Crazy in Marriage

Posted by Nikki Dual Switzer on May 26, 1998 at 23:52:09:

I have said it to myself over, and over, and over again, in as many
different ways as I could think to. I think I believe that if I say it
enough, think it enough, it won't be such a surprise when I actually do
it. Leave, separate, move, get out, move on, get well. I am so not
well now. My head aches with an intense spasm that began when he turned
his back to go to sleep, rather than talking it out.again. I think I
might keel over in pain. It's storming here in the city by the bay,
raining huge drops of wet misery over the city, and I have the best view
in town. He sits in an enclosed teller's booth, unable to see the grey
skies or the clouds that whispers doom over my head while breathing and
exhaling a chilly, frigid smokescreen of foggy air. We live in
different worlds.
This morning, early, he put his arms around me, curled around the back
of me, in that familiar, sensual spoon, and I lay uncomfortable, quiet
as a mouse, but stiff as a corpse on the mortician's table. My chest
was stiff, and I wasn't sure I could breath there, without thinking,
without consciously telling my lungs to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
So, I didn't sleep. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Going through the
motions. Taking it day by day, that's what I do, so that the idea of
life as it is, inching it's way into my forever won't haunt me as I pass
the hours. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That's what
I'm told. Try to be happy. Find happiness within yourself. I laugh.
I have to start over in 5 months because my husband is ready to move on
with his education. I wonder if I can find another secretarial job as
good as this one.
He emptied the dishwasher the night before last, and I am happy. It
only took a sarcastic quarrel and ridiculous banter to get him to
agree. I only had to ask 4 times. This is the progress that we have
made in 4 years. What do I want? I want him to say, "Okay Babe. You
did it yesterday. It's my turn. No prob. After all, you work all day,
just like me. You bring in the dough, just like me. You are not my
mother." Instead, though, I get silence. "Can you blah blah blah?"
That's me. Silence. That's him. I see myself in 5 years, trying to
take a shower, trying to cook dinner, yelling "Honey, can you change her
diaper, please?" And him saying, Silence. That's him. I see me
cleaning a two story house on a Saturday, while he sits in front of the
television, drinking beer and watching football. "Can you pick up those
bottles and take out the trash, Babe?" That's me. Silence. That's
him. I cringe at the thought of tomorrow. That's why I breath in,
breath out, breath in, breath out.
Contemporary woman. I never saw myself as that. I saw myself making
babies, having a part-time, fulfilling job that brought in a little
extra cash, and spending my days keeping life running for a family. I
imagined a supportive, loving husband. I imagined a love affair that
would last a lifetime. All of these things were a part of my future. I
failed to recognize the fact that I would have to make my way through
the present to get there. And the present would have little to offer.
I feel angry. I feel trapped. But miserable as I am, the thought of
failing at this, of throwing the towel in, that sounds like death.
Vows don't mean the same thing to everyone. For me they meant forever,
and it rips me apart, today and ever day, to think that perhaps I am
capable of breaking them. I wonder now why anyone ever takes them. I
mean, what if you end up unhappy? What if your partner lied and told
you what you wanted to hear, only to realize that they couldn't come
through? What if you married someone who still needs to be mothered and
expects you to pick up where Mommy left off? What if this all made you
want to kill yourself? What then?
I guess I don't really mean that. I mean, it sounds harsh, and when it
comes down to it, I am not quite that pathetic a creature, but, my
belief in God and my commitment to my marriage are not jokes to me.
Sometimes I wonder if marriage is even supposed to be about happiness.
I mean, where did that idea even come from? Maybe it's about
procreation and finding someone that you don't mind seeing day after
day, sleeping beside night after night, and who you can easily close
your eyes to and imagine someone else when you're making love. Maybe
that person isn't the one that is supposed to really care for your soul,
tend to your tender heart, make you shake with passion when they fit
perfectly between your legs and kiss your neck. I suppose it could be
true that these were figments of someone's imagination, someone's
romantic fantasies and wild dreams, someone like me who was bold enough
to put it all on paper and make it a goal for every gullible shmuck in
the world, like me.
I read this book once, called Girl Interrupted., where the girl was in
a mental hospital, explaining the ways in which she was crazy and the
ways in which everyone around her was crazy, and how her mind worked.
My favorite scene was the one in which she's sitting in her favorite
chair and all of a sudden decides to start picking her hand apart
because she's worried that she doesn't have any bones underneath her
skin. It scares me that I can relate. I wonder if I am driving myself
over the edge or if life has simply dropped me into a place where I
don't speak the language and can't understand how to adjust. And then,
I think that this whole line of questioning is allowing me to wallow in
my own self pity and I need to buck up and act like a grown up, and just
empty the damn dishwasher.

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