When one begins to blog, a personal set of guidelines to abide by is normally established. What is your tone going to be? What types of topics will you cover? Are you going to use all original content or borrow from the big boys? Are you willing to be controversial, and if so how will you handle touchy posts and hot headed comments? What will you not ever write about? Will you post daily? Share pictures of your family? It goes on and on.
I decided early on my guidelines would be simple but solid. I knew what I would not write about, because as candid and open as I can get, there are still things in my life that are off topic. One of them, I promised to myself, was to never complain about my husband or family members or do anything to risk putting any of them in a negative light ever, because I vent privately (sort of), and this blog is not a venue for that. So no matter how confused, how annoyed, or how frustrated I am as a wife… I … (inhale) will….(exhale) not….. (inhale) bitch….. (exhale)……
Because of that, I have not been able to write anything postable for over a week. Yes, I have so many other things to discuss, lots of things came to mind each morning and evening. I even have several pieces of drafts just waiting to be finished. But nothing felt quite as right. Nothing felt proper. Or real. Or frankly, relevant. Presently, an editorial calendar won’t cut it. It is hard for me to preplan what to write. When I post, I go by gut, and have to post exactly what is most on my mind that moment, or else it doesn’t work for me. So I drafted and waited. And waited…. and waited some more. I will not post about that, I will not post about that.
And now, eleven days later, my emotions are more at rest, something is finally flowing out of my fingertips, and I think it’s safe to say, all clear.
We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary earlier this year, and though it’s been blessed and joyful, and so full of good fortune, once it hit year seven, it started to feel a bit– well …. itchy. Not at all in the classic way of the term, no wandering of the eyes or summer daydreams of flowing white skirts ala Marilyn, but more itchy and scratchy. Annoyances, poking, digs, laughs, more digs, some passive aggression, second guessing, deep breaths, furrowed brows, rolled eyeballs, impatience. You know…. itchy… scratchy. Like….. really? So you’re going to plop down on the sofa right after a five mile run and stick my Marimekko throw pillows under your sweaty legs? I didn’t realize perfect weekend whether means the NFL Network has to constantly be on in the background (when it’s not even football season) while you watch montages of people falling and tripping on YouTube on your iPad. This is what I signed up for? Hmmm… okay then. Alright. Til death do us part, eh? Sure. Gosh, women were not kidding when they said this was work. (exhale) Yes, let’s do this.
|Itchy & Scratchy illustrate my point so well|
There is much to get itchy about. You want space, but not too much space. You want him to ask you questions and to be curious about your life, but not question your choices. You want to take care of him and protect him, but you resent when he starts expecting you to operate like a personal assistant, arranging the social calendar, reserving the transportation to his local airport while he is out of town, sending out birthday gifts to his friends’ children, doing the taxes, prepping his meals, etc. You get it, you are happy to do it, but it just makes your arse itch sometimes. Do I really need to fill out your medical history prior to your physical FOR you? You want to throw a chair through the window when he calmly but snarkily says to you, “No, I never said WE were going, I don’t want to go. You can go by yourself again, can’t you?” A walk to the tailor turns into a debate about taking his route to go from point A uphill to B, then right to C and downhill to D, instead of your idea to stay along the flat road A, then left on E straight to D, only for him to smile and say while panting downhill, “aw, why didn’t you tell me that’s what you meant? I’m so out of breath now. Did you know a better route?” If he weren’t so adorable I’d scratch his eyes out right then. I am being general, while evidently being oddly specific. This marriage stuff is tricky. Both joyful and infuriating. I love this man, but, “Calgon, take me away!” I know for sure he shares similar sentiments, when he theatrically looks up at the ceiling mid squabble and shouts, “Help me, Jesus!”
When you first get engaged, you talk about forever and think of all the romance and excitement of the journey ahead. Relatives and friends will tell you to prepare for trials too, because life has its way of tossing one too many of those in the mix when least expected. So we prepare ourselves, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. We are aces at the fun, romantic adventures. We are solid during really rough events. But something my fellow wife-friends and I are getting used to are the itchies and scratchies in between the great and the not so great. Those little nuances that like an individual gnat, you can swat away without issue, but when they come rolling in one after another, week after week, and during those long weeks, day after day, it’s like, “Really? No…. REALLY?”
Feeling his own itchies and nursing the wounds from my scratchies, my husband, in a very casual, but seemingly calculated way over the past few days planned his own version of The Summer of George condensed into a full week for us. The Diebenkorn & Impressionist exhibits I’d been wanting to see together? Check. The Ginsberg exhibit he wanted to see? Check. A stroll through the Ferry Building for empanadas? Check. Carrying a cumbersome 47″x47″ gallery frame we purchased across seven city blocks without complaining? Check. Handing me the remote control when the t.v. goes on? Check. Keeping his mouth shut and eyes unrolled waiting in a long line for a sandwich I really wanted to try? Triple check! The cherry to top this week? Three days to myself at home, and three days to himself with his family out of town. No work, no worries, no schedule. Just time to get less itchy and not want to scratch each other or ourselves.
Like water flowing over river rocks, the itchies make us, the rocks, bump into each other, rub against the sand, knocking off the smallest edges and corners, making us more polished and smoother. I suppose these itchies just signal that we are being our authentic selves with each other and needing to scratch is merely wanting to make the relationship feel good for both parties. So I will take my itchies and raise him a scratchy if it means more opportunities to make us aces at the good stuff, and an even more solid pair at the bad stuff, because I would like to be in this for seven more years, and seventeen after than, and seventeen more, and so on, God willing. I just need to build an arsenal of Caladryl and Claritin for my next itchy season and remember how there’s no other face I’d ever want to scratch but his and that a modified summer of george would not be as fun with any other person who makes me so itchy. Then, too, I won’t have to wait eleven days again before posting and can just get on with it.
Wow, BP, you have really nailed this one! You've put into words some of the feelings I would bet every married person feels, but may not be able to articulate, or even, acknowledge to themselves. It's sometimes tough to remember during the itchies that it doesn't mean things are BAD. It's just that they are REAL. We need to remember that an itch isn't a bad thing, it's just annoying…unless it's poison ivy…and then, we may have to find a stronger remedy. And I love the Rita Rudner quote!
How wonderfully put! I love your writing style – so Seinfeld-ian (is that a word?) in how you have completely nailed the “itchies” in long term relationships, in such a beautiful, poignant way. I absolutely adore your writing style, and can't wait to read more! So nice to have met you today. xoxo, Lindsay from fleurdeselsf.com
Lindsay, thank you for reading! Real word or not, I will take “Seinfeld-ian” ANY day! Your comment is encouraging! Chatting and cocktails on a Sunday morning was the perfect way to meet you today! 🙂
Oh, really nice post! Even though I'm not married, I'm in a relationship of almost 3 years and I exactly know what you are talking about. I realized that the best way to deal with the itchies is to spend some time apart. Luckily, it happens every year twice when we both visit our families abroad (he goes to Italy, I go to Hungary). It is really nice to miss someone you love when you know that you won't miss them forever and this longing will heal your itching body parts for a little while 🙂
Hi Amy! Yes, it's not about it being bad, just annoying and real, like you said! I am glad what was in my head translated to the page for you! Thank you for your comment.
Häjni! You're so funny! Yes, spot on I think! Sometimes space & time are most helpful during the itchies!!!