my marriage is weird, bizzare, strange, and BLESSED…

i’ve come to realize over the past few weeks (mostly week and half) that my marriage is abnormal.

this is not a bad thing.

i am taking a sociology class right now that has several married people, several with kids, 2 married with kids, and the rest single peeps. there are 25 or so of us. as we talk about things in life as they relate to sociology (marriage, porn, homophobia) a lot of our personal lives come up and we take a stand for our beliefs. that usually leaves me in the minority (for example when i was the ONLY person in class who thought that porn degrading women should be banned). people pitied me for having to stand alone in my beliefs, made fun of my position though i was not given the opportunity to defend my beliefs and what they are and why i believe them (we broke into groups and i was in the ‘it’s not great for women, but porn shouldn’t be banned’ group).

i’m getting off topic. redirecting…

in class, we talk a lot about our own personal relationships. i have discovered that i have the only truly egalitarian marriage in class. we are truly equals in everything. there are no ‘my education comes first and you come second’ addendums, i don’t have in-laws trying to force their beliefs on to me or my husband. our families believe that it is OUR life and we can live it how we want. neither of us are spending any of our time trying to appease family members. we don’t argue about chores, we don’t argue about anything.

even when i burn james with a pizza pan 5 minutes out of the oven…

the thing is, at the end of the day, one thing is the most important for me (i’m sure for james, too). was my presence a blessing to him? were my words helpful or harmful? was his life improved today because of me, my presence, my actions, my words, my attitude?

this appears to be a missing function in a lot of the marriages and relationships in my class. there is one girl who hopes, who dreams, who wants to have a marriage just like mine. she thinks she’s being an idealist, but the truth is, she can have it! she, of course, needs to have the right attitude as well.

i’m not saying that my marriage is perfect, because it isn’t. we disagree on things, we get to the brink of what could be a fight, but we realize that it’s not WORTH fighting about. it’s not WORTH getting into an argument. if i was emptying out the checking account? yeah, problem. he’s putting wet towels in the dirty clothes instead of the towel basket? not a terribly big deal, but not the way i’d like things done. worth an argument? no. worth bringing up to make my laundry-doing life a little easier? certainly.

i never realized how strange my marriage is. i hardly ever realized how strange our dating relationship was. i never realized that we’re pretty much the only people i know who do things the way we do. we talk about anything and everything. we bring it up. we talk about sex. during sex. we talk about our crazies, about what’s acceptable, what’s not, what we like, how chores will be done, who likes to do what. we talk about doing something active before settling in for the evening. we try to get into the other person’s interests and heck, even make them our own. because at the end of the day, i want his life to better because i’m in it. he wants my life to be better because he’s in it. this leaves little room for selfishness. there’s still some there, don’t get me wrong, but honestly, i don’t think there’s a whole lot.

people keep telling me to give it time, things will change, my marriage will end up just like every other unhappy marriage out there. HOW DEPRESSING!! i don’t WANT my marriage to be like that. i’d like to think that i would fight to the ends of the earth to keep my marriage the way it is. i know it won’t be honeymoon stage forever, but even 2 years from now, i’d like to think that it’s still the most important to me that his life is improved because of me. that his health, happiness, and fulfillment is most important to me and mine to him.

i know this will take work. i know that it won’t be easy. i know that there WILL be days that i don’t like him, i don’t necessarily want him around, but i think that it’s not too much to think that things won’t get much worse than they are right now. especially if we keep talking, especially if we stay open. he’s my number 1 supporter on this planet and i’m his. it’s going to take work to remember that, but i think it will be SO worth it to remember. to always remember that we’re on the same team, working toward the same goal, heading to the same place at the end.

