Till death do us part…Ayup. Marriage is indeed a death sentence. It’s time spent doing all you can to restrain yourself from choking your spouse. I kid, but really…
We celebrated eight years this past Tuesday. Even though I joke about murdering him, I still have dreams of losing him to random things like time, space, death, or someone prettier, and more interesting than me. Then I wake up in a panic, so I must still like him. It’s hard work some days. Especially right now, as we’ve seen, and socialized, only with each other. Good days and bad, man.
same but different
I am an emotional, volatile, turbulent, passionate human being who often only sees things in a black or white light. Whereas he wades in grey waters all the livelong day. We are polar opposites, sharing only our respective introversion and love for solitude. We do pretty good at respecting each other’s need for space…
“I’m gonna go hang out with the characters in my head and write.” I say.
“Cool. I’ll be down here, swinging my light saber through this guy’s neck.” he says.
I dive deep into a world inside my head, feeling everything with the characters who found me, and asked—or demanded, rather—that I tell their story. And he’s just down in the living room, problem solving his way through a complex galaxy. Cool with me.
I’d like to think we’ve grown apart—discovering ourselves in weird, unique ways—in order to come back together, with new ways to connect. It’s usually through food, movies, and the dogs; sometimes books. Although, he doesn’t read as much as I do and when he does, he audiobooks. Whereas I have to touch a book. With pages. The older, the better.
Even with all this acceptance floating around our humble little lake cottage, something’s missing. I don’t know whether to blame the stay-home orders, coronavirus, or the simple fact that we’ve always been loners, and we “lone” well together.
But I long for people, a sense of community, and family, but not just because we’re staying home. I’ve always felt this…void. And I think that’s what I’m missing. I know I have a handful of people that have become my family. I won’t list who they are because they already know, (there’s like five of you). And to the people who continue to reach out and tirelessly invite me to things, both near and far, I appreciate it. INFJs specifically, love being invited even if we don’t show—we hate to be forgotten.
But there’s this damning piece to our psychological makeup; no matter how much you want us around, and no matter how much we desperately want to be there, we still feel like those lost puzzle pieces that just don’t belong to any jigsaw out there. We may have fit at one time—we’re chameleons by nature—but the puzzle was lost or donated, and the missing piece left behind was us.
No, it wasn’t intentional. It just happened. It just…is.
So, quarantine or no quarantine, this is something that I’ve grappled with for years. I’m most comfortable in my own head, living lives I’ve created there, in places that don’t exist in real life. And like Henry Rollins said in his “I Know You” spoken word piece, “you feel closer to people on movie screens.” And I do.
Years ago one of my brothers commented that the TV was always on, and had become my babysitter. At the time I was mortified. He made it sound so horrible, wrong, and detrimental. Years go by and I’m still in love with it, because it allows me into someone else’s world; the way a good book does. I see TV and books in a very similar light, and these days, I don’t punish myself or feel ashamed because the TV is on. Because to me, those are my people. The person who created whatever I enjoy watching, knows a part of my soul, recognizes it, and found a way to tell me that they see me.
I digress. This was about marriage, and our anniversary, wasn’t it?
it’s all good, man
All in all, I’ll consider myself lucky because I’m with someone who doesn’t mind that I keep to myself; he doesn’t mind me being myself, or care that the TV is on. We fit. We make sense. It’s like I tell either of his kids when they ask how we are, “fine, you know us; we stay out of each other’s way, and it seems to work.”
Ronald Karl Patten, Jr., thanks for being the person that I’m comfortably uncomfortable with. And for listening to me go on about life, family, and the world in general. For tolerating my never ending wanderlust, the after-effects of being raised in a doomsday cult, my failing knees, and my obvious dotage.
I choose in.