Note: Before I write anything I want to make one thing very clear. In my posts where I have opened up about my marriage, I am talking a great deal about my problems and how I can improve. I may lightly touch on T and things he will change. However, please do not take me focusing on MY issues as saying I am the only reason we are going through a rough patch. I worried about that earlier this morning as I wrote this. So take this as a universal disclaimer.
I have a problem, you guys. Well, that's the vague statement of the year, because it could honestly encompass a whole bunch of issues, but I have a specific problem. It was one of the reasons why T says he fell in love with me and is quickly becoming one of the reasons why we fight.
I want to fix people's problems. I'm a problem fixer. I want everyone, especially those I love and truly care about, to be happy in life, and if I can, in any way, help that situation, I will do it. However, that quickly runs into another part of that problem....
I worry about people's problems. And that brings me to another issue...
I take on people's problems. And that brings me to another problem...
I often worry more about everyone else's lives than I do my own.
So yeah, caring about others and wanting everyone to be happy is good, right? I mean thinking only about yourself and only worrying about yourself is....well, selfish, right? So wouldn't it logically be that you should care about other people's problems? Well, yes. But not too much.
I am that kind of family member, friend, coworker who people come to when they need to vent, need a friend, need help. I like being that way. I like helping others. It's why I practice law, after all, to help others. It's a good thing. All rainbows, ponies, and shit.
T thinks so, too. When we first met, he loved that I cared so deeply about others in my life that I would do anything for them. If you hurt a friend or family member of mine, you better watch out. That's gotten me into trouble every now and then as I have stepped into the situation to try to fix it for the person in trouble. Has it fixed the problem? Yes, sometimes it has. I have a way with words, I guess. I make my point clear. But then it brings me into the melee. And I'm what one of my counselors called an emotional sponge. I don't just listen to a conversation and offer advice. I soak that shit up like crazy and then carry it around. I do that with each person with whom I interact until that sponge gets so heavy and full of water that it just falls on top of me or spills everywhere. Thus, we have a Nain breakdown.
The issues T and I currently face have been building up for quite some time so it's hard to pinpoint when this specific problem started. However, what quickly happened was my focus continually shifted into the lives of others and not in my own. Our dinner conversations were on problems going in others' lives. We would go on date nights and talk about issues with family members, friends, me worrying about what that person will do, will they be happy, how can I help, etc. So we'd talk about that and of course Aubrey, and that was our date night conversation. We would have nothing to talk about but that. If we did talk about "us," it would be business stuff like home, money, etc. (Saving that for another post). So I think you can see where a problem would develop.
It was one of the concerns T brought to my attention when everything came to a head on Father's Day weekend. I've heard him say it before, but it wasn't until then, until we both heard the word "separation" come out of my mouth, that I really and truly listened to what he was saying. He missed us. He was tired of us always talking about everyone else but us. He pointed out the times when this happened, and it hit me that, wow, this is a problem.
It's hard because this is the person I am. I have been trained for 33 years now to be the fixer, the problem solver, you name it. It is my role. So how do I stop it? Well, I can't just stop it. It's a part of who I am. I like being that person in some respects, but how do I get that balance? What exactly is that right amount?
And what in the hell are T and I supposed to talk about now?
Seriously, how sad is that? How sad is it that we have no other conversation than talking about household business, Aubrey and everyone else? I've been trying. I've truly been trying. I had a relapse this last weekend on yet another date night where I focused on the problems of others, and I did not even realize it until T pointed it out to me sadly during dinner.
I think I could take that even farther to say that I even worry about T to the point where I don't worry about what's going on with me. Surely that's not bad, right? He's my husband so shouldn't I put him before myself?
I'm writing about this knowing full well that I do not have this solution to the problem. It is not going to fixed overnight. But where do I even start? And how do I reconcile that stabbing guilt when I do pull away from being in that role to focusing on my own life and the problems that have exploded in it like land mines? I don't know. I wish I did.
I guess the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it, right?
I am cursed with something that will always plague me. Taking on too much. I take on too freaking much until life really
isn’t that fun, and all I do is work on the various tasks I have willfully
imposed upon myself. I did it in high
school…it was not enough to just do one activity. No, I had to work 20 hours a week, do
newspaper and orchestra, all of these often falling on the same day. I had to
work two jobs during summers in college, giving myself mono one summer from
working too hard. I took on the Mary Kay
thing, a musical instrument (again), and writing. I started with the blog and then bam, started
writing for about seven different publications at a time. And working full time.
Oh and what’s that other thing? Oh right.
I am also a wife and mother. I
forgot about that.
