Between Friends

I’m looking forward to The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots, too, though I’ll be waiting till they come on TV or the box thing Himself has, where he accesses movies and TV series and so on. I’m a big admirer of Olivia Colman and like watching her in anything she does. Period dramas are also among my likes; the costumes! the manners! 

Regarding Tolle and the pain-body: I can see Himself and I in what Tolle says about it, and am going to ask Himself if he’s interested in listening to some of Tolle’s talks with me. 

I’ve listened to him speak more than once, especially the podcasts with Oprah because they’re short, though she drives me nuts with her continual interrupting — just when he’s about to give an answer to my unspoken question, she butts in! I understand she’s enthusiastic and wants to share her experience … but this format is not ideal for me, except for its brevity. I’m reading The Power of Now at the moment, as well as watching/listening to his talks online through the School of Awakening course. 

As for sex to improve matters between men and women when they’re having problems: How? I can’t be intimate in that way with someone when I’m angry and/or hurt by their behaviour. They’re the last person I want to open up to and be vulnerable with. I need to feel safe in a man’s arms before I can have sex with him. 

I used to hope more frequent sex would make Himself happier and kinder, but it didn’t. Good for you, if it helps at your house!

I think we’d benefit by making a regular date for sex. Not that the date couldn’t be cancelled or postponed, but having a standing date might give Himself something to look forward to, and hope … both of which might make him think before he speaks. Me, I now find intercourse painful. Use it or lose it, isn’t that the saying? I don’t know what I can do about that. “Use lots of lube,” the nurse practitioner said. Doesn’t seem to make a difference. “There’s a prescription I can give you,” she said, but it has possible side effects I don’t want to risk, especially for intercourse that is so infrequent because we don’t get along well enough. It doesn’t help when the man is such a goddamn dynamo that intercourse isn’t short and sweet, or that a hand job doesn’t do it for him,  or … well anyway, we’ll figure something out I guess. I’m easily satisfied but he is not, and I don’t feel good about that. If only a blow-up doll or a pocket-pussy — I keep telling him I’ll buy him these things (ha!) but he’s not having it. 

I should go outside and see if the driveway right outside the garage door needs shovelling after the plow cleared the road yesterday so I can go home tomorrow. But I’d really rather go sit on the couch and read, and just might. Tomorrow will be the busy day: washing my bedding, packing and loading my stuff up, dusting a little, sweeping and damp-mopping the floor so they can come home to their place in tiptop shape. 
It will be good to get home. 

Your next while will be busy, working nights. I hope you enjoy the job. I think the library job here isn’t for me because it’s casual, meaning I’d be called in once in a blue moon rather than knowing my schedule in advance. I seem to need more time to “psyche myself up” to go places and do things, nowadays; I don’t like being on call, or being uncertain of the correct way of doing things because I haven’t done them often or recently enough, and there’s no one else there (ours is a one-person library) to ask for help. Also, children: no. I don’t really like a bunch of children around, so the storytime mornings would be an ordeal for me. I just can’t get excited about applying for that job. Then again, I was excited about applying for the store job, and look how that turned out. Meh. We’ll see.


Snowed-In on Sunday

It’s a peaceful, quiet morning alone with the dog and the cat inside and lots of snow outside. I couldn’t get my car out of the driveway even if I tried, which I won’t. The homeowners’ son will come and plow it out tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m looking forward to going home on Wednesday, even though I’ve enjoyed my time here. I haven’t seen Himself since last Saturday but we keep in touch daily via phone and videochat. He’s more faithful with the calling, but I phone him sometimes too. Doing my part, eh. 

Recently I was thinking about my belief that certain jobs come when they’re needed and how even jobs we don’t like can be, rather than mistakes, stepping stones to jobs we prefer. Last year I applied for and took that job at the store, believing I’d only get it if it would be good for me. It wasn’t, really; the casual hours didn’t give me enough time to feel competent — something I don’t like when dealing with money — and I couldn’t find enough to keep me busy so had to do a lot of pacing. I quit as soon as I could. There goes my theory. Still I cling to it! It’s horribly disheartening to go to a job one doesn’t like, even when it’s putting money into your pocket. 

Himself talked about “not reacting” so much, and I talked about “not saying” so much, and really it seems to be the same thing: taking a pause to let some space in around our thoughts and feelings. I’ve just begun Eckhart Tolle’s School of Awakening course online and he speaks of that same space that I have been “allowing” for the past year or so: the space to observe and let things be, rather than to act immediately on my own thoughts. I’m pleased to note these things fitting together so nicely. I seem to have gotten there on my own, and Tolle’s philosophy is reminding me of, and reinforcing, what I’ve found to be true. 

