Category Archives: Yes
Ok I’m back after a long long holiday in which I was too busy to think much or do much except make it to tomorrow. Ok it wasn’t really a holiday just a long peep into what my future may be like. Teaching Prac! Whoop whoop! Loved it. Big kids (14-18 year olds) are not the monsters that the media portray them to be! They are actually fairly human and completely capable of mature thought and action, although they don’t always choose that way. So 5 weeks of what I thought would be hell turned into 5 weeks of waking up early every day with a huge smile on my face. Ready to face the traffic. Ready to face just about anything, as long as I got to be in the classroom. Friday was my last day, and 4 (working) days on, I miss it like I’ve never missed anything in my life.
Perception is really the key issue here. I thought teaching big kids would be tough, challenging and full of horror. It was tough and challenging, but it was not full of horror. Maybe being married will be like that too. I think that it will be tough, challenging and full of all sorts of horrific things. Things like self sacrifice, monotony and even misery. But what if it won’t be like that at all? There is the faint possibility that I could wake up next to my husband (ignoring heart palpitations) every morning with a huge smile on my face. Ready to face the big kids. Ready to face the staff room politics. Ready to do just about anything as long as I got to spend my life with my amazing man.
Bad days were part and parcel of teaching prac. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. There were days when I left school, got to work (after prac) and I felt like crying. I felt so disheartened that I wasn’t getting through, that classroom discipline is not as easy as I originally thought, but I knew that the next day would be better. And it was. I am sure that there will be bad days in any marriage, in fact well done if you haven’t had any yet. (Just check for inner seething in your spouse from all the bloody compromising they’ve had to do to keep you happy.) It’s about making a decision and sticking with it.
It is not impossible to decide to be happy.
On Friday this really strange feeling came over me. I was baking scones and as I worked the dough with my hands kneading it smooth and then cutting star shapes out of it, I thought about how much I’d like to build a life with Hennie. Maybe even get married.
I was thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I think to get married. What would I have to look forward to? Seeing Hennie everyday. Some days it might be tiresome, I know this from the last time I lived with a man, but at least I am aware of this and I won’t be surprised by it if it happens this time. I would get the chance to make Hennie feel special every single day. Little notes in his lunch, or tucked up in his towel which he’ll find when he climbs out the shower. To be able to greet him with a huge smile and a giant hug when he gets home. To be greeted by the same thing when I get home. I don’t really need to be married to do this. Kids. I may not want to be a wife, but I do know that I want to be a mom. I know that I don’t really need to be married to have kids but in some ways it might be better if I am. I know that society tends to be super harsh to single moms and kids of single moms. Which is unfair. But I don’t want my kids to be judged for my decisions.
Then I got to thinking about how simple life was before the advent of technology and, dare I say it, awareness. Awareness that women can be and can have more than what society says we need and can do. The way I imagine life was back then before women wanted “it all” was a great happy woman, perhaps slightly unfulfilled, baking, humming, cleaning and looking after children. Her chief concerns were making sure that her family was happy by managing the household in a conscientious way. I mean wouldn’t it be great to run around in kitten heels and dresses everyday? I would love to only need to worry that my sewing was up to date and the supper would be waiting for him when Hennie gets home. Yes it does sound boring and I feel somewhat guilty for wondering what this might be like. The last time I wondered what things might be like, my parents started arguing and the epic 10 year divorce ensued. I certainly do not want that to happen again. Of course it doesn’t work that way anyone can tell you that!
Is being a wife really a full time job? Is being a husband a full time job? I know that if one tries to do “it all” by themselves when there is a perfectly able person there to help then it probably can take up a lot of time. I know that “my homemaking” responsibilities will have to be shared. There is just no way that I can be a good mom, wife, sister, friend, employee, aunty and daughter if I try to do everything by myself. There are a few practical considerations to be thought of before one starts planning the wedding that’s for sure!
I’ve always wanted to build a life with Hennie but to think about marriage in this way is strange for me. Who knows? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
So far I’ve only commented about my negative feelings towards marriage and weddings. I think it’s only fair to present the other side of the coin too since there have been, believe it or not, moments in my life when I’ve actually wanted to get married. While these moments are few and far between they are still important to mention and perhaps to dissect.
After I left my fiancé all those years ago; the movie based on the book PS I Love You was released. I refused to watch it and I was quite anti all kinds of love stories at that time. I was afraid that love stories would melt my heart and would weaken my resolve to leave a relationship that was not only bad for me but bad for him too. I avoided that movie and about a year later, after Kenny and I had been together for a while, he persuaded me to watch it. I cried and I cried throughout the movie.
Kenny* was quite well aware of my dislike of marriage and mistrust in it so I don’t blame him for being surprised when I blurted out after the movie, “What are we waiting for? Let’s just get married already.” I had decided this quite early on in the movie at about the time when Gerard Butler’s character and his wife had a massive argument and he stormed out in a rage. A strange scene to set off a desire for marriage, but look at the great argument they were having. I wanted that then. Not the argument, but the intimacy, the closeness of being able to air your opinions without the worry that he would take offence and leave, forever. Gerard Butler’s character came back straight after walking out of their place and this kind of renewed my trust in the entire institution of marriage. By that stage, luckily, Kenny was fully aware of my knack for changing my mind and he didn’t drop to one knee and present something resembling a diamond on a piece of metal to me. He laughed and asked when I had lost my mind. “What happed to “I’m never getting married”?” he asked.
I tried to explain that the whole shared life was really what had sparked this feeling. Although I value my independence it’s sometimes a comforting thought to know that I am not alone. A shared life is not only about stuff. In fact, stuff has very little to do with it. It’s about knowing that you can rely on someone else to be there for you no matter what. Your husband/wife (personally I prefer partner, because partner makes everyone equal) can’t be a fair weather friend. We all have them, those mates of ours who come to us with their worries, then bugger off when things are good again and are nowhere to be found when we have worries; but your partner is sort of compelled to stick it out with you because if he or she doesn’t, they end up hurting themself . What I’m trying to say is that a shared life is about support, all the kinds of support that any living organism might need. Of course there is a niggly worry that this partner of yours could do more to damage the foundational levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but if you go in awake you should be able to see if they will be an integral part of your life or a total parasite.
A shared life is also about commitment. A term which is usually synonymous with fear and dread in my dictionary of life but what is commitment really? It’s not really anything to be afraid of. We commit ourselves everyday to work, university, family, friends, pets and especially debt. We never think twice about any of the above aspects of our lives and yet we worry about picking a life partner to enter into the business of creating other people and making a home together. Is this really so intelligent? I am quite sure that people were not designed to be loners and to try to do everything by themselves.
At the end of the day I need to give Kenny a break. He is really quite an amazing man and I know that we would be able to be equal share partners if we ever decided to take the leap of faith in one another. Never would he expect me to be a cooking cleaning type of person. He is usually more than willing to carry his share of chores. And when I tell him what’s bothering me, he makes a genuine effort to fix it. It is important to be comfortable alone but it is also important to be comfortable with another being who, in all senses of the word is quite like you and yet different enough to keep life exciting.