Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Little Did I Know... (plus: How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break)

Last year, I posted a note about a fantastic paperback that I was reading called Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess by Susan Jane Gilman. It's a great little book with a sarcastic sense of humor that challenges a woman's place in the world and demands that every woman stick up for herself. I put some of the more memorable quotes up and I'd like to highlight a section of them once again considering how ironic it is. This one particular chapter offered a handy dandy guide of responses for those pesky comments that family members often make to young, single women:

"Comment: So when are you going to get a real job?
A. Hey what's not "real" about lap dancing?
B. Well, my boss says that if I continue to be "nice" to him after hours, I'll never have to work again.
C. How about when Uncle Artie gets a real toupee?

Comment: So, when are you planning on giving me grandchildren?
A. I don't know. When are you planning on breaking a hip?
B. How's about after you leave me a big inheritance?
c. Not until I get a cute girlfriend and a really good turkey baster

Comment: Still not married, hmmmm?
A. Nah, just sleeping around.
B. Well, my boyfriend is, so the way I see it, we're one-for-one.
C. No, but the baby's due in May."


It isn't hard to see how hysterical I became (laughing until the hiccups arrived) when I stumbled on this post and realized how well it played into my current situation! The man, who for all intended purposes is essentially my boyfriend, (should be… will be? More on that in a moment), is in fact married. But as we work our way through this highly complicated situation, for now we are trying to avoid traditional labels. This relationship defies them all anyway.

Let me tell you how much fun it would be to repeat the above retort at our family’s Christmas dinner when pestered for the umpteenth time about my love life. My very prim and proper grandmother would probably have a stroke. She couldn't comprehend how I could live with another man and not be married (done it twice now-- yes, I know I'm a statistic). I could just imagine having to explain this one to the emergency room staff. "What caused her collapse?" "Uh...." But then again, I’m already planning on coal in my stocking this year. Seriously, how much worse could it possibly get?!

My parents can go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief because I will not be boasting about this to anyone back home (Mom and Dad, I promise I won’t ruin Christmas!). I intend to keep a low profile, smile sweetly, and speak softly when asked detailed questions about my new love. I’m not going to lay it all out and shock everyone. That’s not my style. But that being said, I’m not going to lie either. I don’t believe that hiding this from everyone will soften the blow. If people are curious and they want to know, I’ll tell them. If people are upset, they’ll be so either now or later, so why hold off the inevitable? I can’t change the way they will react or the way they will feel, I can only influence them through my sincere actions and the love that I hold. Those family members who love me and who genuinely want to see me happy throughout my life will come around eventually.

Now on to the latest developments (‘cause I know many of you are just dying to hear all about it):

This past weekend was a major turning point for me. I finally found the courage (after 2 months and 3 weeks to be exact) to say something to my Love’s wife about the romance that has blossomed between her husband and I. Sheepishly I admit that it took way longer than it should have for me to be honest with her. In my defense I ask -no, DARE- any one of you out there to try and imagine having to tell someone’s spouse of 18 years that you’re madly in love with their significant other.

It’s not easy.

It wasn’t easy.

It was downright terrifying.

I decided on Thanksgiving weekend because it would allow me plenty of opportunities to talk with her. Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the very last possible moment of the weekend to finally speak up. I was so nervous that I could hear my heart pounding in my eardrums. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t even look her in the eye. But I knew that I had to do this. I’ve been so extraordinarily stressed these last few weeks with school deadlines, financial issues, sadness from a (f)roommate moving far away, concentration and distraction problems, not to mention this very unique relationship, that I had made my mind up to start handling my problems instead of letting them fester. And I was bound and determined to deal with them as soon as I possibly could. In retrospect, I should have backed off and stuck to the more pressing issues of school and mental interruptions that continue to plague me (thanks to my Love for pointing this out to me- Dear, you were right. When you’re right, you’re right. Just don’t expect me to say that very often. As many people know, I hate admitting when I’m wrong!!).

But I was tired of living what seemed like a lie.

Or at the very least, wasn’t an entirely truthful situation.

And I knew that she knew something was up. It was sort of obvious considering the amount of time we spent together, the lack of free minutes on our cell phones (some months, the overage charges were astronomical!), and the goofy grins plastered on our faces for several months.

A coma patient could have figured it out; we were just that obvious.