“open-minded” people…

i know, i USUALLY don’t post twice in one day, but i really REALLY just have to get this off my chest.

i love that the people of my college are so open minded and accepting of everyone’s ideas and opinions. except christians. and republicans.

because apparently our point of view doesn’t count.

especially if we’re both (though i consider myself apolitical).

it never ceases to offend me when those who say that we should all just be human and be allowed to act as we want and have the roles that we want as long as those roles are consistent with what they believe to be acceptable. If a person believes in a patriarchal society where men are “in charge”, making decisions, whatever – that is unacceptable. this person’s mind MUST be changed because they are thinking wrong. maybe i’m missing something, but i fail to see the open-mindedness there.

before going on, however, i should clarify that i’m all about an egalitarian society.

anyway, throughout my college career, though unknownst to most of my classmates, i’ve been the brunt of their crude jokes, their stereotypical commentary, their crass remarks. i get it. everyone GETS it. people of faith have no real input to give, no real ideas to put out, nothing to contribute. if we claim to be a christian, suddenly everything we say has been invalidated because we believe in a book that says that women aren’t supposed to talk. because that’s all the Bible says, right? there isn’t anything else in there that’s of value. and we believe that women are subordinate to men and that we aren’t allowed to express our opinion because we all believe that women belong in the home, taking care of kids, and supporting her husband’s career. i mean, really, that’s what christianity is all about, isn’t it?

and hey, while we’re at it, i guess i don’t even see why i keep this blog going. what could i possibly have to say that of importance? we christians don’t HAVE original thoughts. we just believe in archaic ways of thinking and acting, have NO interest in social change and societal improvement, judge all who drink and are gay, and go home and read our Bibles every night. unless we’re the women, then we cook, clean and take care of the kids too. but we as christians have nothing to give to society so we might as well just keep our mouths shut and go about our business and think about how much we love patriarchy and Jesus.

i know that people have been exposed to phony christians, bad churches, all those things but isn’t it FAR more archaic to generalize the behaviours of the few onto the many? how many people would be offended if we were to ask a token male or token black person to speak for their gender or their race? that is only ONE person with THEIR own experiences with THEIR own life. they cannot possibly speak for millions of other people.

these SAME classmates who would never dream of categorizing the members of their subculture into one mass with the same mind, the same thoughts have NO problem doing it to other subcultures. they have no problem disrespecting people who have dissenting opinions. but we had better respect their opinions. because they have something worthwhile to say so we had better listen to them too. we had better give ear to all their words and consider them very carefully.

i guess i find it better, myself, to not say anything if you’re ignorant about a subject. i mean, look through my blog. how many political posts are there? i’d bet zero. MMAAAAYYYYBE one. maybe. why is that? probably because i know nothing about politics. nor do i care to but i’m not about to start disrespecting those who care about politics. i’m not about to generalize every person who likes politics. i’m not about to categorize every democrat as the same and every republican as the same. i realize that people are unique with their own experiences, their own stories, their own lives. being political is only ONE aspect of what makes that person THAT person. and just because they belong to one party or the other doesn’t invalidate everything they say. their thoughts, their words are JUST as valuable as anybody else’s words because they are unique. those thoughts were created and filtered through a UNIQUE person with UNIQUE experiences.

it doesn’t mean their thoughts are wrong!!

i would love to be able to speak up in class and point out these blatant ignorances, these harsh stereotypes, but i fear that i will be very offensive about it. i don’t WANT to be offensive, i CERTAINLY don’t want to add to the list of reasons why they are intolerant of christians and feel that they must demean them every chance they get. i wish i understood why it’s acceptable to make fun of this particular group but would be considered harassment if it was any other group. i mean, if we talked about feminists the way people talk about christians, we’d probably get kicked out of school. ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but it simply seems to be acceptable to propagate these kinds of thoughts and these kinds of stereotypes and quite frankly, i’m getting sick of it.

maybe you noticed.

my awesome little garden…

this was our garden a month ago:

this is our garden as of this morning:

notice little vinety tendril things doing their cling thing:

notice flowers soon to become veggies:

so all in all, i’m VERY excited about our little garden and how well it’s doing. i mean, seriously. who would have ever thought that i would/could have a garden in my little apartment and to have it THRIVE?!?! the tomato plants are HUGE and i’m LOVING it!!! and the beans are doing really well (minus the one that just died and i don’t know why). and my cucs are FINALLY growing. i’ve given away over 20 plants and ours always seemed like the smallest whenever i saw other people’s cucs, but then again, ours were the youngest. we gave away all the older, bigger ones. but they’re doing JUST fine now.

