MARRIAGE, VOICES IN MY HEAD, & THE JAPANESE CONCEPT OF BEAUTY

The voice in my head wears a black hat like the NFL referees and says yesterday was 99% gold and 1% FML. Here’s me and the voice. 

Me: Frozen eyelashes. frosted grass. 6:04 AM.

Voice: Easier looking out, than in huh?

Me: Coconut oil and almond milk rise to the top, coffee below. They swirl, but don’t mix. Like irregular ponds of motor oil hold shape in street puddles. 

Voice: Start with what’s bothering you.

Me: I thought you’re supposed to “fix” negativity by pouring out gratitude, especially first thing in the AM. 

Baby bouncing, I watched part of an Ayahuasca documentary. This was two days ago, after I clicked a FB link. I say “part of” both because I didn’t finish and because attention was scattered: want a spatula? how bout the butter brush for the grill? yes, ok. no? okay how about—

Users share testimony about their Aya time. “Took the negative and left the positive,” one said. At yoga, someone mentioned an ayahuasca retreat. Said they left feeling “cleansed.” At my Thai Massage training, a girl said she did it six times because “it goes so deep, digs up toxic memories.”

Don’t have the money or time off work to fly to the Amazon. If I did, I’d consider it. “10 years of therapy in 1 night,” someone said. That’s why I’d consider it. 

Yesterday was Friday and 99% gold because Kate works at the coffeeshop on Friday which means it’s just me and the baby from 9-4, which is a rarity—haven’t spent this much consecutive one-on-one in over a month. Spoons of yogurt, grocery shopping at Aldi, a visit to the dumpster, hello! to mama at work, a nap in the orange rocking chair, another second nap in the orange rocking chair, car keys as exciting new toy of the day, followed closely by the Iyengar yoga strap, the cylindrical box of oats, a washed unripe banana . . .

The 1% FML came when at the end of the day, when mom and dad were tired, and not at their best selves. (Is it normal for parents to slide between pronouns when referring to themselves?) The conflict occurred because A’s repressed dissatisfaction erupted, which led to B’s defensiveness, which led to B telling A “wtf you broke communication protocol,” which led to A getting defensive, which led to a period of silence, followed by a period of heated discussion, followed by period of almost-going-to-cry discussion, followed by silence, followed by “can we move on now,” followed by some more silence, followed five minutes later by the slow conversational climb back to normalcy. 

I’m omitting the details—both who said and what happened, because this is still a semi-live, ongoing concern. And I think some degree of privacy is required to respect and best solve these matters. When it’s all water on the bridge, and lots of river has run by, then I think it’s valuable history to revisit. Why do I overview the conflict play-by-play now? Because I think there’s soooooo much taboo about talking about relationship conflict, even on these party-protected generalized terms. And in the interest of protecting relationships and encouraging their longevity, I think it’s very important to normalize some degree of conflict. Why? Because lots of times I have a conflict with Kate, thoughts wildly blown out of proportion pop up on my mental notification screen. And the code animating all these thoughts is this: YOU’RE NOT NORMAL. YOU AND KATE ARE FUNDAMENTALLY UNLIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. YOU’RE BOTH FAILURES. These toxic thoughts are permitted to exist and grow because I don’t have role models that actively and openly model what’s really going on in their relationships. 

One last thing. It’s important to end with something beautiful. Which reminds me: do you know the Japanese concept of wabisabi? Beauty in the irregular, asymmetric? This week, on the first day of my college composition class, I asked the students to write a 50-word bio. One student wrote that she’s organized, but also disorganized. She wrote how she’s social, but also asocial. And she ended with the admission that she’s a walking contradiction. I thought this was more beautiful than the star flecked morning sky hazed by light pollution just now. More truth. More truth I could relate to. 

<<<All I have to end with today is thanks for being here. For reading. For sharing your headspace, even passively. Some people believe in energy and karma, and would say that reading is a really intimate act. I’m not sure I believe that. I’m not sure I disbelieve. I will say that the pot of gold at the end of the tunnel for anyone who identifies as a writer isn’t the pot of gold, but the writing, the head to hands squeezing neurons for the right word, and then heaving the hammer high in the sky, and like a metal forger, hammering the hot metal words into some sense. And then, when cooled, giving these words forged sentences as tools to people in the community to use in order to make their day-to-day lives easier. Peace. 

 

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