I am married. Saying that makes me feel… weird. Why should that make me feel anything but Disney princess wonnnnnnderful? (I think I’m supposed to be twirling when I say that.) I guess it’s because I want to think I am Ms. Pusher Of Boundaries, Ms. Tough Broad, and that I don’t like to be told what or who I am, to be given labels or to step into roles that are, to me, defined by the patriarchy. However, I truly love a man who loves me, and because of that it seems like the right thing to do, to officially declare our ‘forever’ status. Honestly though? I have felt and am still feeling, since we got married, that inner fifties housewife “GIVEMEAMARTINIRIGHTNOWBEFOREIHANGMYSELFWITHTHEVACUUMCORD” rage when I see he’s left his coffee mug on the table as opposed to putting it in the dishwasher as he should and as I do every day for the billionth time, even though I ask him, tell him, bitch at him, beg him. I try not to nag, to smile sweetly as I wipe his pubic hairs and questionable brown flecks that always seem to appear every few hours off of the toilet seat. I try to cook for us and fail. I clean and wonder why for God’s sake he can’t, or maybe is it won’t, see the cat litter strewn about the floor, the coat he carries past the closet full of hangers to lay across the couch, the dirty frying pan and splatters of his morning over easy egg making on the stove I wipe down every day even though I eat Greek yogurt for breakfast. I hear ‘wife’, ‘Mrs.’, ‘married’, and my skin still crawls, although with time passing that is happening less and being replaced with a general sense of warmth. Not the normal response, amiright? What the hell is wrong with me?!
I was, on the day of our wedding, in a near constant state of bliss. On a cloud with the man of my dreams. Cheeseball, but true. It was truly amazing on the day of, but now I look back on it and am almost pissed at something in particular, amongst the bazillion memories of joy. A handful of people came up to us that day and said something to the effect of “Oh my gosh, I have never seen you so romantic and happy – I had no idea the two of you are so passionately in love!” which felt like a backhanded compliment then and now. WE LIVE TOGETHER, I want to scream. OF COURSE I LOVE HIM, I FOLD HIS UNDERWEAR. AFTER NINE YEARS YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED THIS OUT?! It took some PDA (we’re not normally huge proponents) and our vows for you to see that? And you HADN’T seen it before and were willing to let us go into this whole thing without ever mentioning that love might be an important ingredient in this fucked up thing called marriage? Gah! So even on that beautiful day, I found something to be pissed about with all of this, even if it was only for a second. Why can’t I just let things roll off of my back like everyone else seems to? To other people, and maybe to myself, I am never totally happy, I am not the sweet little wifey, and now I realize that. And I’m pissed! At what, I’m not sure – me? Him? Us? Them? Sigh.
But why does it all make me angry? I have no right to be truly angry at him. The man I have ‘hitched my wagon to’ is the most accepting, patient, generous person I have ever met. He is the only person that I truly feel has accepted all of my bullshit, my depression, my drama, my bitchiness, my angerrrrrrrrr, and sometimes I wonder if it’s just for the sex and the house being cleaned. I know I make him nuts sometimes. Most of the time. I see his shoulders rise when I’m complaining about how messy he is, I see him flinch when I take in a breath to start a sentence because he is probably imagining the vitriol about to spew forth and melt the flesh right off of his face like a scene from one of the sci-fi movies he loves and I hate. I force him to agree with me or suffer the consequences – “yes, of COURSE I would still be attracted to you if you gained 500 pounds”, “women should absolutely make double what men do to make up for the years of persecution for existing with ovaries”, “no, I absolutely do not want children, because I agree that having children in this overcrowded, hellish world is selfish”. And as soon as these things come flying out of my mouth, I flinch too, and want to cram them back to where they came from. I took on this commitment I thought I never wanted with this man because in the last 9 years, although we make one another absolutely nuts, he has been beside me, and I have needed him, and he has needed me. We are a team, a team that works. I want him to leave me alone, and 5 minutes after he is gone, I miss him. Another week, month, or year passes and he’s still there, quoting some ridiculous movie or TV show he loves even though he knows I haven’t seen it and have no idea what it means, why it is funny, or what it has to do with whatever I am talking about. And although it could be more perfect, it’s the most perfect blend of two lives I can imagine in my more placid moments, and I am in turns amazed I have something this wonderful at all and annoyed at my choice of a man so willing to procrastinate in everything, and I mean everything. He is childlike in many senses of the word, mostly wonderful and creative and joyful, and sometimes stubborn and frustrating and selfish, although never half as much as me. As I write this, he came into the bedroom where I sit, tried to talk to me about his schedule and how he’s done early so maybe we can go out to dinner, and saw I wasn’t responding (grumble WRITING grumble DON’T FUCKING INTERRUPT MY CREATIVE PROCESS grumble grumble), and so he picked up his slightly out of tune guitar, went into the living room, and wrote in about 5 minutes what I assume is a song for our band, which sounds absolutely badass, in the time I wrote about 3 sentences. Then came back in the room, stood in the doorway, looked at me, burped, and laughed. Infuriating. And adorable. And perfect. It’s like an ocean, this love thing. It ebbs and flows, it warms and cools, and never gives you enough of any one thing to ever be enough. I am not someone who is lucky enough to live by the sea, or to be someone who is perenially happy. I am stormy, whether I like it or not. He is not, but he weathers all of me with very little complaint. Who am I to do anything but adore this man? Even when he leaves his damned coat on the couch for the eleventy billionth time. How is it possible to love someone so passionately but hate them at the same time? How the hell does this thing even work, how do we not kill each other when we’re together every day, day in and day out, 24 hours a freaking day?
Yeah. I’m married. It’s complicated, but you know what? It’s awesome. So maybe marriage can mean different things to different couples. This anger that I feel and am so embarrassed about and that I have now put out for the world to read (eep!) is part of me, part of two lives becoming a joint venture, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one who feels it. He and I are creating our own version of what marriage is every day. I’m just trying to keep from guzzling a martini and smashing his coffee mug all over the kitchen in the process.