Of course it’s easy to be calm and accepting when I am alone for days at a time. Being home again will be when I’m challenged. Being with others has always been a challenge for me, I guess. 

Time to hop into the shower and get dressed, ready for wherever the afternoon leads me. Maybe Himself will come visit. I’ll do yoga and watch/listen to another Tolle talk online; what a little sweetie. I like his calm and patient demeanour, especially notable when he pauses between sentences and sits perfectly comfortable with long moments of silence before speaking again to his audience. Most people would be so quick to hurry to fill that space!

A Bend in the Road

I spent two weeks imagining what single life – the rest of my life – might look like, and wondering how I was going to get there from here.

After two weeks away, I walked in the door at home and proceeded to put food into the fridge and my stuff into the rooms where it goes. I said hello to Himself, who said hello back. He soon began preparing the cat-food pail to go out to the barn, and putting on his jacket, so I asked if he was avoiding me. Not really, he said; he had to go do chores now.

I said how about a hug.

We hugged a moment.

We can do better than that, I said, so we hugged longer.

When he returned, I must’ve said What are we going to do about this?

And we talked.

He feels that nothing he says or does is right, according to me, and that I have been watching and waiting for the opportunity to leave. When I get pissed off, I ignore him. He always feels alone. We don’t want any of the same things. He’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life and how to do it. He misses his dad and grandmother and is bothered by so many deaths of friends his age. He wants to spend as much time as he can with his grandchildren. He is dealing with some things that have happened to him but is not going to talk with me or anyone about it. He doesn’t want to work construction jobs anymore and doesn’t anymore want to sell cattle into the market where they may be mistreated and at any rate will be slaughtered. It bothers him. He doesn’t have enough money saved to support us both in our old age, and I don’t plan ahead for it. Oh and that I only like the early days of love and then look elsewhere for new excitement, and don’t want him anymore. And that he wasn’t mad and didn’t bark at me when I asked him why he was going somewhere with his mother that day, that I totally misread him, and that I often do this and get mad, that he wasn’t mad at all, just a bit impatient and in a hurry.

What did I have to say? That nothing I want, and it’s very little, is respected, that everything I own is not welcome in the house and is resented, that I’m the lowest on the list of his priorities, that he won’t even hang a shelf for me but will go far out of his way for others. I feel he doesn’t care much for me anymore and doesn’t say so because he is worried I will take half his assets if we split up. That he won’t show me any everyday affection unless I make a point of going to him and giving him some but then he wants sex out of the blue when there has been no intimacy, and when I’m not willing, he’s resentful. That he is often angry and ranting and even when it has nothing to do with me, I have trouble handling it; even if it’s at the other end of the house and I hear him cursing about something in the kitchen when I’m still in bed in the morning, I feel like shriveling up and disappearing. I never know when he is going to lose his temper and lash out at me, whether in private or with his family members present.

We talked about quite a few things. He told me how he’s been trying not to react to things so harshly or quickly. I told him how I’ve been practising keeping my opinions to myself, and as a consequence have gone behind the obvious and figured out why I was saying things I said: that it was about resistance and control.

Somehow we had a pleasant evening without solving any problems, but just airing a few. None of these are really new except that he is dealing with “something” that he’s not telling me about. My first thought is that he may have been molested as a child; I can’t imagine what else would be bothering him now but if it was that, then his anger and temper now would make a lot more sense. I advised him to find someone to talk to if he can’t talk to me.

The next morning I’m washing dishes and he picks up a dishtowel and I tease him that he must be dying to get his hands into the warm soapy water now that I’ve been away and he’s had the pleasure of washing his own dishes for the past two weeks.

No way, he tells me, would he put his hands into the “cold” water I use to wash dishes. Also, he wouldn’t fill the sink so full of water.

It’s not cold, I say. I just added hot water to warm it up; which is why the sink’s so full.

Well you use cold water all the time, he says, disdainfully.

It’s cold to you, I say, because your hands can handle really hot water. I can’t. To me, this temperature is just right.

We have had this conversation before, as if there’s only one correct way to wash dishes and it’s his way, and after a bit I say Stop criticizing the way I do it.

I’m not criticizing, he says. Besides, you criticize everything about me. How I speak to my mother. How often I talk to my son. This, that and the other thing.