So I know this wasn’t a shock to her for me to admit it finally. I’ll bet she could see it coming a mile away. Her reaction was both surprising and yet not... at the same time. She seemed upbeat with me, even after I admitted my feelings for both her and her husband. Her initial response to me was quite heartfelt; she mentioned she’d never had a sister in her life and she could use a close relationship like that. I quietly responded that I’d never had a sister either. It was a deeply emotional moment for me and I almost choked up. Sigh. She went on to say that her husband should have never pursued a friendship with me when he darn well knew it couldn’t go anywhere. She also mentioned that she hoped my feelings for them wouldn’t keep me from developing the necessary relationships in life that I needed to have. And after I let it all sink in, I was crushed.

I came to the conclusion that she didn’t understand how serious this was. She didn’t want for me to feel as if I was held back from finding the “right” relationship. I incorrectly assumed that she had me pegged as a silly little school girl who would soon get over this embarrassing infatuation I had for her husband. Unfortunately I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to throw her completely off balance by declaring my undying love for him and my ultimate wish to marry them someday.

(Yeah, you did read that right. I want to be with this couple the rest of my life. I want to be there through absolutely everything. I want to take care of them and I want to be taken care of. I want to watch the children grow up into the spectacular adults they are becoming. I want to be there to catch the sniffles shared every season. I want to be annoyed by the sounds of the 10th drum solo in a row. I want to play board games over and over even though I know I’ll always lose. I want to wake up in the middle of the night to kitties serenading the darkened rooms. I want to *gasp!* go to church with them and watch how they communicate with their God. I want to spend rainy afternoons under a large afghan surrounded by snuggling humans and pets alike. I want to share the joys that make souls sing and Band-Aid the boo-boos that trip up each member of the family. In just a few short months, my Love and his family have come to mean the absolute world to me. My life will never be the same.)

I left that afternoon, stunned into an hour long silence on the ride home (plus two embarrassing phone calls where I cried like a baby). I was contemplating what happened, picking and choosing what to remember from the conversation, and finding myself sliding into a quicksand of sadness. I totally skipped over the fact that I had just completed a monumental task that had hung over my head for 3 months! I had accomplished what I’d set out to do this weekend. I got it out in the open! I was supposed to be able to exhale completely for once. But in the midst of my brain misfiring, all I could focus on was the false assumption that she was shutting the door on the future I want with them.

I went home and cried myself to sleep.

72 hours later with several reassurances, a joke made in regards to having “dibs on him” for the evening from the woman who will from here on out will be known as ‘The Wife’, and a good stern talking to about how I need to detach myself from this rollercoaster for a good couple of weeks until this school semester is a distant memory... why I feel almost down right stupid. I was so hell bent on getting this one issue dealt with that I didn’t stop to contemplate how the outcome was going to affect me at this time. I feel, as Ralphie’s father would say, Fra-gee-lay at the moment. My emotions are bouncing all over the place and the stress level is at the highest it’s been all year. This is typical for December when finals roll around, the weather turns shitty and I have to face yet another hectic Christmas season with little more than lint in my billfold. I have this constant feeling that I should be hibernating through it all. At least I wasn’t suffering from PMS on top of everything that happened this weekend!

So where does that leave us? I dunno exactly. I think I’m relieved to take my Love’s suggestion and just chill out for a few weeks. No one is going anywhere. And we all need time to adjust to the changes that we will face (I can't wait until I get to officially use the title 'boyfriend' and reap all the benefits that come along with said title-- I hope he likes to hold purses for his women in public, watch chick flicks on a regular basis, and doesn't mind being groomed!). The Wife will have an especially trying time. She now has the information that she’s needed for quite a while. The ball is in her court and I’m sure this won’t be the last time that I feel utterly powerless in this relationship. I only hope that she knows I want the best for her, him, their marriage, and their family. I have to trust that in time there will be a space carved out for me within their world.

Whew! (insert here the sound of a long and deep exhale, similar to that of a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon deflating)

Hehehehe… I’m guessing I have a bunch of you all beat out for the one of the most stressful Thanksgiving vacations around, no?!?!

(P.S. For those of you concerned about how much time I may have spent writing this out, don’t worry. I had the first part written a while ago and the second part was done between calls from customers at work today. I am working hard on my final assignments. I’m going to finish the semester strong. I love you all for caring about me so much and encouraging me in your own ways. –A.)


Blogger rebecca marie said...

you're fra-gee-lay? I'M ITALIAN TOO!

9:05 AM  

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