so anyway, i didn’t really have anything to big to say or share, but REALLY wanted to give you an update on my thriving plants. YAY!!


jumping on the bandwagon, sort of…

i have to be honest, i was interested at the beginning of this summer when a few people i knew were starting a plan to lose weight. they wanted to eat better, exercise more, etc., etc. it all started popping up shortly before my wedding and i figured i’d join up after once everything settled down. then wordpress became weight loss central. it seemed like almost everywhere i looked, people were dieting, counting calories, joining a gym and everyone wanted to share, brag, cry, and whatever else with the blogging world. and that completely turned me off. wherever i went to look and peek and browse around at new blogs seemed to have a weight loss story or links all over the place or that’s simply all they talked about.

so i said ‘no, thanks’ and went about my way.

now that summer is halfway over, i’ve noticed that i’ve gained a bit. maybe 5 or 10 pounds, not much to be honest, but i can SEE it. i can tell that i look different than i did at the beginning of the summer. i had noticed that my clothes were fitting a little tighter but didn’t (want to) think much of it. i fluctuated between gaining and losing, too. some days things fit better, some days, things fit worse. i’ve been thinking about it a little bit over the weekend and i figured it out.

i’ve become comfortable. yeah, i do some stuff outside and some stuff inside and i run sometimes and then i eat whatever i want. a LOT of it, too. we’ve simply gotten into a rhythm of life and daily living and i’m ENJOYING it for the most part. i’m not quite gasping for breath at the top of the stairs, but it’s taking effort. i’m much more tired but i just sleep longer. and those awesome jeans that i just bought a few months ago are now creating a wonderful little muffin top…

i enjoy being active. i love being outside. i’m just finding that recently, i’m inside more often than not and sitting, not really doing anything. the big thing, though, is that i’m ENJOYING my time, my life. i think that’s huge. however, i would like to be able to walk up the steps with little to no effort. i’d like to be able to run a 20-25 min 5k. i’d like those jeans to fit and look GOOD again someday when i’d actually start wearing them again.

i know that’s not going to happen overnight. i know that’s not going to happen without changing a few things. nothing drastic, but just little changes. being intentional about doing some active everyday. playing catch, playing frisbee. going for a bike ride. going for a walk. going for a run. watching my portion sizes. eating healthier things. not grilling three times a week (even though it’s SSSOOOOO good!!). those type of things require, at least for a while, living outside the comfortable. living outside the easy way. it’s so, SO easy to get caught up in the day to day things, being too tired or whatever to do the things that need to be done.

this is NOT going to become a diet blog. no weekly updates, nothing like that. i promise. maybe an update from time to time as i’m planning on running a 5k in the fall. i’ve realized, though, that half the battle is simply the realization that things need to change just a little bit. awareness. i don’t have to give anything up. i don’t have to drastically change my life or my lifestyle. simply altering two or three things a little bit is enough to make a difference. this is true of life in general, too. it’s so easy to simply fall into the rut of the daily activities. this doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, either. there ARE good habits to have and falling into a rut of good habits… well, i’m not sure i can really complain about that.

what i do know is things need to change just a little bit. i need to become more aware of what activities i’m allowing to pervade my life, the extent to which i let them pervade, and what other activities could certainly move to the forefront. i need to remember what my priorities are. i need to remember the OTHER things i like to do. i need to remember that not everything easy is good and not everything good is easy. i love my home, my husband, my life. there is so little that is bad and i’m SO grateful for that. now it’s time to starting slowing adding other things are truly great as well. things that i ENJOY so much but have simply pushed to the back burner. it’s time to experiment with cooking and making all kinds of food, not just the stuff that comes out of a box. it’s time to live life to the full and experience other wonderful things out there.

i’m certain this will not be the last time that i come to this realization and make some changes, but i’m glad that i’ve seen this. i’m glad that i have someone who will willingly make these changes with me. i’m glad that we are adaptable and up for new challenges and opportunities. i’m glad that we are always there for each other. i’m glad that we can enjoy so many things together, that we are so much alike, that we have so many opportunities to do fun, new things and meet new people. i can’t wait to see where this new adventure, and these new challenges, will take us. it’s going to be quite a ride.

