Recent events have gotten me thinking about marriage.
To start, my favorite blogger, Heather Armstrong, announced on her blog—dooce.com, a few days ago that she and her husband John are separated. It was a weird thing, reading about something so personal on a blog. I know Armstrong has blogged about many of her different milestones to the world (what has arguably led to her fame as one of the most influential bloggers, ever), but this was my first time reading a milestone as it happened… internet intimacy at its best. Or rather, at its worst.
What struck me most is that unless you know Armstrong personally, you would never be able to tell from reading her blog that something was up. Sure, there are probably devoted readers out there who had an inkling, but most of us regular Joe’s had no idea. Trying to put myself in her shoes for a moment, I think it must have been so hard to continue to blog about daily life, knowing that there’s a big fat, wrinkly elephant in the room that she’s not writing about. Maybe that’s just the blogger in me talking… my heart goes out to Armstrong and her family during this difficult time. The curtain between public and private has once again been flung opened for Armstrong, and I can only hope the support of her readers helps get her through the coming days, as it has in the past.
More on the general idea of being married… it can be a fickle thing, that marriage. On the outside, it looks like all fun and games, but on the inside it’s so much more. Two people merging their lives into one unit… merging their assets, their money, their hearts. As we know from driver’s ed class, where there’s a merger, one party is bound to have to yield to the other.
Sean and I have done pretty well these last four months. There have been ups and downs in figuring out how to live life together (officially), but on the whole, marriage is a happy time for us.
One thing I’ve learned though—even after only four months—is that the yielding part is extremely tricky. Compromises must be reached, and yet one must never lose oneself in the process. Without both parties on the line as their best self, marriage is a moot point. Husband and wife (or whatever combination or repetition of those two words you subscribe to) must stand together, facing out toward the future, walking in sync. When one falters, the other must compensate until the partner regains his/her footing. And yet, if one completely lets go of his or her character along the way, the couple is changed, for better or worse.
In keeping my character in tact, a recent meditation reminded me that for happiness, I need to be doing something I’m good at—something during which my actions cannot be questioned because I’m the authority. For a fleeting moment earlier this week, I thought I’d lost “my thing”. In Madison, I did fashion. I lived it, I breathed it, and I was good at it. People asked me for advice all the time! Once I got to po-dunk central Utah where the camouflage and Carharts run wild, I took one look around and it was clear the fashion path had come to an end (but don’t worry, it still lives a small, slowly expanding life in my closet). It was time for me to find new things to succeed at.
A few bumpy stops later, I found rock climbing and yoga—both of which I’m still learning to master on a daily basis. Of course, Sean encourages me to ski and accompany him on backcountry tours… another sport I’m still mastering. A few nights ago, I was feeling down on myself, thinking it was impossible for me to find another talent, another passion that I’m really, truly natural at. Fashion came easy to me; it just clicked. And my Utah endeavors click, but I’m still a novice in the grand scheme of things.
Then tonight, it dawned on me. I had my own Homer Simpson moment—DOH! (smacks face)
Seriously? Yeah… looks like I just needed a self-pep-talk. I forget sometimes how much I love it, and how good I am at it. Natural, you might say. All it takes is an email or a comment from a reader, or a sweet compliment from my husband and I remember why I blog; its the connections I form with others, and the hope that somehow, someone out there may find inspiration, humor or empathy in the things that I write about. Blogging is “my thing,” here in Utah. I am an authority on my own life, and all I need to do is put a keyboard under my fingertips.
So from marriage to blogging and back again, I’m happy to have remembered my talent that keeps me even keel on my marriage. Blogging is my thing; Sean knows it, and I know it. As long as I’m blogging, I’m keeping hold of my character, my passion and my talent for writing.