Oh? says I. So? You’ve criticized the way I walk, and the way I yawn.

Fuck off, he says, and leaves.

And I stand finishing the dishes and think, What Just Happened?

Here I was, thinking things could be okay, and now here I am, feeling like they never will be. It’s just more of the same old stupid shit.

When he returns after putting out bales in the 30-below, I’m in the office and he goes into the living room. I stop what I’m doing and go out to him to say I don’t want to fight, and before I reach him he says he’s sorry, and we hug and hold each other tight and decide to go to bed, which we do, and he tells me he wants to see me nude and never does and he’s turned on by me all the time and hugging and kissing during the day makes him want to make love and we don’t because I don’t always want to and he has work to do and intercourse is painful for me now and basically my body still enchants him every day.

And so there we are. Getting along fine since then, so much so that I’m sorry when I have to leave for the place I’m pet-sitting for the next two weeks.

Eckhart is My Yoda

I recently discovered the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and they really speak to me. He is presenting a six-month course for $1250 or more and I of course can’t and won’t pay that but applied for a scholarship and got it for $100 so I signed up. I need encouragement and help as I work on myself and my own attitudes because I am tired of being angry and disappointed with this man and the way he acts. He’s not the partner I want or need, and I guess I’m not the partner for him anymore either. Something has to give and I am trying to be different, to act differently and think differently, if that will somehow change things. No one else will. It has to be me. As I look at all the past relationships that I gave up on and let go of, I see that my dissatisfaction was one of the common denominators.

A Letter on Wednesday

Dear Shrimpette,

I’ve slept a little late, which means stepping outside sooner than I’m really ready. The neighbour’s dog needs to be let outside before 10:00 … darn it. Fortunately my ski pants slide nicely over my pyjamas.

The three small dogs I’m staying with are easy (mostly; I had to deal with a dry-hard-shit-egg-stuck-in-an-ass-causing-constipation horror the other day that left me sweaty and gagging and grossed out, and I hope upon hope it doesn’t happen again) but the neighbour’s dog doesn’t want to be here. I was to care for him Sunday to Tuesday, which stretched into overnight and this morning. When he’s here, he’s driving me nuts, whining and pacing (and also shit on the floor twice yesterday morning) – I finally took him home and left him there.

I may have to reconsider this dogsitting thing, although it’s so nice to be here and not at home that it’s worth it, for the peace.

My sister gets home on the 18th and I’ve agreed to stay with someone else’s dog from the 21st to the 6th, also right near our hometown but just out of the village. After that, Himself is going to the next province to dote on the grandgirl and work on his son’s basement, and I won’t accompany him. Visits there are no pleasure for me. The TV is on constantly and loud; their friends are coming over with big dogs sometimes; their own two neurotic dogs are nuts and underfoot and fight with each other and freak out if you open an oven door or use a broom; the daughter-in-law gets bitchy and I hate to be around that – not with me but with our son – and she yells at the dogs; she and our son love to shop for six hours at a time, and go out to eat (driving across the city and waiting in line for a table is not my idea of a fun outing, and neither is shopping), and have people over for meals – Himself will go along with everything as he wants to be with his son 24 hours a day even if it’s not doing things he himself likes to do, but I just don’t have this need; they like board games (snore) in the evening and want me to play; the little granddaughter is a sweetheart but I’m not one to entertain a little one constantly and don’t find her as fascinating as Himself does. He is happy to be part of it all, but me … no. I’d rather read a book, I really only like “visiting” for about two hours at a time, and there is no solitude in that house and no real quiet. I can go for walks but the place is surrounded by houses and the traffic is loud to me; it’s not a pleasure or a relaxation to walk there. It’s not the place for me for any length of time, and if Himself goes alone he can stay longer. I don’t want to be there at all and haven’t returned since our trip to meet the newborn, when he insisted we stay at their house (though Himself has a sister whom we could’ve stayed with) and I felt this was so inconsiderate of a new mother with her first baby that I felt terrible. “We can’t do that, it would hurt my son’s feelings if we don’t stay there,” was Himself’s excuse. His son’s feelings were more important than mine, and more important than the new mom’s – who would never say we weren’t welcome, but did let it slip on the day we left that this would be the first night they’d had to be alone in their house with their new baby and she would enjoy it. I didn’t blame her one bit, poor thing. They’d had constant company staying with them since her return from the hospital. And of course Himself just wants to be with his son (and now the grandbaby) all the time, so no one else’s feelings really mattered to him. They didn’t then and they don’t now. The second grandchild will be born in April and I may not go then either, even if Himself and I are still together and it doesn’t look like we will be. I went the first time because I knew he wanted to share this new life with me; he was so excited. This next time, if I’m true to myself instead of putting his feelings (and maybe the kids’ too; I don’t want to hurt their feelings either) first, I won’t go unless he agrees to stay somewhere else than their home. He won’t, and I hate to put myself through the hell (for me) that is staying at their place.

