(Not to be confused with this rockin’ mama over here, you understand, but I believe there’s enough asshole to go around.)
Recently those of us participating in BlogHerAds were asked to state for the record whether or not we could commit to profanity-free writing as—go figure—some advertisers would rather not spend their dollars on pottymouths. Although I didn’t have to think twice about checking the “I do hereby solemnly swear to use my genteel language and only fart butterflies” box over on Want Not, after some thought I decided that I wasn’t comfortable making that pledge here. Because although as a writer I generally feel that there are better ways to express yourself than profanity, sometimes nothing else will do.
Sometimes you just have to be able to say, “God. I’m such an asshole.”
The post I wrote this weekend about the car was meant to be funny, and I guess it wasn’t. Sometimes that’s what happens when you’re an asshole.
I apparently deeply offended both my in-laws and my husband, and there really aren’t words to express how mortified I am at having done so. In my mind, it was a light-hearted poke at my current vehicular situation (see this post and also—if you have a time machine—the first part which I will be sharing at some point in the future). In reality it came off all wrong; instead of reading as “haha have some humble pie, Mir” I guess it was more “wow, nothing is good enough for me.” I mean, I didn’t see it that way but what I meant and what was inferred clashed, badly, which is a mark of lousy writing either way.
And while I’m fully willing to cop to being an asshole (Hi! I’m an asshole!), I also felt like a huge injustice was perpetrated while I wasn’t looking, and I turned around to discover an angry mob at my door. That was unsettling, to say the least. This may come as a shock but even us assholes have feelings. (I know! It’s shocking!)
Otto and I had to have a couple of Big Serious Discussions about all of this because, you know, I kind of dig him and I don’t like it when we misunderstand each other, and hooboy if you could somehow quantify how many misunderstandings he and I managed to stuff into this particular weekend you would be tempted to liken those few days to the clown car of time, what with all the fucked-up communications or lack thereof we managed to cram into such a relatively brief period of time.
And on the one hand, getting three months into our marriage before having such a stereotypical “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” run-in is probably pretty good. On the other hand, I like to think that we are both working pretty hard at this whole marriage thing with mindfulness as the watchword of the whole shebang here, and the reality is that we both failed pretty miserably the last few days and that just sucked all around.
Otto’s brother Wild Thing already doesn’t read my blog because he feels like it’s somehow spying on Otto and/or too personal (he’s told me both, on different occasions) and thanks to the visit this weekend and my acute case of foot-in-mouth I hesitate to consider what he must think of me now. In fact, thinking about it sort of makes me cringe, which is the part that I think is hardest to explain.
When I was married before, I felt like my in-laws never really liked me. Things were said and done—some overt, some less obvious—that made it patently clear that I was NOT One Of Them and also that I was merely being tolerated. Now, I’m not saying that my in-laws were awful to me. For the most part they were fine. There was one particular incident where there was unquestionably some inappropriate behavior, and while FOR ME that was the end of any pretense that they cared for me, there were years beforehand when they really tried to conceal their distaste, and years after that when they accepted my distancing without questioning (maybe they were relieved).
I didn’t have much in common with my ex’s family and maybe all of that was to be expected, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. Particularly in the later years of our marriage, when I felt like I was really putting up with quite a lot, it was aggravating to me that I wasn’t given ANY credit whatsoever. Of course, then we got divorced and now they view me as the devil incarnate, but at this point I don’t care. While I was doing my best to do right by my ex, though, I found it hurtful.
My new in-laws are great, and we actually have quite a lot in common (I mean, besides Otto even), and getting along hasn’t been a problem. At least not to my knowledge, anyway; maybe I’m becoming more oblivious in my old age. And they all know about the blog so it’s not as though they are unaware that I am a giant dork who tells the internet about my boobs or whatever.
What I realized this weekend when I apparently offended everyone and it took Otto a while to get around to talking to me about it was a couple of things. First, I think I suffer from Post-Traumatic In-Law Disorder (PTILD). I have a somewhat pathetic need to feel like Otto’s family likes me, both because I like them and because ONE family finding me distasteful could be a fluke but TWO families feeling that way is just proof that I’m an asshole. (Don’t you love my specious reasoning?) To say that I was crushed to hear that my words were taken the wrong way would be minimizing it. But in the midst of being embarrassed and sad I was also irrationally angry that no one thought to give me the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I don’t deserve it, but I dunno, I thought I did.
The other thing I realized is that I am still grieving, deeply, for my old life. What I need in this time of transition is a bit of patience, a bit of understanding, and yeah, maybe a pass or two on some less-than-perfect behavior because in addition to being an asshole, I’m highly imperfect on my best day and kind of a jerk on my worst. Otto asked me last night (for not the first time) if I want to go back home, and I had to explain how frustrating I find that question, because it implies that if I am not happy RIGHT THIS SECOND that I will never be happy here, and even I (deep in my fish-out-of-water cocoon of homesickness) know that’s not the case.
I don’t want to go back to what I had, I just want to feel comfortable in my new life, and unfortunately that takes time. We have an interesting phenomenon going on here wherein when the kids are falling apart I am worried about them but more or less at my best, because they need me and I rise to the occasion. By the end of last week both kids were talking about school and new friends and getting invited on playdates and settling in, and I breathed a sigh of relief and then quietly started to unravel from the last two months of pent-up anxiety.
Me, I think that’s perfectly normal. Sucky, sure. Unpleasant, absolutely. But normal. Otto took one look and decided it was a sign that I was depressed and miserable and hating everything and wanting to go home.
Throw in a few miscommunications and you have a recipe for a few really unhappy days, I guess. (Oh, we worked it all out. Everything’s fine. There’s just some residual stinging. Maybe I should put some meat tenderizer on it.)
None of this excuses me or changes the fact that I am, basically, an asshole, who is sort of wallowing. But I guess the point is that I’m an asshole dealing with a lot of things and I have basically good intentions despite somewhat lacking execution. And that and a couple of bucks will get me a cup of coffee.