Tuesday, February 5, 2008

it can't all be wedding cake

I've always liked the idea of a secret handshake. The sentiment is so warm and romantic. Something to share. It's just for you.

I've spent an exhausting amount of time in the last month analyzing my "romantic" relationship. Most recently, I've been thinking about the things that used to be just for me. I dream about them. I know that a relationship is hard work. It can't all be wedding cake. But sometimes its hard not miss the whirlwind romance of the beginning.The secret handshakes. The question for me - right now - is, how much of that is okay to lose after a few years of daily life? And how much do I need to feel beautiful and special and loved?

If I could pinpoint one thing I've wanted since I was a little girl, it wasn't a job (I wanted to be a fashion designer, a writer and a talk show host at any given time). It was a family of my own. A genuine opportunity to distance myself from my upbringing and do things my way. Is that selfish? I come from a strange and tangled background of divorced parents and bad stepparents, and the one thing that allowed me some comfort during the tumultuous times was the thought that someday I would build a family of my own with someone. I would have a spouse who understood where I came from and where I'm going, and maybe some children followed after I had an opportunity to travel with said spouse - literally face the world together. My partner.

My former roommate used to mock me for loving weddings and for fantasizing about my own. It all seemed very superficial to her. On the surface, it is. But what I wasn't able to articulate at the time was that this dream wedding was the beginning of my new family. This event would put it on paper that I was moving on to construct a new life - as far away as possible from the one that I had known.

We met boys we really liked at the exact same time. The short of it is that she got married first. There was no mistaking that I was jealous. I was still very much involved with the boy that I had met when she met hers (said "romantic" relationship of then and now), and he didn't get it either. You don't want her life, so why be jealous? But her marriage hit me on a very visceral level. She's started. I'm not. We don't speak anymore. She might think its because of this, and I'm almost ashamed that it sort of is. Not entirely, of course, about a thousand other things lead to the demise of our friendship, but I can't lie that her wedding announcement didn't help matters.

I didn't mean for this to be about her. She was a nice person and I hope she's very happy.

I want to be, too. Things like secret screenames and single phrases used to make me very happy. But that was in the beginning. When those things were just for me. Now those things are gone. Shared with others.

I'm not sure what I expected. Whatever it was, it was unrealistic. I left that relationship a while back. It was natural - that opened the door to share what I thought of as mine with others. He could. Turns out that I couldn't. And then I came back and wanted him to tell me that he couldn't either. But he didn't. And we didn't re-enter the honeymoon phase of our relationship. It went straight back into being hard. And I wasn't ready for that.

There's an object that I see occasionally that always shakes me up, even if I'm in the best of moods. Its a stupid little something that I wanted a long time ago that I didn't get - for whatever reason. But now it's there. I can only assume that it was purchased to impress someone else. That object, every time I see it, sends me down a ridiculous spiral of self-hatred. I tell myself I'm not pretty; I'm not witty enough; I'm not intelligent; I'm too fat. It's ridiculous because its a common object, yet it brings out all of these horrible things in me. But it was there before me (or so I once heard). Not during. Then it was after. New and shiny. I want it broken in a million pieces on the floor. So I can maybe have something that is just for me again.

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