking different languages. Now the question is – what to do about it, when he’s gone to bed and I’m still feeling unappreciated…?

 

 

 

Been Here All Along

We’ve been home for 38 hours or so, and even though I was at the office most of the day, I am still baffled by all of the free time there is to spend here in our apartment.

I’ve cooked a few meals, washed dishes, slept, read a book late into the night, ran laundry, showered twice, walked the dog, driven my car, unpacked a bag and then repacked a different one.

I knew the wedding took up a lot of space in our lives, especially mental and emotional energy for me, but the relief of being here with none of those pressing matters is more than I anticipated. It’s freedom and comfort at the same time. It’s absolute solace.

Tonight while I chopped veggies for guacamole, H turned from the grill where he was tending turkey burgers, and said “Wife” in this joking voice we use that sounds like a 16th century Englishman. And then he walked over to me, leaned in for a kiss, and then graced my forehead with another.

Wife.

We’re both reassured, I think, now that it’s all passed, that we made the right decision. That emotionally we were there, our hearts entwined for a deeper commitment to unfold, and that grappling with the concrete demands of wedding planning and family issues kept sucking us away from each other and our selves.

Now we can rest. I’m devouring a new book and he’s enjoying hours of an old school skate game. There doesn’t seem to be much reason to leave the house. We both keep fingering our rings, the newness still not worn off, the odd surge of energy whenever one of us uses the words husband or wife. It’s all so different, and yet somehow familiar, like we’ve been here before.

But I think it’s because we’ve been here all along.

Back Home

We’re finally home.

After 20 days away, 6 plane rides, 5 different location stays, 4 rental cars, sunburn, drinking, friends, alone time and love, our wedding and honeymoon are over.

Relief outweighs sadness. Though going back to work tomorrow will be tough, I am looking forward to gaining back a routine that is our life *not* tinged with the underlying panic / excitement of wedding planning. Where those extra hours in a week are there for movie watching, grilling, friends, reading, organizing and exploring our city.

This morning we stumbled off the red-eye, got our bags, taxied it to our friend’s house to pick up the dog, unpacked and ran laundry, gave the dog a bath, went out for breakfast, napped, watched TV, read a book, and food shopped. After frozen pizza and a beer, an organizing whim took me over and I reorganized all of our toiletries and the medicine cabinet. I want to go through my clothing next, but I’d say that’s enough for one day back.

I would like to write about the wedding in all its fabulousness, the ups and downs of the honeymoon, my plans for August, our bigger plans for the future, whatever feelings are coming up about being married and a wife (seriously, eek) and what I’ve been reading and plan to read before September.

But right now, we’re all exhausted.

 

Looking forward to a cuddle and nice long night of sleep in my own bed this evening.

 

Snorkeling – Maui

This view isn’t getting old anytime soon. I wrote my morning pages and ate breakfast out on the patio as planned. We didn’t have anything specific planned for today, so H decided we’d drive to south Maui and go snorkeling.

Now, I’ve never been snorkeling but I like the idea of it. I love fish and I love the ocean, so it should be instant love. However, last year H and I were caught in a rip right at our local beach (near the Venice Beach pier). Having no idea what was happening, of course I panicked, and a life guard came to my rescue. It was scary shit.

So when today’s first snorkel location looked like this, I wasn’t pleased:

My inability to calm my racing nerves, the pull of the tide, the waves breaking over these rocks and H’s insistence that I would be fine made this morning’s adventure not fun at all. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with H – that he was rushing me, pressuring me to move on to the next thing and pack in as much as possible. I was tired from our trip and looking forward to a relaxing first full day on vacation.

It took a car ride nap and a small discussion to sort things out.

Soon after, we found a beach near mile marker 14 that is not recommended by our guide book, but was a great place for me to acclimate to the snorkeling part of the swimming activity. It was splendid.

And once I did that, I felt ready enough to try Honolua Bay, which we did this afternoon. No pics of that though, since we’re paranoid people will steal our stuff.

Can’t wait to snorkel again.