October 30, 2010

irrational, love-soaked ravings

another post so quickly! praise the internet!

we are in charlottetown, PEI. the smallest province. it is very red. seriously, the soil is red. lots of oxidizing iron in the sandstone or something. tomorrow we are going to visit the sand dunes on the north shore. we're staying in the driveway of an old friend of mine from vancouver; she and i worked together as fundraisers, and became fast friends. we reunited, yes, via facebook, and it is so lovely to see her. eight years sometimes makes no difference at all. she is still her beautiful self and easy to talk to. also, another example of parenting, always handy. i asked her about breast-feeding, diaper choices, labour-division; the ongoing subjects i am turning over in my mind.

she is married to a nice man, with a very cute little boy who is not quite a year old. last night, the guys went for 'a guys night out' (apparently they went to some other guy's house, got drunk and talked about golf) while the two of us and a friend of hers stayed in and talked about relationships. gender, anyone? one subject was how babies affect relationships. her friend had recommended to her that the relationship needs to stay the priority, and my friend commented on the rightness of that statement. she said that when she remembered to keep her relationship the priority, everything else fell into place. making the baby the priority, it seems, takes up all your room for priorities.

she talked about how lucky she feels to be with her husband; another subject was abusive relationships, which seem to be some kind of evil theme lately. while i commented on how it seems to me to be these men whom i never would have predicted would be emotionally and/or physically abusive - these gentle, gentle men who have said to my friends things like "i just want to hit you" over and over, who have pushed them to the ground and blamed the woman's behaviour ("you're crazy, it was self-defence," because she was yelling at him), who have manipulated fights into being all her fault so they could avoid facing up to their own contribution to the problem, who have for years convinced these women that they deserved it, they are at fault for what someone else is doing to them, they prompt him to be violent.

my friend, she is stuck on how smart these women are who stay with abusive men, who go back to the man, who tell my friend this time he'll change because he has said he'll stop drinking, has said he will go through therapy, has talked with his mouth instead of his hands today. and maybe he will stop, but if he has hit you, don't you think he needs to prove that change before you move back in with your child? you have a masters in psychology and he's got you wrapped around his little finger.

the queen and i were talking this morning (well, this afternoon; we had a delicious sleep-in) and i commented on how i have left men for far less than the struggles he and i have faced. i have left men in the middle of roadtrips, resulting in me moving to other cities or hitchiking back across a province or two by myself, with very little money. i have left these men for less because i refused to be trapped by them, even if it was their vehicle i was travelling in. i refused to be the person with less power, and leaving them was my expression of my own power: you don't own me. they were so surprised.

but i am not leaving the queen. and it is not about what we suffer through; it is because i have committed. it was my decision. and it happened before the pregnancy; we had an epic fight and he tried to break up with me before i got pregnant; he was having trouble with my close relationships with some of my exes. i have never tried to talk anyone out of leaving a relationship with me; i understand, based on the previous paragraph, how important it is to respect someone's decision about their own liberty. but i talked him out of it. i sensed it was fear-based, i sensed that what he was afraid of wasn't true. i knew i would stay with him and be faithful, i knew those friendships were just friendships and the queen and i would get past this moment. there is more to be mined from this union, and i knew and know it. instead, i asked him to marry me.

and my decision to stay, it is not regardless of anything. there are dealbreakers: don't hit me, don't rape me, don't beat the children (my friend in pei says her list of dealbreakers includes born-again christianity; you find jesus, she says, and it's over). but i see how these women, especially the ones with children, how they stay in the face of adversity. they have committed. and when you commit, you commit to suffering. you don't walk away just because it gets difficult. so how do i make sure i don't stay in the face of something that takes away from my own personal well-being? other than honouring my dealbreakers (and really honouring them, not rationalizing that this was different, this wouldn't happen again) how do i find the balance?

the queen says it's a balance between commitment and rationality. but i find that commitment isn't terribly rational to begin with. look at our history as a species. making a monogamous commitment, even though i am perfectly happy doing so, flies in the face of recorded history. as a species, we are lousy at monogamy. i have always been at peace with this, never bothered trying too hard to keep anyone. but now i am taking it on. i am flexing my commitment muscles. and it feels good!

why the queen? he fascinates me. i like these parts of him, these reading, music-playing, thoughtful parts of him, these drinking, farming parts of him. i like how he isn't what he looks like, how he has these seemingly incongruous personality aspects (engine-grease-soaked farmboy who loves not just books but literature, man who loves cats and babies and respects his mother but can fight and cuss and get completely wasted, hard worker who will uncomplainingly work fifteen-hour days for weeks and then tell off a wankerish supervisor and quit on the spot; i could go on). i like how i understand him in the way that i don't take his behaviour personally, but not in the way that his reasons are transparent to me. he has depth.

in montreal, when we had our fight, his friend (brother of the awesomes) talked to me about the queen, talked to me about his childhood, asked me why i think he is so different from his brothers. i learned more about the queen that night and it made me want to keep learning. it made me love him more. it made me want to be gentler with him, and show him more of my love. this is new depth for me.

1 comment:

  1. as an edit, the queen would like it known that he himself did not talk about golf. he doesn't mind a game of golf, he says, but it's not a sport to talk about.

    i enjoy how, after watching him read this post, i asked him how he felt about what i wrote about our relationship and he said (something to the effect of) it's all up to interpretation: how i interpret him and his behaviour is of course different than how he himself does, but that's fine, because everyone who reads it has their own interpretation anyway. but he was upset that i inferred he talks about golf. so let the record state he does not :)