Friday, March 23, 2012

Marriage - it's not a Fairy Tale

One of the most common responses I get when people know that I hope to someday get married is "Why?"  and many have said that if they had it to do over again, or their spouse passed away - they wouldn't get married.

I think that's kinda sad.

Moreover, I am getting pretty fed-up of people thinking that I am naive enough to think that marriage is perfect or solves all my problems. 

Firstly, I am a child of divorce, and not just your regular "we grew apart" divorce.  The "we hate each other's guts, and had to divorce so we wouldn't kill each other or you in the process" divorce.  My parents divorce was the specific event that got me some peace and quiet, and a stable home.  Things got even better for me when one of my parents moved overseas.

Secondly, I am a therapist.  I have seen quite a bit of the seedy underbelly of pain that is produced from breach of trust and selfishness and the miserable backlash that ensues.

Shockingly that doesn't make me want it any less. 

In my opinion, marriage is an exercise in selflessness, and balancing the needs of  your loved ones with your own.  At it's best -  you don't have to worry about your own needs, because you trust that your partner is taking care of them, and you are able to fully focus on taking care of your partner.
At it's worst - you are unable to see anything but your own needs, and your pain is compounded as you perceive your partner as not caring about any of your needs.
Somewhere in the middle lies the dance of not taking the risk of focusing on your partner's needs until your own needs have been met first (by either you, your partner, or someone else).

At our core, I think we're all pretty selfish beings, even the most altruistic of us.  And it's not only difficult but downright terrifying to have to trust someone to fill-in your needs.  Especially if you have gown-up like me, where there is no one else able to focus on your needs because the people around are drowning in their own lives/needs.  We also drive our society to be independent and reward that behaviour.

So here's the thing, even thinking about/writing about why you have to look out for yourself first is missing the point.
Please don't misunderstand me, I am not in any way suggesting that being selfless is about becoming a doormat, allowing our needs to continually go unmet, and even hurt ourselves for the sake of others.
The point for me is, it's about choosing to put somebody else's needs before your own, without qualifying your action or predicating it on what the other person has done for you, or how they've met your needs.

That's the hard part.

I was sent a really great article that speaks to similar points, from the perspective of a 39 year old first time engaged woman.  If you are interested, check it out here.

So bottom line is - I get it, I know it's NOT a magic wand that solves problems, and can often compound problems.  But it is also an exceptional opportunity for growth, development and fulfillment (and hopefully regular sex)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Bad Apple

I have often heard the wisdom that you tend to acclimatize to the people you surround yourself with or your environment.
I've been living that these past few weeks.

I said something today that was quite crude to a coworker - and she looked at my like I had just sprouted another head.  It was so out of character for me, that the next words out of my mouth were "I can't believe those words actually left my mouth".

Really, the fact that I even had the thought is shocking, for me.  It got me thinking.

Work has basically been my life for the past few weeks.  I have a whole lot of deadlines this month, and have been working on an intensive project with a group that I would normally spend at most a couple of hour a week with.

These guys are awesome, and I have enjoyed working with them, but frankly the vibe is basically that of a frat house.  The weird thing is, they are very cognizant of my presence, and are very obviously trying to reign it in.  Which I appreciate very much.

But today I realized that as much as I have positively influenced their behaviour, they have also influenced mine.  My mind can't help but jump "there" now.

I don't think I like it.  Actually that's not so much what is bothering me, it's that in my experience and observation, once you cross a line, you very rarely are able to uncross it.

It's true of a lot of lines in life. 

I know that I am not likely to blurt out crude statements moving forward, I'm not worried about that.  It's the fact that I will think them, that I wish wasn't true.

On the flip side, I wonder if this means that if I hang out with uber successful people, I won't be able BUT TO pick-up habits which will make me uber successful as well.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Angry @ my Pants

Have you ever found yourself angry at an inanimate object?  So much so that you couldn't stand to look at it anymore?

I've actually had that experience twice now.  The first time was years ago while I was away on business in Ottawa.  That Christmas we had received a $100 gift card from work as a Christmas bonus.  I took my gift card in early January and decided to use the whole thing to buy a nice purse for everyday work use.  At this point in time it was the most I had ever spent on a handbag.  And it was a beautiful camel coloured Liz Claiborne bag.  I received numerous compliments on the bag.  All in all I was feeling it was a great purchase, it fit all of my work documents, lunch, usual purse contents, etc...

Early March I was on business in Ottawa, and of course had taken my fab new bag.  Day 2 into my week long trip, my bag broke.  That's right, the stitching completely unravelled and the handle came right off the hardware buckle, and it slipped off my shoulder and onto the dirty gravel.

I was Angry!  It was the most money I had ever spent on a purse up to that point in time, and it was my first one to ever break.  While I was away on business, and unable to just come home and switch to another one!
I was forced to purchase, which fueled my anger.
So I went to a nearby Zellers, and purchased the cheapest handbag I could find.  It's important to note here that it was also Liz Claiborne but this time only $10, and I still own it today, several years later.

I was so Angry with the offending purse, that I was planning to throw it out.  I ended up giving it to a friend, who said it was repairable, and shouldn't be thrown out.

Yesterday, was my second such anger experience.  Ironically enough it was another article of the Liz Claiborne brand - this time my pants.

I am innocently using the ladies room @ work, when I notice that the stitching has come out at the seam of my pants in the read-end.  So there's this hole in my pants, which I just notice around 2pm.  And it's pretty low down, so no shirt or sweater is going to cover the offending area. 
Suffice it to say that I did a very good job of sitting for the rest of my workday.

After work, I was slotted to go to my Mom's place.  When I got there, I was so angry @ my pants that I threw them out.  So then my dilemma became, what to wear home, since my pants were in the trash.  I have spare PJs @ my Mom's, so I wore pajama bottoms home.

Here's the moral of the story - if I get angry I like to throw the offender in the trash (so don't make me mad when we're around a garbage bin).

Hopefully it'll be several years before this phenomenon resurfaces again....