Monday, July 30, 2007

Cynicism and Condescension

Those are the two poisons that this marriage can no longer abide.

This is something that I have learned over the past year or so. These lessons have been hard won and you'd think that they'd be seared into my memory indelibly. But in fact I feel like I'm trying to hold water in my hands. It's as if I look away for a moment the understanding disappears. Or like having something under a microscope, if I vary the power of my gaze I lose track of what level that important knowledge was on. So I'll write it down. Here and there, so that I have something more tangible to remind me.

I recently read Stumbling on Happiness which suggests that our brains 'help' us out by sugar-coating memories. That's nice of our brains but if you buy the theory, as I do, it does give reason to be paranoid about forgetting these lessons. I don't want my brain to rewrite history, I want to remember what sucked and why. I want to remember how much it sucked, not that it was kind of a drag. My marriage was pretty fucking rotten for a while there and it hasn't been easy pulling it back from the abyss. Not easy but worth every minute spent. I also don't want to exaggerate my history. There were good times mixed in with the long stretch of awful. But those gave my brain an excuse to ignore the worst for far too long. It gave my brain a pass to say, "Wait! Remember this day? That wasn't so bad right?"

Why focus on this now? Today? Well, I know that we are approaching a critical junction in time. I am still scared that we could backslide to that place where I feel invisible and dismissed. When this baby is born will we allow ourselves to be so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that we start to forget what else has been at stake? Will we turn our focus to the new baby, to making sure the Bunny is okay and lose track of our relationship, on which all else in the family depends? I think it was with the Bunny's birth that we started to lose our grip with each other the first time. She was so fun, so perfect, so distracting that we didn't notice how little attention we paid each other. Then suddenly we were those angry strangers, not on the same team, not supporting each other. I was being ignored, studiously and I became an angry bitch with nothing but criticisms to defend myself against the emptiness.

I don't want to go there again. I wish I felt confident enough that it couldn't happen but when dh appeared to not email or call me from the road for a day (somehow his email address had been filtered to trash?) it was my worst fear resurfacing. Okay, fair enough, he did send an email, not his fault that I didn't get it. But I think the fact that my trust has been so damaged that my brain didn't even come up with the possibility of an email glitch is one of those red flags not to dismiss.

So we'll continue to work at it and I'll keep making notes to remind myself. And when I feel like I'm in danger of irritating dh with my insistence that we aren't there yet I'll try to remember that he should want to get there as much as I do.

I'm wide awake.