I talked to my friend Clementine last week and was comforted to hear that her spouse has a daughter whose home she refuses to visit anymore because it is no pleasure for her. She sends her spouse there alone. He has a son whom Clem loves to visit because he’s fun to be with, while the daughter is a different story. So I’m not the only one. I’ve been afraid that I’m too inflexible, too intransigent, too fussy, not giving enough, not selfless enough, immature, etc. Maybe I am and have to accept this about myself. I don’t owe anyone anything, least of all my time.

I’ve been here since Thursday afternoon and haven’t contacted Himself, nor he me. I was keeping my distance from him the day before I left because he’d had an outburst of temper and hatred toward me, and he left the house before I was out of bed Thursday morning. If he does text or call, I doubt I’ll respond. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just shows up here, but I hope he doesn’t.

Clearly we are both enjoying the break. That’s the only “drama” in my life, and it’s nothing new. I don’t want to live with him anymore and don’t know where else to live. Again, nothing new. I was ready to move out last year at this time and told him so; he said he’d move instead, then never did, and we muddled along, trying to be better to each other and with some success. But he’s still a bad-tempered, quick-tempered man whose life now seems to revolve around not only his son and granddaughter but his trip to England and Sweden back in June/July and his Facebook account. I am sick of hearing about them all. I guess that’s his nature – to be obsessive about whatever his current passions are – but to me there is something pathetic about having to check the traffic and weather every day in the city where the kids live and watch the news from there and so on. And he’s still talking about that Europe trip every chance he gets. I would like to block my ears somehow. I know it was the trip of his lifetime and all, but what about the here and now? Is there nothing worth talking about?

This is me “resisting” what IS, isn’t it? Well, I’m trying not to. I attempt to keep my reaction from showing, too, because I don’t want to rain on his parade. It’s not my job to tell him what to focus upon. I don’t and can’t and shouldn’t control his interests or activities. All I can do is be aware of my own reaction to his focus, and try to handle myself with some maturity and sense. And patience. My most obvious urge is to be somewhere else, somewhere I don’t have to listen to him.

At the moment I have no work to do; finished up my files yesterday and am waiting for a couple more, and hoping something more substantial soon comes in, as I had to borrow from our joint savings account to pay for our groceries and internet (and my personal expenditures) this past month.

Off to let the neighbour’s dog out to do his business. I’ll be plowing through crusty, deep snowbanks since the windstorm the other day.


There. That wasn’t so bad. It’s actually quite nice out, compared to the past couple days where I was basically housebound due to the wind and cold and snowing. Today I could’ve gone for a walk happily, but I’ll wait till there’s food in my belly and I’m dressed. It’s made me want a second cup of coffee though, so I’m indulging. I’ve finally lit the beeswax pillar candle I brought along; it’s one made by our friends and I still wish there was an essential oil of that scent I love so much. The kitchen table looks very different from when my sister’s home: she has a tablecloth, napkins, two sets of salt and pepper shakers on the table all the time. I’ve cleared them off and have my laptop, a place mat, a stack of letters and photos that I’ve saved for her from the old journals I’ve finished reading over the past few days, a lip balm tube, a small tub of coconut oil, a roll of toilet paper (my nose-blowing requires these last two often), my Witches’ datebook, a notepad, and a canvas bag of fine-tipped felt markers. I’m especially relaxing into not having anyone come along to disturb anything, complain about anything, and so on. The phone has not been ringing. I don’t feel I “should” make a big supper for the sake of someone who has a far bigger appetite than I and insists a meal isn’t complete without meat.

My nephew will be over sometime today to plow out the driveway; his littlest daughter spent yesterday afternoon with me. She is a delightful angel at two, but I was still looking forward to her being picked up by her mama! Her mama then brought Chinese food for supper and the family of four stayed for an hour or so, and that was nice too, but it was still a relief when they all piled out again. I hadn’t had the TV on at all since arriving Thursday so I stretched out on the couch and watched several episodes of “The Closer.”

