As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I got married earlier this year. I'm at an interesting crux in life where for every friend who is getting married or having a baby, there's one who is single and loving it (or not). Some of my single friends say "write about your marriage and give us hope that there are still good men/women out there!" and some of my married friends say "write about your marriage - we can relate and share our experiences!"
Now, I've toyed with the idea, but I'll admit that putting my business out in the internet streets is scary - plus, I have someone else's comfort level to consider as well. However, I'm constantly driven to write about whatever is on my mind, so I may indulge the requests every now and then. Lucky for y'all who keep asking - today is one of those days.
My current "marriage lesson" is reconciling my independence. And it's a toughie. Let me explain.
For the majority of my life, I was raised by a single mother. An incredibly strong single mother who instilled in her eldest daughter the values of being independent. As a woman who came to this country on her own, she always relied on self - but that mentality increased tenfold after my parents divorced. Here she was, with three young children to raise, a mortgage to pay, and fall-out from a lopsided divorce agreement. Business had to be taken care of, and she was the only one who could do it. I watched her intently as she moved through life, and never realized just how much I internalized what I saw.
For a couple of years after the divorce, all Mom would do is go to work, come home, cook us dinner, then go to sleep. I remember her sleeping so much that I would often creep to her room and put my finger under her nose to make sure she was still breathing. I'd tuck the covers tighter around her, then creep back downstairs to help li'l brother with his homework, and watch a few episodes of Sailor Moon with li'l sister. I began to feel like Mom Jr., and I loved it. Taking care of people was fun for me. I felt needed, valued, appreciated, and best of all, mature beyond my years. It was my first mini-lesson and proved that I could do it - I could take care of myself and my family.
Fast forward years later to a grown-up Bee. One who learned how to work hard enough to ensure she had enough money to take care of herself. One who learned that you really can't trust anyone - so beware of anyone who came with a slick smile and easy promises (which, if you looked hard enough, was everyone). One who learned how to make people need her more than she needed them. One who lived on her own, thought "joint account" was an expletive, and never invested ALL of her feelings because nothing ever lasted forever.
Eventually, I found myself in a long-term relationship. Then, I found myself engaged and planning a wedding. And during pre-marital counseling, I found my biggest hurdle: reconciling my independence. I had a man who was similar to me in a lot of ways. Capable, strong-willed, ambitious - but he scared the beejeezus out of me because he wanted to be an equal partner in this life thing. And I had no clue how to let him in.
One night, I was stressing over bills. Calculator out, biting on a pen, and cursing the likes of Rogers and OSAP. He sat beside me, started rubbing my hunched shoulders and said "Why are you flipping out? I'm here. You're not doing this alone anymore." I turned to him with a look like:
...but then I realized, "Damn. He's right. NOW what?"
This feels like a 2-parter. Stay tuned...