when there’s simply nothing (or too much) to say…

i know that i have been absent here as of late. part of that was intentionally and part of it wasn’t. i had planned on coming back full force after my little break and somehow, that just hasn’t happened. i haven’t had things to say, nothing has really been happening. except that really isn’t the truth. in all reality, a lot has been happening and i have a lot to say.

however, i’m just not sure if this is the place to dive into all of that stuff. i’m an emotional person. i make emotional decisions, i write emotionally, all sorts of things. logic isn’t my strong suit when it comes to, well, life in general.

i’ve decided that this counseling class is really good. it’s actually the last day of class today (i ended up getting up early and after reading a few fellow blogs, i decided that i have plenty of time to write one of my own. even if that means i have to drive today instead of bike. sometimes other things are more important.). this being the last day of class and having to give a short presentation today, i’ve been reflecting on the past three weeks, the things i’ve talked about, the things i’ve shared, the things that have happened.

i’ve talked most of it out with my fellow student(s). i wasn’t afraid to be real in front of them, in front of the camera, on tape. i wasn’t afraid to dive into touchy topics and share part of my soul with them. part of that is just my personality. part of it is that i needed someone else to talk to. i needed an objective third party for some of those talks. i needed someone to listen who doesn’t know the back story, who doesn’t know the players, who just doesn’t know.

i needed someone to listen when i had so many feelings and thoughts to sort out when i randomly saw colton. i needed someone who wasn’t wrapped up in the situation. someone who has no feelings toward him (or even me for that matter). i needed to sort through the whys and hows and whats of my feelings and my attitudes and behaviours toward him without having to worry about what i share and how i’m saying it and how it might affect the person i’m telling. i needed someone who could be totally logical, totally objective, and dive to what could be the heart of the issue. to ask the questions that haven’t been asked. the questions that only someone who doesn’t know anything can ask.

i’ve found myself trying to sort through these thoughts and emotions that have been everywhere since the sighting. i find myself engaging in ‘what could have been’ conversations, in ‘what if i’d talked to him’ conversations and i don’t like who i am when he is in the picture. i find that my defenses run so high, the wounds run so deep, that it’s impossible for me to even imagine a civil conversation. at the end of the day, though, the one thing that i would love is to be able to HAVE that civil conversation. to be able to be pleasant, not necessarily be friends, but almost. to see him and not freak out, to talk and not have to take every thought and word captive and search it before it comes out. in fact, right now, there are so many thoughts and words that it would be impossible. i would have to keep my mouth shut the whole time.

they say you can’t be friends with your exes. i agree with that and disagree at the same time. obviously, it depends on what the relationship was, how it ended, the blend of personalities. it depends on if it was mutual or one-sided. it depends on the explanation given. it depends on the believability of that explanation – even if it’s true. it depends on how it was restoried in the mind. it depends on so many things.

can i ever be friends with colton? i don’t think i can. in 10, 20 years? i don’t know. there are so many things about him as a person that i completely dislike and disrespect that i don’t think i ever could. i met someone who reminds me totally and completely of him and i’ve lost all respect for that person. i find myself annoyed when he pops up on my radar. i know they’re NOT the same person, i know this other person has done nothing to me, but i have no respect for him. i honestly wish he would go away. i wish a lot of things but i know that they’re not going to happen.

i don’t know what it’s going to take, how long or anything for me to get over him, to get over this, to be able to move on with my life. as some people have mentioned, i’m married now. i have a whole new life waiting to begin fully. i have all sorts of things that i want to do but find myself lacking in motivation. i think that a lot of it has to with the fact that i’m trying so hard to block these thoughts – to make them go away. i’ve been finding things to do that require my attention, my thoughts and don’t leave room for my mind to wander. which means that i’ve been avoiding things that allow my mind to roam freely. i don’t want to think about this, about him, anymore but i’m at a loss at how to do that. i’m learning to switch my train of thought and stop thoughts when he comes up, divert my attention, but i don’t think that’s actually DEALING with the problem. it’s just avoiding the problem. i don’t know if talking about it more will help. i don’t know if ignoring will help. i thought my answers would help but, of course, they didn’t. i’m hoping that i’m becoming mature enough to recognize these things. i’m hoping that i’m actually growing through all of this. i’m hoping that i’m not being annoying.