I can’t help wondering if the next 10 days will be just as satisfying. And that is probably more than you want to know about my life these days. I’m on this lovely, richly appointed island surrounded by snow and ice. There is family around if I need anything or anyone human. I’m doing yoga every day, and a bit of meditation. My intellectual and emotional selves have agreed to work more closely together (this in one of my visualizations). I only get online to post a photo to Instagram in the mornings (a new custom in recent months) and to check my email.  The rest of the time it’s library books, old journals (just a couple left to read through now, and the burning stack is large), myself and my thoughts.

You wrote in a letter how hurtful it was when your inlaws didn’t even offer their condolences after your brother passed away. My brother-in-law’s family reacted the same way after Mom died. They didn’t say a word and he and my sister were angry about that. He finally told them –they came from Scotland to stay at my sister’s house for a couple weeks shortly after! And not a peep! – that Mom had been very important to him and close to my sister and they were both gutted and not acknowledging the loss caused even more pain. I know it’s people’s own discomfort at talking about death that stops them from mentioning the elephant in a room, and that they are afraid of upsetting the bereaved, but still … most people have enough common sense to take the risk. Or is it all about manners, and different people/cultures having different ones?

You will be missing your boy. It must have been a comfort to have him home, particularly at this time. I’m glad to hear that your husband seems willing to acknowledge he is not the only one with stresses and strains. Himself is not there yet. He’s the only one who’s ever hard-done-by. Everyone uses him and doesn’t appreciate all he does for them. He’s the only one who ever does anything. Everyone else’s life is a breeze. Everyone else is stupid and lazy. And so on.

I’ve been trying not to dwell on these situations with Himself that disappoint and anger me. Trying to take my reactions and distaste, acknowledge them, and then just let them go, rather than allow thoughts about them to go around and around in my head as they will do if left to follow those existing ruts. Trying to strengthen, deepen and encourage happier, more healthy thoughts that may bring happier, more healthy results. Trying not to identify with my thoughts so much, to remember that I am not my thoughts, that my thoughts aren’t necessarily true; they are just thoughts that come along and don’t need to be clung to, repeated, or even necessarily acted upon in every moment.

I see my nephew is out there now with a tractor and blade. I plugged my car in last night, not because I plan to go anywhere but because it was at least 20-below and I always think What If there were a fire? I’d need to be able to start a vehicle, to keep warm. I forgot the neighbour’s house is open and would be the place to go. It’s not like living at our place, where you’d have to walk a mile in your pyjamas to get out of the freezing cold if you weren’t warm enough standing outside watching your house burn.

Seems warmer this morning so I will unplug the car again.

I have been trying to contact my cousin’s widow often, even just a text, but she is busy and though I know she’s suffering, maybe I’m not the one to help her. We’ve never been close; she and my cousin spent almost all their time together and with their fine sons, and she was never all that welcoming to me. But I’ll keep reaching out to her anyway; I’ve known her since we were kids, too. I have a silly story my cousin wrote one night after we’d been out driving around and drinking as teenagers, and I’ve got it with me to give to her when I get over there. She’s been away helping her son and daughter-in-law care for a young granddaughter whose heart doesn’t work properly and who requires a lot of medications. It’s another great strain that family has been under for the past two years or so. The little one needs a heart transplant but may not be strong enough to survive it if she’s lucky enough to get one.

My life is so easy, in comparison. Right now. I do appreciate it. All I have to worry about is a place to live and a reliable income. Nothing life-threatening. Just inconvenience, really. I don’t seem to mind the impending “loss” of Himself, though I don’t want to hurt him. I’m not sure it will hurt him anyway. He’s not as able as I am to be alone, but he orbits around other people so much that I’m not sure I’ll be missed much, if at all.

Oh! My cousin’s widow has just answered my text, is home, and will come for tea this afternoon! I’ll get dressed and wash my face.

I was just making Red River Cereal for breakfast (yes it’s noon now but whatever), which was reminding me of a time spent with Inez at a little power-station house near a small village in British Columbia, where we spent the third term of our volunteer stint as 19-year-olds. And she phoned. By the time I figured out how to answer it, the phone had stopped ringing and I got a message that the battery is low. I’ve plugged it in and will talk with her later, when I won’t be tethered to the wall.

It’s time to tidy up and start preparing for the afternoon visit, so I’ll get this “into the mail” and hope it finds you doing okay with all you’ve been through lately.

