I’m new to this. I don’t know the rules. And maybe things we said before we got married were all bullshit. But, this thing isn’t easy. At least, it hasn’t been for me.
Trying to form an identity with someone isn’t something I know how to do, but I hope you see I’m trying. But you have to imagine how hard that is for me. You eat meat. You don’t like people who yell. You watch lots of BET. Can’t you see how different we are?
Culture is something that I’ve grappled with my whole life – What is a sense of belonging? What are the traditions we carry to stay connected? Am I part of a Diaspora now? This, we, aren’t an academic exercise, though. Right? I can’t figure us out in a transnational paradigm of contemporary globalization. Or perhaps I can…
But that doesn’t make me understand things like why the towels never make it back on to the racks after you take a shower. Or why I’m the only one who seems to SEE the food rotting in our fridge. You know when something is fermenting in our kitchen, right? I mean, when I married you your nose was working fine. Has it broken since then?
And some of this is just about space. How to share it. When to invade it. Who has a right to it. And I think we both need a gender neutral “cave.” Me? Because I’m an introvert, I do my best thinking alone and being around lots of people (even you, my love) can be draining. You? Because you’re a dude and you want to do dude things that I frankly don’t want to see. You could also do all the running you wanted in there, esp. while watching youtube videos and world star hip hop clips. I mean, this could work.
Does this sound like I’m pushing you away? I hope not.
I’m just trying to figure out strategies to make it a lifetime. We made it longer than Kim and the guy before Kanye, so I guess that counts for something. But, doesn’t forever seem like a really long time to you?
I’ll be old and wrinkly. Things will sag. You might want that cave then. So, it’s now or never baby.
Like I said, I’m new to this. And I’m willing to make mistakes. But one thing you’ll never be able to say is that I didn’t try. I’m trying every day in ways you don’t even see. I’m trying to be a reliable part of this team. I’m trying to be an independent person who can rely on another person for help, regularly.
I am not from your rib. I was a whole person before I met you. I wasn’t incomplete before us. You rely on me to be whole. You expect me to be more than a fragment of a person without you. You expect me to represent you and us and me all at the same time, even when I’m not with you. You expect great things from me, with little more than a hug and a few pep talks along the way. You realize that you didn’t make me who I am, but that you are valuable part of everything I’ll be. You don’t see yourself as in contradiction with my ambitions. And you can’t see a future for either one of us without the other. You believe in us. I believe in your faith.
Sometimes I need you more than I admit. You don’t yet read my mind, but when you do… because someday you will… you’ll understand how embarrassed I feel to ask. You’re laughing right now. (I know this because, I just read your mind.) But you shouldn’t. You know that only compounds the original embarrassment. I’m weird.
Now you’re stuck and I guess you’ve got to come up with some strategies of your own. So, like they used to do back in the day, I’m going to have to ask you a few questions to see if you’re on team us:
- Do you like me? – YES or NO
- Can you agree to a cave? – YES or NO (if no, explanation required)
- Do you promise to love me when I’m old and naggier? – YES or NO
- Can you try to laugh at me less? (I’m sensitive!) – YES or NO
- Can you remember who I was when you met me? – YES or NO
- Can you agree to forgive me, in advance, for stupid things I’ll do through the rest our lives together? – YES or NO
- Will you sign my friend contract? – YES or NO
- Do you still like me? – YES or NO
If you can’t agree to all of the above, I think we’re days shy of being able to apply for annulment.
Think it over. No pressure.
I know this wasn’t a letter to me, but as your friend I have my own responsibility to support your marriage and I love love love this letter to your dear, sweet, patient, maddening (…I mean, who leaves wet towels on the floor?! Gross.) husband. You two are a fantastic example of all that it means to build (slowly but cooperatively) a life together. Keep up the good work! I love you both.
This is fantastic.
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