I want to write. I do. I read other blogs and think,”This is so you. You should do this.” But I don’t. To date, I’ve started two separate blogs and I never write on either of them. I post on Facebook all the time, although lately that has become troublesome. Why is that?
I suspect that this writer’s block thing is a bubbling up of insecurity. Insecurity I have good reason to feel. After all, I’ve lived for almost eight years now on constant complaining and criticism. The one thing I’m always sure of is that I won’t do anything right. I work all day long, at home and at my job, and my husband comes home from work and complains. About his job. Because the kids watch too much TV. That dinner wasn’t good. Or enough. That I didn’t wash his running clothes. That he can’t find his running gear because I “moved it.” That he hates his job. That we don’t have enough money. That his wife doesn’t look good. (Actually, he isn’t that overt about that one…he just never tells me I look good. And then sends private messages to other women on Facebook telling them they do look good. Because that’s OK.) Truthfully, in our eight years together, I don’t think I’ve ever done a single thing right. Oh, here and there he’ll do something decent: requesting our wedding song at a wedding, buying me a sweet Valentine’s card…but I can always be sure it will be followed up by an outburst.
The fact is, I just don’t know what to do. I thought when I married him that I was strong and loving enough to live with his difficult personality. I thought I could work hard enough for the both of us. I thought the criticism made me better…because I’m constantly trying to do more, better. But now, I see a shell of the person I used to be. I get angry at my children quickly, for no reason. I have given up on how I look, because I don’t have any money to improve things. I’ve worn pants that don’t fit for two years now! I am constantly, relentlessly controlled by fear. I’ve forgotten true prosperity…true joy. I operate on sheer desperation and disappointment. I’m pretty sure that my prayers bounce off the gates of heaven and trickle back down, smearing my mascara and soaking my toes.
Two years ago, a therapist told me a separation was my only hope. I didn’t feel like it was the right thing for us. I felt like I should have faith. Pray. Be faithful. Endure. Two years later, things have only gotten worse. I dare not hope. I know my place. I belong in the servants quarters, dressed in rags. Worse, my husband has turned his meanness on the kids. I’ve started to see Eli’s hurt when his dad snaps at him. The way Caleb cries when the adults yell. I wonder what they are learning about the way a man should treat a woman. By all accounts, my husband witnessed similar things as a child. He despises his mom for being a doormat. He looks down on all women. He often wonders aloud why anyone would “want to get married.” He’s said that since we got married. Makes me feel so good. I want my boys to see a man who cherishes his wife, who walks with her to the car when her shoes hurt her feet, instead of storming out ahead of her and yelling because she’s too slow. I want my boys to see a man who is grateful for the sacrifices his wife makes to have dinner ready at night, who is glad to have clean laundry, who doesn’t always check the glasses and smell the laundry for signs of his wife’s ineptitude. And then I catch myself and remember…I must push through it. I must not crumble. I must not quit.
I question myself. Maybe I am being dramatic. Maybe I am being negative. Maybe the problem is me…I should be happier, perkier, more of the type of woman that men like. I should lose the rest of the weight. Get up earlier and run. Clean the house more. Be sad less. And sometimes I think I can do it. I can push through this. I can get up every day and survive…and my kids will be fine. I can mask the pain. I can live without. People in third world countries have it worse, right?
Which begs the question, what can we really hope for? What is the difference between good desires and selfish ones? Why does God seem to answer questions and provide for some people, but years pass and nothing changes for me. The goals I feel like God has given me? Unmet. Beyond my power to meet. The woman I feel led to be? Not a chance. There’s so much noise, and never a chance to sit down and cry. I want to sit down and cry. And cry. And cry. For the marriage I’m realizing will never be. For the marriage my children will never witness. For the father they will never have. It breaks my heart.
And so I don’t write, because it seems all I have to say is sad. And we all know, men only like happy women. Who are skinny. And put together. Who make a lot of money. And who don’t ever spend a goddam dime.