Tag Archive | intimacy

Suffer Intimacy

For years, I specialized in superficial relationships– friends from work or school “knew” me well enough, but I made it sure it stayed light.  I was scared of conflict, and I had a bucket-full of secrets about the weird way I ate oranges or how I had to exercise on weekend mornings.  I kept other people at an arm’s length, because I was terrified of their feelings and my own. Keep that shit away from me, please, because I don’t know what to do when the ca-ca hits the fan.  (And it always hits the fan.)

And that life strategy worked until it stopped working, and I realized because I’m smart with the help of lots of therapy that my loneliness and depression might be connected to the quality of my relationships.


Ok. Fine.

Eventually, I learned to handle conflict better and now lots of people (Jeff, Sadie and Simon) know how weird I am about eating oranges and I am more comfortable with lots of feelings being expressed in my presence.  I may not be an intimacy pro, but I have some muscles built up that at least makes it possible for me to allow people to get close to me.

But the terror is still there.

Like last night, for example.  Sadie was having lots of big emotions, which were manifested in crying, defiance, being a wee bit too rough with Simon, and then throwing couch pillows on the floor and refusing to go to bed.  I think we can all agree that’s fairly standard for a three-year old who’s been cooped up for almost 2 straight weeks with her parents and brother.

In response to Sadie’s big emotions, I had my own reactions.  Mostly, I felt that old squeamishness creep in that still shows up whenever anyone else around me is having lots of feelings.  Intellectually, I know that I want my kids to be free to safely show emotions (throwing pillow couches: fine; smacking Simon’s head: not fine), but everything inside of me can’t wait until it’s over.

Because it scares me. I feel out of control– I certainly can’t control her, and I can’t control my reactions either.  I feel rage when Sadie won’t just come sit down and have delicious Costco rotisserie chicken with us.  We. Are. Eating. As. A Family. Damnit. 

Then, as we limped through bathtime, I was enraged all over again when she wouldn’t pull the drain stopper out. Why can’t she just do that for me?  My back is killing me and I really need her to just do this one thing.

So it was one of those nights.  Sadie was acting age appropriately, and I was flailing around alternating between rage and shame for feeling so much rage about a three-year old’s antics.

Once I was alone on my bed at the end of the night, I remembered a peculiar guy named Peter I used see at recovery meetings.  He anachronistically wore a tie-dyed hat with a pin that said, “Suffer Intimacy”.  While I was scared to death of colorfully-clad Peter, I loved to stare at this pin.

Because being intimate feels like suffering to me.  Having an intimate relationship with Sadie is going to be extremely painful: we will hurt each other (we actually already do).  We will disappoint each other, we will say the wrong things, we will have bad habits, and we will see each other’s ugly parts.  Some of it will suck a big one.

I let myself visualize what it would be like to have a distant, superficial relationship with Sadie– would it be easier? Would we clash less? Would it be like the difference between flirting with a guy at the bar whose morning breath (or anything else) you will never know and marrying your co-worker whose morning breath (and open heart) greets you every morning?

Of course, I want close relationships, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you how scary it feels and how sometimes (like last night) I wonder if I am capable.

Can I suffer intimacy?


My Husband Doesn’t Know I Am Posting Our Texts: The Willie Nelson Edition

This is a post for all my male readers.

Here’s the deal, Gents: When you take your sweet time answering the texts or phone calls or emails wherein we ask you a question, we will start to make up fascinating little storylines in our heads.  Your silence is a blank slate on which we will fingerpaint with our neurosis.

You  might have thought that dynamic ended with dating, and if you married an emotionally stable woman, you might be right.  But for guys like Jeff who married women like me, there is serious danger in letting inquiries go unanswered.

EXHIBIT A: (My texts appear in green and blue. FN 1)

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

I discovered that the legendary Willie Nelson was playing a concert in Chicago and decided I wanted to go.  Really badly.  Jeff was out of town at the time, so I sent him a text at 2:15 PM to open a conversation about getting tickets.  Initially, I wanted him to know I would never think of forcing him to attend.  (Is there anything worse than going to a concert with someone who doesn’t want to be there?)

My opening salvo was of the breezy “don’t worry, you are off the hook for this, but put it on your calendar because I am going out that night; oh, and also, the tickets are on the pricey side so don’t flip out” variety.


When I didn’t immediately hear from Jeff, who has the gall to be busy doing his job when I was texting about MY social calendar, I had a chance to think.

That usually gets us all in trouble.