i’m hoping for a lot of things…

helping…

i don’t think that it’s a secret, but i’ll tell you anyway. i’m going into the helping profession. you know, counseling, psychology, whatever you want to call it.

now, i firmly believe that this is where i’m supposed to be and what i’m supposed to be doing. i really really do. i just sometimes have a hard time with certain aspects of it. i want to help people. i want to help families. i want to help marriages. i don’t just want them to survive, i want them to THRIVE. i’m so passionate about that.

it just seems like everything i’m learning is pointing toward aloofness and disconnectedness with a client. i know that i’m just starting out and i don’t really know anything and haven’t done much for ‘professional counseling’ but i don’t like what i’m learning. it just seems like all the counseling that i went through and hated. cold, removed, aimed at… i don’t even know what.

now, i know i’m not supposed to be their best friend, i get that. i know that i have to draw the line between professional and unprofessional. i know that i have to establish credibility as well as earn the trust of the client if i’m ever going to be able to help them.

it’s just… it’s just that something doesn’t sit well with me in all of this. there’s something that i’m having a really difficult time swallowing. i see that when i’m “counseling” with my classmates. of course people aren’t going to open up with all their life’s problems in a three week class, i know that. so i try to practice summarizing and paraphrasing, asking open ended questions and mirroring my patient’s movements. i am trying to learn about proper self-disclosure and when and where that’s appropriate and how much to tell and why and where and what.

and yet, i talk to my friends and my husband and they tell me what’s going on in their lives and it’s as though none of these skills are appropriate. i know that it has to do with that line of professional and unprofessional, connected and disconnected. they talk to me and i try to draw upon the skills i’m learning to get out what they’re trying to say and it’s like ‘this stuff isn’t me!!!’

how do you turn feelings and emotions and things that are so deeply in a person into adequate words? how do you become a person that is worthy of taking that journey with them? is it ok to be a counselor/professional who will curl up on the couch with a patient with a cup of hot chocolate and listen? or do i have to sit across an open space in uncomfortable chairs? do i have to ask seemingly cliche questions? how do i be empathetic while being professional? is it ok to cry with a client?

i feel like so much of who i am longs to connect so much more deeply with those who i help than seems to be allowed by “the rules”. i know how to ask questions to get more information. i know how to draw out the facts that i want. i know to be quiet and let someone think and say what they want in their own time. but somehow, over the last week and half of this course, it seems like i’m doing everything wrong. it seems like i’m caring too much about the person behind the story.

maybe it’s because of the secular focus of the book. of the class. of the profession. maybe i don’t understand people as well as i think i do. maybe i only interact with a few kinds of people and maybe it’s that they’re my closest friends. maybe it’s because i’m so out of the element in which i want to work. talking with a grad student about a fear of bugs isn’t exactly what i had in mind for my work.

maybe i’m just tired and thinking too much.

maybe i’m afraid of spending money on a new degree that has the chance of turning out just as poorly as the last one did. maybe i’m afraid of spending time learning skills that may not benefit anyone.

maybe i’m afraid that i’m not good enough to help people…

remember what’s important…

i took a break for a few reasons.

first off, i was really, really tired all the time. feeling no motivation, no nothing to do anything. no one wants to read a mindless post that has no meaning, no direction, no semblance of order. no one wants to read a half-hearted post. my last few posts have sort of been those. i felt as though i needed to put something up, so i put something up that was easy to write, easy to post. they weren’t terrible or worthless by any stretch, but they weren’t what i want this blog to be. i don’t want this blog to become ‘here’s a recount of everything i’m doing with my days’. i mean, my life isn’t that interesting to warrant something like that and by about the second day, nobody cares anymore. continuous daily recounts are boring.

