Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Marrying Type

Will and Me on our tenth wedding anniversary, October 22, 2014

I'm in love with my husband. I know: crazy, right? Who'd have thought I was the marrying type? I'm a feminist, for Goddess' sake. I don't need a man. 

It's true. I don't need a man. Not just any ole man. I need Will. And I'm slowly learning how to talk myself out of experiencing a panic attack when I say that. I hate to need. Need means weakness. Need means powerlessness. A feminist who admits she needs a man is like a fish who admits she needs a bicycle. Yet somehow I've found myself peddling along happily with my fins.

What has happened to me? How could an independent, free-spirit like myself end up married of all things? When, in my twenties, my therapist once told me that I needed to visualize happiness, I needed to imagine what a happy life would be, what I pictured for myself was not a ranch in the suburbs with a husband, a kid, and three pets. I pictured myself alone in my urban loft apartment, stroking my lap cat in between moments of pounding out fantastic, important novels on the keyboard of my computer. Or sitting alone in a field under a solitary tree with a notebook on my knee, writing my stories out long-hand, all Alice-Walker-like. Not hurriedly churning out my thoughts on a blog before it's time to pick the kid up from school, greet the husband at the door, and make dinner for the whole family.

But I'd take hurriedly churning out my thoughts on a blog and the tasks of motherhood and wifery over insecurity and loneliness any day. What I hadn't imagined back in my youth is that a stable family life would enable me to be who I want to be. The examples set for me growing up were my dad selfishly controlling my mom and my mom shifting between miserable acquiescence and plotting ways to get out.

I sometimes think I'd like to write full-time, to put all of my energy and efforts into writing an important novel, ignoring my family, ignoring the housework, ignoring my job at the library, ignoring my Sunday school class, ignoring my pets and all the responsibilities that keep me away from sitting down to write. But I suspect if I did solely focus on my writing, it would drain me. All that me-time. Sometimes "me" is too much.

I respect Virginia Woolf's opinion that a woman needs a room of her own, but I'm also not a rich woman who can afford to hire people to cook and clean and care for my family while I practice my art all day locked up in my room. I like to think my writing is important. But so are the dishes. So is my husband. So is our kid. So is feeling needed.

Not to be all "nanny nanny boo boo" about it, but sure, Woolf had a room of her own to read and write and think her important thoughts, but a lot of good it did her when she was floating face down up the river. I admire writers such as Woolf, and I like to emulate their art, but, as a person prone to depression myself, I'm trying my hardest not to emulate their life. Call me crazy, but I want to practice my art while simultaneously not killing myself.

It's hard. I'm sensitive. Intense. Into ideation more than completion. I have, what I've been told, an artistic temperment. Don't all creative types?

Nope. Not Will.

A fellow ENFP friend shared a link to this good summary of the Myers-Briggs type. I see myself in all of it, but especially this part:

"ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom." At first, I thought to myself, nuh uh, Will's stable and secure, and I crave him. 

Then it hit me: Will gives me the freedom to creatively express myself because of his support. I married a man who encourages my creativity, and gives me the ultimate freedom that comes from feeling securely and stably loved. I'm serious. Will's the real deal.

Will and me on our wedding day, October 22, 2004

Will and I recently celebrated our tenth anniversary. It's a cliche to say "I can't believe it," but it's true. I never thought I'd make it ten years with anyone. I'm incredibly good at fucking things up and running people off. But not Will. Will stands firm. He's going nowhere, even when I'm going crazy. I can lie in bed in a depressive slumber for a week, or come home from work and take my bad mood out on the people I love, and somehow, for no reason, because he loves me, Will never flees.

Will and me on our ninth wedding anniversary, October 22, 2013

"In sickness and in health," Will repeated after the Judge a decade ago, and he still means it.

Will and me on our eighth wedding anniversary, October 22, 2012

Will and me on our seventh wedding anniversary, October 22, 2011

Will and me on our sixth wedding anniversary, October 22, 2010

Will is an ISTJ. I am an ENFP. Our opposite personality pieces pull together to make us whole.When I am with Will, I don't feel so off-balance. I feel safe. Secure. Loved. Free to be who I am. Pleasantly surprised to find it's possible to have freedom and security, both.