Wait. I have never seen Willie Nelson in concert.  Willie’s kind of a big deal for my Texas and familial history, and he provided the early soundtrack of my life.  Maybe it’s wrong to let Jeff off the hook.  Maybe it’s important to experience this with Jeff.  OH MY GOD, I am blocking intimacy with Jeff by excluding him from this.  I am a terrible wife. I am going to fix this.

So, that’s how I ended up sending the second text 19 minutes later.  That’s the text that hints I was doing some deep thinking about history and intimacy.

No wonder Jeff wanted to give this whole thing some breathing room. (Also, he was busy at his job.)

Then, hours went by.  Kids were fed and bathed.  Books were read.  Compulsive text-checking ensued.  No word from Jeff for almost 5 hours.  Naturally, I assumed he was either dead or furious that I would invite him to a country music concert.


I suppose if Jeff wants to avoid an invitation, he should simply wait me out, because I will probably do this routine every single time. (Points for consistency?)  On the other hand, if I ever invite him to something he would like to attend, he better answer my texts in less than 5.5 hours.

FN 1: Why do some of my texts appear in blue and some in green?  AT&T, are you reading? What’s up with that?  I would prefer one or the other for aesthetic purposes.  I have a blog to run, you know.

Obama-Care and Sex Explained

Please tell me that you get your news from a reputable source and not from me. If you seriously clicked here to find out about the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling, then you should put yourself in time out or force yourself to watch Fox News all day.  Shame on you.

I did, however, make a June 28 resolution to read the whole 200-page opinion.  I am going to get on top of this by going to the primary source, and maybe I will pepper future posts with erudite allusions to the decision.  In the meantime, I am going to see which of the Justices have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts so I can follow them, just like I follow Ashton and Kelly Ripa.

But I don’t want to leave you empty-handed, which is why I am directing you to my guest post that appears today on a website I really love: Just Be Enough.  My guest post is all about sex, so check it out here.  If you hate clicking, I will summarize my post: it’s a steamy mix of positions and dirty talk– or how it’s hard to make time for my marriage when I have two small kids.

The bedroom is for sleeping

The bedroom is for sleeping

Have a great weekend and feel free to tell me how you are letting yourself off the hook today and how you are enough. For today.

Babble, Schmabble

Photo courtesy of www.mediabistro.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.mediabistro.com

I am so sick of pretending that I love and follow Babble, because you know what, I don’t.  But everyone loves Babble.  It’s billed as the hipster parenting bible (whatever the hell that means). But, it makes my teeth itch and my fingernails fray when I log on.  I am not sure why.  In part, I just can’t stand how uber-witty and speaking-to-this-exact-moment all of it is.  And everyone has been following it forever, except for me.  It feels like walking into a party after all the great sh*t has already happened– the nakedness, the hook-ups, the fire started on the couch– and the only thing left is puking in your red Solo cup or accidentally drinking the cigarette ashes from the guy you hoped would take you home (but of course, he already went home hours ago).

I want to love it. I feel, as a blogger, I have to love it because it’s such a goddamned hub of everything that touches my daily life.
Here’s the website’s mission statement:  “To tell the truth about parenting, to bypass the clichés and dig into the magical and maddening reality. Our commitment to readers is to explore the world of parenting on a daily basis with ruthless honesty, and with the humor and lyricism natural to the subject.” (I found this on Wikapedia.com.)

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation or the too-low Zoloft dose, but I can’t tell what the f*ck is going on there. I see recipes and fertility apps (what are those?) and tons of columns on pregnancy, babies and toddlers.  It’s too much. I feel like I need to be (more) heavily medicated to go there and figure out what the big ass deal is.

And there’s the suffocation factor.  Every “great” article or forward from my articulate, honest, and educated friends can be traced back to Babble.  How is that possible? It’s true that I wouldn’t even open an article from Parenting Magazine, because, hey, it’s not 1988 anymore.  But the point is, I never see articles from anywhere else.

I’ve always mistrusted hegemony.

Maybe it’s just that the site lacks intimacy for me.  I think I am a one website, one blogger kind of woman.  I love honest, non-cliched writing about motherhood (and everything else), and it just feels more comfortable to log on to Welcome To The Motherhood or Head Above Laundry or Mammalingo or A Teachable Mom or Life On The Mamariffic Merry-Go-Round.  I don’t need Babble to point me in the direction of great writing, because I have stumbled upon it myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be a featured blogger over there — do you think this post will hurt my chances?– but the acute ADD I suffer when I go to the actual website is a barrier to my enjoyment.  I think for now I will just get my second-hand Babble as filtered through my friends and all of you.  Unless you suggest otherwise….