Or at least it seems that way. And I know it seems that way to T. It is one of the things that has come up in
our discussions as we work through the weeds of where we currently are in our
marriage. Ever since we have had Aubrey
I have not put enough time aside for my relationships. When I do, it’s Aubrey. At the end of the day, after I have run
myself ragged trying to do all of the things I put on myself, the only ounce of
affection and care I can give is to our daughter. I try to give more. But I have nothing much to give to T or even
We would spend our evenings sitting on opposite ends of the
couch, both of us on our computers. I
would be working well until 10 p.m. on a story or two, while T would search the
Internet just wasting time until I was done with the computer or ready for bed. If we did not have the computers out we would
be watching TV. No conversation. No interaction. Any interaction we did have would be once the
kiddo was in bed and we were eating dinner at 7:30 p.m.
When we first met, I gave of myself so readily and
easily. True, I had more time because I
was not a mom at that point in time. We
were not married and lived in our own separate spaces so we had our own “me”
time. So when we did have our “us” time
we could not get enough of each other.
Sitting up and talking until midnight was so easy. Now T’s lucky if I even stay awake past 9:30
p.m. By the time we get to the end of
the day and sit down, I usually pass out unless I’m sitting behind the
How does that make the other feel? I never really thought about it. I always just thought T was being unfair or
irrational when he would get irritated that I essentially ignored him all
evening. I thought he was not being
supportive, was being too hard on me, not fair.
While, yes, I am sure some of the times he was in the wrong, but I can
see the frustration and where it came from.
We don’t interact. We don’t know
how to talk to each other, and when we do, it’s business – work, bills, house,
It is a realization I have hit, and I am working like hell
to change it and make it better.
Relationships do not just maintain on their own. You have to nurture them, make them
grow. That cannot happen if we are both
so distracted to even see what is going on in the other person’s world.
Am I finding it harder to find time to get articles
out? Yes. Have I fallen behind on my emails? Yes.
But am I spending more time with the one person who means more to me
than anything in this world? Yes. And that, to me, is so much more worth it.
I have this thing. I
am scared of pissing anyone off. In
fact, I would venture to argue that it is more than just a thing. It’s an all-out paralyzing fear. I hate confrontation. I hate yelling. I mean, I know everyone is like this unless
you are one of this sick and twisted people who like yelling at others. If that’s the case then kudos to you?
I think what you would call it is I am a people pleaser. And a worrier. That has become a problem. The problem arises when I have people at all
aspects of my life at different angles with different needs, and there I am in
the middle trying to please them all.
I write this as I know I may or may not have a confrontation
tomorrow coming up, even though it is all highly possible that it will not be
as bad as I think it will. It could be
worse, who knows? Anyway, that fear is
kind of propelling me to write about fear in general and where that lines up to
what’s going on in my life right now.
I have always been a people pleaser. I walk on eggshells because I have been
trained to do so. As a child, a
teenager, an adult, I have been through a series of relationships whether those
be familial, friend, significant other, boss, etc., where I am absolutely
petrified of letting that person down, losing that person or causing them to be
upset or disappointed in me. It is
inherently unhealthy. You do not go through
a series of counselors with each one telling me the same exact thing and not
come to that conclusion. However, it is
a problem when you do not listen to the advice.
And it just keeps going and going like that damn Energizer bunny.
Where does this play in?
It comes in with my relationship with T and my family. That, which is to be a subject of a later
post, is causing a great deal of the tension, and like Pavlov’s dog, I am
conditioned to react in a certain manner, my loyalties going to my family. But that cannot always be the case. In most circumstances my loyalties should
probably lie elsewhere. And that is
causing a huge issue, if not one that is threatening to break us.
It is frustrating. So
I am venting. This problem is one of the
many T and I are tackling, because like tonight, it seems to rear its ugly head
all the freaking time. Says the girl who
is sitting here freaking out about what lies ahead tomorrow.
It’s amazing what fear can do to you, isn’t it? Too bad I am not one of those people who can
just say “oh well” or “to hell with it.”
Recently, I've come back to my blog because, like an
estranged friend, I have missed it.
Having time to actually blog has been difficult, but that’s not really
why I have not really been great at blogging these past few months. See, I pride myself on being open and honest
when I write. Certain subjects have
always remained off limits to me, but the thing is, they are huge parts of who
I am and my life. It is hard to come up with
writing material when the main parts of your life are falling apart all around
you. I’m not one to be fake, so bringing
myself to write up some “see what an awesome mom/wife I’m being” posts just
wasn’t in me.
Don’t get me wrong – I have
a ton to brag on when it comes to T and Aubrey.
However, when something is wrong and it’s really taking a great deal of
my attention, emotional energy, you name it; it’s hard to just push that aside
and play happy.
Before I go further – no, I am not dying. T is healthy, Aubrey is healthy. We both still have our jobs. We have our house.
However, all is not right in Whoville. Rather, Nain-T-ville. We have been going through some….stuff. It’s hard for me to even write that out
because I don’t want to admit we are anything other than the perfect couple
with the perfect family, but like pretty much everyone else out there, we are
not. I have held back on that on this
blog ever since it has been building up, but as T and I work through things, I
have asked him if I can open up and be honest on this blog. He has said yes, and anything I say on here
is nothing that he does not know or approve of me saying.
