Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

It has come to my attention through a recent disagreement with my husband that I have a few idiosyncrasies that apparently drive him completely and utterly insane. Those of you who know my husband can agree that this should be a far cry from surprise. As kind and funny as he is, he is also a very opinionated and somewhat overbearing man who uses the word "hate" much too loosely. The words "dislike" and "do not care for" don't exist in his vocabulary. He replaces them, however carelessly, with the word "hate."

I try not to discredit him for this, instead I often innocently compare him to Lennie, a character in John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, who is unable to recognize his physical strength. My husband is like Lennie in that he cannot recognize his own strength both physically and verbally. The same unacknowledged power lies behind his all too playful and often painful shoulder punches as well as his poor use of powerful words. Having this understanding allows me to take each overstated, exaggerated use of words like "hate" with a grain of salt, and offers me hope that he does not actually "hate" the little quirks of my character, but accepts them for who I am as I have agreed to do the same for him. One day, after rehashing our idiosyncrasies so often, I hope that we can learn to love each for them and not love each other any less because of them.

1. He hates that I listen to 96.5 KISS FM because it reminds him too much of my younger sister.

I can take this statement one of two ways: a) He feels that my sister and I have poor taste in music because we listen to this Pop/Rap/R&B station or b) He feels that I am too old to be listening to the same Pop/Rap/R&B station as my 20-year-old sister. I would like to defend myself by saying that if any other station could make me laugh or keep me entertained as much as the staff at this station does I would probably listen to them as well. My music tastes vary so greatly that I could listen to almost anything, but I choose to stick with what I know and, unfortunately for him, what I know happens to be a station he does not like.

I had hoped that my refusal to listen to Spelling Bee Champion hopeful, Fergie, would be enough to save me from his disappointment, but alas, it was not. I am left to accept that he does not agree with my tastes in this genre, just as he is not willing to leave me alone about listening to Ani Difranco, Alanis Morissette, or any of the other independent female artists I love. So be it. My loyalties do not lie with his favorites either.

2. He hates that I am on MySpace.

If his argument was about exposing myself to all the crazy, fucked up people who are no doubt lurking for their next victim on MySpace, I could understand and accept his discomfort, and I would willingly work with him on this issue, but you know as well as I do that his "hatred" for the megasite is all about MySpace being mainstream, and God forbid he or I have anything to do with mainstream.

I know I've said it repeatedly, but perhaps he has forgotten that MySpace has been a social experiment of mine since day one. I have an irrational fear of calling people that I can't seem to shake, and no matter how hard I try I can't avoid the damper this puts on my relationships with friends and acquaintances alike. The strain is understandably caused by feelings of a onesided relationship; I would never make that call and therefore it seemed like I didn't care, and we would inevitably lose touch. The problem is I did care I just couldn't muster the courage to pick up a phone and say so.

MySpace has given me the opportunity to do what I do best--communication through writing. I was once told that MySpace was the new phone number and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get in touch with those old friends and keep in contact with those new acquaintances through messages and inane comments. If my husband can't see the positive changes that this website has made on my personality then I don't know what to say other than I will stop pressuring him to join even in jest.

3. He hates when I stress out about balancing the checkbook when all he wants to do is watch a movie together.

This one baffles me because, honestly, what's more important; making sure we don't overdraft our account or watching that movie from Netflix with an infinite due date? Part of me wanted to bite at this new pet peeve and scream "Well, fine! You take care of the finances!" but how could I do that when it's obvious where his priorities lie? Another part of me understood that this statement went much deeper than money and a Leonardo DiCaprio film. What he's actually referring to is my amazing talent of making mountains out of molehills, stressing myself out to an astonishing degree and depriving us of life's little pleasures. I'm incapable of relaxing. My mind has a constant assembly line of What if's and What now's and I often end up paralyzed by my own negative thoughts. I can see where this would be frustrating for him, and in afterthought, I can see that I should be working harder to solve this problem, if not for him, then for my own health. But all realizations aside, I can't see where watching a movie should take precedence over figuring out why the bank has us at $100 less than my own records. Overdrafting by miscalculations is a very dreadful occurence and should be avoided at all costs.

In closing I would like to say that I love my husband very much. He is a voice of reason when I can't hear my own. He makes the phone calls when I can't find the courage to make them myself. He keeps me on my toes when I've been feeling completely sane for entirely too long. We are the perfect example of opposites attract and our relationship couldn't flourish without a little give and take. Lucky for me I think he takes the brunt of it.

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