I don’t know when’s the last time I’ve written such a long letter. Must have something to do with the perfect roomy conditions around me, with endless time to read and write and look out the windows all around. Such a freedom.



Saturday Night

Once again your friend Fairweather is on retreat. In retreat. Retreated!

Many months ago she agreed to stay with her sister’s dogs while Merriwether and her husband are on a tropical island for a couple weeks.

For a while there, Fairweather wasn’t looking forward to it because she’s been getting along so well at home, with Himself. But over the Christmas season his true colours showed themselves again – twice: once barking rudely at her in front of his son, daughter-in-law and mother (and yes Fairweather politely but firmly told him to stand down; you bet) and once when she asked a question he turned on her immediately with such fury and hatefulness in his face and voice that she backed away and said Never Mind; I am done being interested in you.

And so she was more than happy to pack up and leave the house the next day.

She’s been here since Thursday. He left before she was up in the morning, and she was gone before he returned. She will not be contacting him, nor will she be responding if he texts or calls, which he hasn’t.

Merriwether mentioned a friend of hers is looking for a house/dog/cat sitter for the two weeks after she gets back, and Fairweather said Yes, I’ll be happy to do it!

And after that, Himself will be heading to the next province to spend a week or two with his son and granddaughter. “Do you want to come along” he asked her. “No,” she said.

No point in getting into it here. You’ve heard it all before if you read this blog, and it’s just the same old rat on a wheel thing.

Fairweather’s friend Birdie once asked why she’s still with Himself when he’s such a turkey so often, and Fairweather’s said it’s because he has many good qualities and she is content 95% of the time and doesn’t every relationship have conflict and resentment and maybe she overreacts and many’s the time she was glad, once she cooled down, that she didn’t up and leave at the drop of a hat.

But she read the following the other day and it has caused her to rethink:

Imagine you’ve made a spicy, delicious pot of chili and your spouse comes along and tosses in a cat turd. Do you still have chili, or do you now have shit stew?

Holiday Season Approacheth

My friend who was here since Wednesday afternoon left this morning. I’m still working on sorting/cleaning/organizing to make space for a Christmas tree that Himself wants to put up because of Wee Granddaughter. I’m hoping he’ll abandon that idea and be happy with other coloured lights and sparkly decorations and stuffed Santas and reindeer, but we shall see.

The little girlie would be as thrilled with anything shiny; it doesn’t have to be a big tree in our small living room. On top of having to childproof everything, which means finding places up high for all the stuff that’s normally down low. It’s not easy in this place, but I managed last time they were here so can do it again somehow. 

Himself says, “We never have people over” and “You don’t want to, so we don’t” and that kind of thing, kind of martyring himself and blaming me. I told him this week that if he wants to host a supper during the holiday season, that’s fine with me; I just don’t want it sprung on me last minute or at someone else’s suggestion. I want to do it if he wants to and we decide to, not because his mother invites herself and others or expects us to organize a family meal.

 “But you don’t like doing it,” he responded, “so we don’t.” 

“That’s true,” I said. “That’s why you’ve never seen me invite a bunch of my family over for supper. But if it’s important to you to do it for your family, then we’ll do it. There’s nothing wrong with doing something that makes you happy. I’ll put a smile on and do my best to enjoy myself. I’m sure you’ve done things for me that you didn’t really feel like doing, and I’ll do the same for you.”

So then he tells me, after all these years of sideways-complaining that we never have his whole family over because I don’t want to, that he doesn’t really want to. People! I tell ya! They can be so — so — contrary!! I may never understand them.

I’m introducing a new attitude to convince myself I’ll absolutely love having his son, daughter-in-law and their 15-month-old around for about five days. I think it’s starting to work. I’m starting to look forward to seeing them when they arrive on Boxing Day. It will be a major accomplishment if I can just get over myself and stay over myself! 

Related to this situation is the discussion of honesty and dishonesty, or at least not showing everything one is feeling, but instead putting on a show of what is desired or expected in order to keep the peace. In some cases this is necessary for navigating the social waters and pleasing others, such as a spouse or his family, and putting them first sometimes.

It’s when hiding one’s feelings, and doing what one doesn’t really want to, become a constant way of life that a Stepford Wives scenario begins to play out in my mind. That’s the kind of “not being true to oneself” that I don’t want to fall into. It can feel good to do for others, but if it’s done at one’s own expense too often, it’s not the positive thing that women have been told it is… when they do it.