Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sometimes, You Just Have to Say It Out Loud

This post is a slight re-write of a comment I left here. The comment ended up getting pretty darn long, and I felt pretty passionate about it. Then I thought "wow, that's practically my own post!" So, here you go!

When Fearless Husband came home from Korea and showed me the computer games, full-length black leather duster, books, t-shirts, and 250GB hard drive he bought himself, I was pleased for him. Then I realized he hadn't even THOUGHT to get me anything. Nothing. Not one single thing. (I take that back...he bought the first season of a show he watches on DVD, and claimed it was for me. Yeah, right.) His first long trip away and me a brand new Navy wife, and nothing?? I was really upset. You know, the quiet, fuming, slamming-the-dishes-around, "nothing, HONEY" sort of upset.

I have to remember that we just think in fundamentally different ways. I go somewhere and I see sixty-seven things that he would love, that my mother would love, that my best friend would love, and I have a hard time not buying them ALL. He goes somewhere and sees only the things he wants for himself. Yes, he loves me. He just doesn't think the same way I do.

Shoot, think about sex, for example. *Warning, huge generalization ahead that makes me sound way more cynical than I really am..* Men do pleasurable things for women, but only so men can ultimately get what gives them pleasure. Women do pleasurable things for men to please the men, so the men will love them more. (I know, WAY too simplified and not always the case, but STILL...)

I don't want him to get me anything out of guilt, or because he "has to". I don't want the "here's a diamond necklace because I had to buy you something and this was expensive." I want the "here are ten individually (and clumsily) wrapped presents, each of which only cost a dollar, but I spent six hours picking them out and thinking about what would make you smile." I come close to weeping with joy when he brings me flowers for no reason...and I know he stood there and told the clerk which specific flowers to put into the bouquet, because he remembers the ones I've pointed out as being beautiful.

Basically, I want a man who thinks like a wife or a girlfriend, not a husband...but only in certain circumstances.


I've learned I have to tell him things, out loud, in specific words. It's not his fault that he doesn't know his lines in the script I've written in my head. He's got many fine qualities, but ESP isn't one of them.

Before Christmas this year, I told him very specifically and very gently that I really wanted some presents in my stocking...nothing over $5, he didn't have to wrap anything, he just had to fill my stocking. I told him I'd give him some hints, and that the hints didn't mean I wanted everything--I was just giving him a pool from which he could select. Then, I asked him to "help" my father get stocking presents for my stepmother (having discovered that my stepmother had never had a Christmas stocking from my father, even though she makes one for him every year!!)

I took them both to a gifty-sort of store, and gave them a brief demostration: "This, not this. She'd love these, not these." etc. And "Oh by the way, look honey! I think this right here that I've put into your hand is really pretty, don't you? And that over there on the little shelf--here let me steer you right over to it." Then, before all that info could leak out of their empty little heads, I left them standing bewildered in the store and told them I'd meet them in an hour at the bar and buy them each a beer. (You know, you have to dangle that carrot...)

Best Christmas stocking I ever got. He even wrapped everything. My stepmother loved hers, too. I made a HUGE deal out of each and every little gift, exclaiming and showing everyone and jumping up to kiss him, etc. I showed my appreciation in other ways later, behind closed doors.

So I guess I need to say, out loud, "Beloved, when you go away on the big boat, and you get to stop in a port for a day or two, I would really like you to bring me back one dinky, cheap souvenir, and occasionally one relatively inexpensive something sparkly, please." And I've been talking a LOT about the set of about fifteen different, beautiful, thin, sterling-silver bangle bracelets my great-grandmother had, and how each one was from a different place, and how much I LOVED those bracelets, and how I'd love to start a collection of my own in sterling or in gold.

Sometimes you have to hint with a sledge hammer. And sometimes, you just have to say it out loud.

Choosing Joy

I ought to name a daughter or a cat I'd have some in my life.

Joy, I've got. We all do. Sometimes you have to work at it, though.

I don't want to go to bed, in case I miss something. But what happens at 3:00 in the morning other than labor (not an experience I've had--labor that is), sudden stomach ailments or bad TV? Then I either wake up without enough sleep, or I oversleep and am behind and cranky for the rest of the day.

I procrastinate. A lot.

I hate to work out, and I really, really need to.

I'm forty years old and I really want a baby (adopted or biological...either one will be just fine).

I've recently sold my house (which I loved), quit my job (ditto), left my family, friends and choir (double ditto) and moved halfway across the world to follow my new husband.So I have lots of things I can whine about.


I believe we are each responsible for our own emotions to a great extent...I choose to be happy, or choose to be pissed off, or choose to be embarrassed when my husband sings to me, off-key, at the top of his lungs in a public place. I may not always achieve happiness, but I'm a lot more likely to get close if I've chosen happiness than if I've chosen to be sad or upset or angry or whatever. And no, I'm not talking about depression, which is not a choice, and is a very real and very serious illness -- I'm talking about taking personal responsibility for myself and my emotions on a regular, day-to-day basis, barring medical issues. I refuse to dump the responsibility for my bad days onto others or "Them" or "the world," and I'm not giving anyone else credit for my good days, either.

Thus my mantra--I do my very best to consciously choose joy.





And you know what? I really love Japan, and I really love my husband, and I really love my life. Even though sometimes, all those things are hard to love. So am I, when it comes down to it.

Stick around. I'll whine pretty often, sure. But then I will find a silver lining. Or die trying.