Thursday, July 21, 2005

Inertia

Last summer at this time I was frantically preparing for my wedding which was to be August 14th. I don’t remember the exact date of the fight, but I know it was in July. It was a horrible fight.

My then fiancé took my cheerful talk about our future (as in, when we have a house, when we get a dog, etc.) to mean that I was discontent with our life as it was. He had been laid off in November and hadn’t found any work at that point. He exploded. I remember that we were folding laundry in the bedroom when he started yelling and punched a hole in the wall. Then he stomped out of the apartment, got in his car, and drove away.

What did I do? I kept folding laundry. My hands were shaking as I put it away. I was absolutely livid. How dare he try to scare me like that?

Eventually he came back. He muttered an apology and tried to explain why he’d been upset. “Oh, sure,” I said. “I guess I’m just not allowed to talk about the future now.”

He stomped out again, slamming the door as he went. I heard his tires squealing as he pulled out of the parking lot.

I started looking around the apartment. Could I gather together enough stuff to get me through a few days, and leave? Could I go to my mom’s house or my aunt’s house? It was 11:30 PM at least, but this was surely an emergency. But then, what about my little guinea pig? I couldn’t leave him behind. In the end, I was standing there wondering numbly what to do when my fiancé came back.

In the resulting conversation he said, “I just want to make you happy.” I wanted to tell him that he can’t control my happiness, only I can do that. He asked why the hell we were even getting married if we couldn’t make each other happy. I tried to explain that happiness is in each person’s keeping, not anyone else’s. Everything was very uneasy, but settled down. For awhile.

Nine months later, after nine months of lonely and fearful marriage, a friend asked me almost the same question: “Why the bloody hell did you marry that guy?”

Inertia, I thought. I have let myself be a victim of my own inertia. I was like water, seeking ever the simplest path, the downward path of gravitation, not fighting, not resisting. For seven years of my life I have let my decisions be based on inertia and the path of least resistance.

This summer, I am working on my divorce papers. I am celebrating life. I will no longer be guided by inertia.

Life is far too short to be passive.

8 comments:

Bougie Black Boy said...

sadly, even WE can't control our own happiness.

What was the happiest moment of your life? I ask myself. . . I'm not sure. I can recall happy moments, but none are the "happiest".

ilwrath said...

Hmm... Not exactly how I remember things. And that is rather strange, since I'm half of this "marriage of least resistance."

I never did anything to "try to scare you." I will admit that I didn't handle my frustration in the best of ways. For that, I AM deeply sorry, and was willing to seek counselling with you.

Anyhow, it is true that I just wanted to make you happy. Do you have any idea how much it was killing me to see you sad and disappointed every day? And worse, the only thing I'd ever hear from you was how much you wanted a dog. To me, that's not wishfully dreaming of a future. That's a request.

What if I couldn't grant you that request? House? Yard? Dog? Hell, I was burning through cash reserves just trying to keep our dump of an apartment so we'd at least have a roof. I'm the man. I'm the provider. And I was failing. And you were all to keen to continue to point this out, without ever giving a shred of support or encouragement.

So, yeah, I lost it... I snapped.

Personally, I thought we could work through this. But to work through an issue takes both parties being interested in solving it. If this little breakdown was a relationship breaker to you... All I can say, is you should have been mature enough to have mentioned it 9 months ago. But, instead, you chose again to lie to me, and not tell me what was wrong. You chose to lead me on for a full year, with no effort from you to resolve the situation.

Inertia. Yep, that's about it. Thanks for nothing. Literally.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

It's a funny thing. When a person has nothing to say about the present because thinking about the present will cause someone else pain, and the past is either boring or painful, it's a natural enough thing to discuss the future and its hopes. There's nothing else left to talk about in that case.

Apparently I should have either been silent, or I should have been much, much louder.

ilwrath said...

When a person has nothing to say about the present[...]

Exactly. You had nothing good to say about the present. You had requests for a future I wasn't sure I could deliver for you. That's no way to live.

In the end, I suppose you're right, though. It's all just personality conflicts. We probably will be happier apart. I just wish that I wouldn't have been fed empty words of commitment as serious marriage for the sake of minimizing resistance.

Bougie Black Boy said...

Just because one is a man doesn't necessarily mean he is a provider, or should be, or can be. It only means he is a man.

The simple things in life such as a dog, a cat, the sounds in nature, the laughter of a child, the warmth of the sun is what many of us ask for.

We only remember what we want to remember and how we want to remember them.

ilwrath said...

I didn't mean to come back and monopolize this thread, but I did want to comment here.

Just because one is a man doesn't necessarily mean he is a provider, or should be, or can be. It only means he is a man.

Of course, this is very true. Just a few days ago I was sitting out in a little aluminum boat, fishing with my cousin. He is now a stay-at-home dad. He's quite a different person from the last time I saw him a few years a ago.

People, and I think men in particular, tend to tie their sense of self-worth to something. Both my cousin and I tied ours to our ability to be a provider. It's a traditional and noble male role. The bad thing about tying your self-worth to some external role though, is if you lose that role, it can really destroy your sense of self. And when you lose your sense of self respect and confidence, it can destroy all the relationships around you.

In my cousin's case, he and his wife were separated for over two and a half months before he was able to recover and redefine himself. In my case, it appears to have made my marriage a farce, before it ever began.

The simple things in life such as a dog, a cat, the sounds in nature, the laughter of a child, the warmth of the sun is what many of us ask for.

True. But, as an ex-provider, being asked for something I could no longer do is a very painful situation. Some things hurt too much to dwell on.

Mellon said...

A man who defines himself simply by his relationship to others is half a man.

EscapedCatChild said...

"I'm the man. I'm the provider."

Did I fall asleep and wake up in the fifties? Bainwen, is your old man REALLY an OLDE MAN? Oh, my, is this Ilwrath person really Ozzie Nelson? Have we slipped into some kind of sit-com nightmare...Father Knows Best? Leave It To Beaver? The Donna Reed Show? (Gag) Lucy, or even Lassie?! Life in the 50s may have been closer to The Honeymooners, where the Man is the Man is THE MAN; Ralph was hateful, loud and usually wrong, and Norton was just plain dumb.

"I am the MAN; I am the PROVIDER" has never been true unless THE MAN beat his WIFE (his property) into submission. Thank God the laws have changed in these cases in the past 50 years. But that's another subject altogether. "I am the MAN" is no more impressive than "I want others to see ME as the good guy, so hear me roar about how GREAT I AM while really, my ego is the size of a pea and I'm trying to look BIG and TUFF and IMPORTANT, and I need sympathy because I have been so wronged in this relationship. If I can convince everyone, maybe that pea will turn into BALLS"....; ain't gonna happen, dude. You're trying too hard to make yourself look good. And it makes you look SO absurd. You can't respect others, including your wife/life partner unless you can respect yourself. I see no evidence of that. None. It's sad, really.

Maybe, just maybe, if you take a look in the mirror, you might be able to tell yourself, "Hey, man, it's over" and LET IT GO. Continuing to write in her blog where you are not welcome, just so if someone else reads it they might say "poor guy"?...what good is that? What are you accomplishing? What are you doing? Do you even know?

It's pretty certain she started this for her own fun, musings, thoughts; yes, she's allowed to have her own thoughts, written in her own blog, without having to answer to anyone for it. To you. Why do you continue to monopolize this thread, as said in your own words? It's really too bad that you have so little confidence in yourself. She is getting her confidence back. Finally. Back off and let her.

Time to grow up, little boy, and quit blaming everyone else for everything that may go wrong in your life. You both made a big mistake. Let it go. Let HER go.