secondly, continuing along that vein, i didn’t feel like i had anything to say. i didn’t have anything to share with everyone. i’ve been bored a lot but too tired to do anything. my energy has been sapped for a while. maybe precisely because i wasn’t doing anything. i had no experiences worth sharing, no ideas worth saying, nothing that could be expounded upon enough to have a full blog post. short posts are fine, i know that, but i don’t want to be a micro-blogger all the time. or a blurb blogger, whatever. i want people to come here because they know that whatever i’m about to say is going to be good, is going to be worth thinking about, is going to CAUSE thinking and is going to be something worth writing and reading about.

i also had a realization not too long ago, maybe a few months now, but still very recently. i was looking around at all the ways i was out there on the internet. and i began wondering WHY. WHY am i so out there? what’s the purpose of having a youtube site that i don’t do anything with, twitter that i’m never on, flickr that i’ll never update. why have i put myself so out there? i realized that i did all that for the attention i had hoped it would bring. it wasn’t because i thought i had something really really worthwhile, it was because i HOPED that i did and that people would realize it. i wasn’t out there to connect with people. i was out there so someone would pay attention to me. i also realized that i’m not that important. i’m not that important that i need to bother people with trivial things. i don’t need to put every thought i have out there. i don’t need to see how many people i can have follow me on twitter. i don’t need to see how many youtube or flickr hits i get. especially when i know and i see that it isn’t much if any. the world of people out there are not interested in finding me. there is a world of people who i’ve met who ARE interested and i need to learn to be content with that. i need to stop thinking that i’m so important.

i needed to remember what IS important. i needed to remember why it is that i do blog. i needed to remember that those whose blogs i read and those who i’ve befriended are enough, are worth my time, and i’m worth theirs. i may not have 200 people who read this every time i post and i may not get 100 comments but who ever said that’s what i needed in order to make this worthwhile? who ever said that it’s the number of readers and commenters that determine the quality and worthwhileness of a blog and therefore the author of said blog?

after all, people aren’t going to find me unless i take the time to go out and find them and read them and discover them. not many, at least. i’ve perused the world of wordpress a few times and come across very very few blogs i’d like to read. if i want to have 200 people reading my blog, then i need to go out and discover 300 blogs. i need to get out there too. but then again, if i’m writing just to have 200 people read, then why i am i writing? what is the purpose of that? for who i am writing? me? them? the comments?

i think that if i have something worthwhile to say, the comments of those who are know me are enough. if i have something worthwhile to say, that ALONE is enough. part of blogging is having accountability to write and get things down so that i remember them. i don’t journal well on my own. having my own audience isn’t enough to keep me keeping track of life and its events.

sometimes, it’s having one of the worst things you could possibly imagine ever happening ACTUALLY HAPPENING and having nothing come of it. sometimes it’s randomly running into the person you never want to see again and having everything be ok. have no word spoken and just walk away. sometimes it’s seeing those things and realizing the life moves on. life continues happening no matter what. so it’s my job to continue happening with life. to continue to keep my eyes to the future and not to the past. to pray that they are happy and content and to pray the same happiness for myself. sometimes it’s taking a step out of the limelight and seeing what else is going on around you.

it’s hard for me to stop looking at myself sometimes, to look at others. i’ve come to realize, though, that it is necessary at times. it is necessary to look away from myself and look toward others even though that is extremely difficult to do for me.

i read through my old blogs on friday. i’ve come such a long way in 5 years. it has been an INCREDIBLE journey through mountain-top highs and depths of hell lows and somehow, i ended up here. it’s been amazing watching my own journey of faith – watching myself develop and grow and mature into the faith that i have today and to remember the events that caused that faith to grow and mature and develop into what is now. to relive the events, even if ever so briefly. to remember the events that fill in the gaps between posts. to remember the person i was then and see the person i am now and to be PROUD of the person i am now.

this time off has been just the rejuvenation that i’ve needed and i’m glad that i took the time over the weekend to catch up with everyone before posting my own thoughts. i’m glad to see that world kept turning while i was away, but that the world did not forget about me, either. i look forward to coming back now and writing when i have something worthwhile to say. and putting up more pictures of my garden which is growing amazingly!

thank you for your encouragement as i took some time to rediscover who i am and what i’m about. i wouldn’t trade in my blog friends for the world. you all rock!