Writing

24 Jan

I’ve been trying to write a book lately. But it’s really more suited to a series of blog posts. They’re all disjointed thoughts about random things; and that’s what a blog is for, really, isn’t it?

Here’s the first:

I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t wake up one more day and wedge myself into this too small, itchy sweater that my everyday had turned into somehow. I’m a mother; I’m mentally ill; and I didn’t want to stay home full-time anymore.  Maybe I didn’t even want to be a part of my family. I had no idea what I wanted or needed; what sweet salve my soul was crying out for. I just wanted something.

Life happened fast. And it tends to repeat itself if you’re not paying any attention. I grew up insecure and unsure of my mom’s feelings for me; I got married to a man who wasn’t ready to be married and felt the same way. I felt depressed because I was uneasy in the mother-daughter realm; I was depressed because the husband-wife dynamic we had sucked and even more depressed when we added in children and became the mother in the mother-daughter scene.  There’s more.

I cried a lot my first year of marriage. We were constantly fighting, each of us clinging to something that wasn’t even there. We were prepared to not get along all the time; that we would bicker about small things and where to put the plates versus the cups; that it would take WORK to be married. We had no idea that we’d get married after our emotionally draining and tumultuous courtship. I’m surprised we made it out alive after all the back-and-forth, bargaining, and emotionally charged conversations.

Joe and I got married somewhere between a whim and a hard place. We were both 21 and had been dating for about eight months. It was the summer between our junior and senior years of college. He went to UIndy, and I was at IUPUI. (Same city, different schools.) We knew each other since high school; that’s when I broke his heart because I started to ignore him after we had a disagreement about a boy I liked that he didn’t want me to like– we weren’t dating at the time, for the record.

We were both part of the same college ministry. Joe was kind of well known in this young Christian world. When we started dating, almost everyone I was introduced to thought he was this amazing, influential guy. The first Cru party we went to after we started dating, I was told that I must be “something special” to have Joe be my boyfriend. (WTF?!) I had only recently become a Christian, so Joe did seem like a Bible study superstar to me, too. He was everything they teach you to want in Christian circles: loving, kind, and compassionate yet strong, brave, and distinctly masculine.

God, I was in love with Joe. He annoyed me sometimes with his strong opinions and seeming unthoughtfulness in emotional situations, but he was also someone I could, and did, talk to until the wee hours of the morning. He was deeply interested in understanding me in all my broken ways.  He was pretty easy to fall for, really. I was mad over him; we told each other that we were each in love with the other at Christmas Conference, just 3 months after we had started dating.

Unfortunately, our conservative, evangelical brand of Christianity made sex somewhat frightening and permanent. Neither one of us wanted to have sex in the way that our higher brains gave ascent to the idea that God designed sex to be only between the married. Both of us absolutely wanted us to have sex, though. We tried to keep a lid on this from the beginning. First, when we initially started dating, Joe initiated a strict no touching policy– no hand holding, no pecks on the cheeks, maybe hugs? This didn’t last long. So then it was: okay, hand holding and quick hugs. Then, and this is still perplexing to me so don’t try to make sense of it: we were giving each other kisses on the neck.  Yeah. In terms of innocent behavior, we sort of went from 1 to 100.

Well, okay, then there was way too much sexual tension. So, hey, let’s just kiss and get it over with! Geez! And we did. And it was awesome. That first kiss is something I plan to tell my grandkids about. Then we were making out.  I think the first time we had a kissing spree, it went on for 5 hours.  I wish I were kidding. I fell asleep once with Joe in his bed one night; when I woke up, I jogged out of his place at a respectable pace.

But we managed not to do any groping or hand stuff, so we were still in the clear-ish. I don’t mean that we were “technical” virgins, but we were creeping up on a line that was a little blurry to begin with. Until one night, after we went to a friend’s wedding, we just took a leap over this line since we already had a running start.

I still can’t remember how we ended up having sex. We must have been lying down together, but past that I have no clue. But we did have sex, and we weren’t married. I wanted Joe to commit to me and finally make up his mind, and Joe wanted to do the right thing. When we had finished, it was almost the first thing that was said: we were going to get married.

Everyone’s reaction is almost always of shock to this story. Even conservative, evangelical Christians give it the crooked eye (excluding the ones who told Joe he was doing the right thing in marrying me…I’m still not sure about that). What the hell was wrong with us?! Couldn’t we just not have sex again and go from there?

But, there we were. Married.

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