Things have been building up, like I said. Building up since we had Aubrey. As we went through those six months of sleep
deprivation, other problems just kept brewing under the surface. Neither of us wanted to really address them,
and all that resulted in that was a lot of fighting. We have argued more than I
want to admit because, like I said, I want everyone to see us as this super
couple. However, the arguments never
really led to anything other than hurt feelings and resentment but one or both
of us just apologizing to finish the argument or just pretending it didn’t
happen. It wasn’t until a couple months
ago that in a few of our more contentious arguments that things came to the
surface. And the shit hit the fan so to
speak. And a word I never ever would
throw out was thrown out. By me.
No, not the “d” word.
But not much better. Separation.
Neither of us would actually do it, but it scared both of us
enough that we realized something had to change. The change is not easy. It is not pleasant, and it’s taking a lot of
me admitting that maybe, just maybe, I need to listen and really hear T more to
get to that change. I’m not always
right, though I like to be. We’re both at fault, but the fault thing really
doesn’t matter. All that matters is
where we go from there.
I’m on Team T&A (Yes, our initials are inappropriate, I
know), and so is T. We said forever, and
we meant it. I love him more than anything in this world, and I’m not willing
to ever give up on us. Ever. We have both been making some changes, have
discussions that last three hours plus with both of us tearing up at least once
or twice. But it’s necessary.
Hence me opening up on here.
See, the reason I never brought up family life before is because I’m not
that person who is going to husband bash.
I’m not going to use this blog as some kind of platform so you all walk
away hating T. I am opening up because
it’s who we are, it’s what’s going on with us, it’s the whole reason why I
started this blog to begin with. I am
exactly the person that I put out there in this blog. That’s me – good, bad and ugly. This is my life, and this is something huge
happening with us right now. And, like I
said, nothing I would say here would not have already been said to T, not said
without his okay, and well….it’s not me just saying how much my life and my
So you may not read posts that are all rainbows and
ponies. But, as I put it to someone the
other day, “Shit is about to get real.”
Or is it “It’s time for when people stop being polite and
start getting real…the real world. Nain
and T edition.”
We had T's family down a few weeks ago, and Aubrey's cousin who is just a few months younger than her was down. It was a blast and the girls were hilarious. I will not say much other than...these girls can really break it down!
Tim popped the big question on an unusually chilly and rainy 4th of July. It literally poured all day, but neither of us cared. He took me to the Monument downtown and asked me if I could be his other half forever. It took me maybe one instant to say yes. And I still firmly say that it was the easiest answer to the biggest question ever. Five years has passed since that beautiful day. Today we will be heading back downtown as we have down every year since (minus last year) and will take Aubrey to this special place. Sure, she has no idea what "engaged" means, and sure, if we continue this tradition, it might become annoying to her as she gets older but...it does not matter. If Mommy had never said yes, she would not be here. Five years has brought us to where we are now.
It does not feel like it has been five years. Yet so much has happened since then. We've gotten married, built a house and started a family. We have created an extremely blessed and wonderful life. All from that simple yet so important question.
I love you, T! I would say yes again - over and over and over again!
Along with the spirited child front, my child has one characteristic I want her to keep throughout her life because I have struggled with this myself. She's fearless. Bravery. Seriously, the kid has no fear. I have yet to find something that scares her. Thunderstorm? No. Lawn mower? No, she runs toward it. Same with the vacuum. We were in Michigan with my family last year, and as we walked along the pier in South Haven, the kid was leaning over trying to reach the water. Climbing rocks, wanting to explore. She has no fear. I love that, but at the same time, fear that, about her.
We went swimming with friends the other day, and Aubrey could not have been more excited. We've been in a pool maybe one other time with her so I'm not sure why the word pool got her so excited, but she was. We got her in the water, with her water floaties, of course, and she was giggling like crazy. Then it started. She saw the big kids swimming so Aubrey wanted to swim. She got frustrated because she wanted us to let her go on her own. I tried to show her what would happen, but that didn't deter her. "I need to swim, I need to swim!" she kept saying. (Side note: Her new thing is to say she 'needs' something instead of 'wants.') She then saw kids jumping off the side into the pool so she climbs out of the pool and tries to do that herself, with her Mommy scrambling out of the pool with her. We did a modified "jump" with me holding her up to Daddy in the water. It seemed to fool her for the time being, but I'm afraid that will only last so long. She wants to do it on her own. She thinks she is as big as those other kids jumping and swimming. That's my kid.
It scares me because of obvious reasons, of course. I'm already paranoid with my kid around water but now I have more reason to be eagle eyes with her. It's hard to keep up with her, and as she gets older and more independent, I know that will only get worse. She's fearless. To a fault.
I want to strike that fine balance between encouraging her to be fearless but also reigning in her over-braveness. I love the fighter in her, the daredevil and the strong girl she is. I just want to make sure she does not think she's bigger than she is.