Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to fail in marriage

So you want a recipe for disaster? You want to sabotage your relationship with your number one? Sure, everyone believes they are going to succeed and be happy at the outset. Nobody really marries expecting to fail. But some of us get to a point where our pride just becomes far too important and suddenly seems to be a better lover. Here is a list of critical steps to unravel what is supposed to be the most important relationship in your life:

DON’T push yourself to make your spouse proud of you.
DO expect them to accept whatever issues from you no matter how bad it is.

DON’T seek out new things to put smiles on his or her face.
DO continually plan to do the same old same old. Your spouse should be no better than your old college roommates who never liked change, wanted to be left alone, and to be as messy and play as many video games as he wanted.

DON’T apologize sincerely or let your spouse vent.
DO plan exactly how to retaliate, get defensive about things beside the main point, and use sarcasm whenever possible.

DON’T let your spouse challenge your family. When they go up against your mom, they will lose every time.
DO compare your dysfunctional family systems to each other all the time, and let your family justify and coddle you and your problems while villainizing your spouse.

DON’T put your spouse’s well being ahead of your children.
DO use your children as weapons, collateral, allies, and bargaining pieces.

DON’T take them out on dates, adventures, and open-ended excursions where you don’t care about getting home at a certain time.
DO come home and take off the shoes and belt and let the family know you need “me time.”

DON’T worry about proving love anymore or doing what’s right because it’s right.
DO get defensive and tell him or her their love is “conditional” if they are going to hold you to the truth or to your own words.

DON’T repent.
DO apologize and move on. Shrug if necessary.

(*Even though I’m being facetiously ironic here, I have personal experience with these. I’m sure the list will be added to. May it be a warning sign. We don’t have to relive the mistakes of others.)

20120723-221125.jpg

20120723-221241.jpg

Scarecrow of the Family

I realized today that I have long been nominated and enabled to be the family scarecrow.

Scarecrows have one job—one state of being—and that is to intimidate. They are to scare away the intruders who come to steal the crops. Unfortunately, they make us all sad for probably the same reason: once their bluff is called, they cannot fight. They cannot come down and take action. They become a joke when even the birds realize it’s just another perch.

I have stood long behind my family, silently, trying to ward off evil forces, but only as a façade.

I intend to keep getting down…

Brave Hearts

What’s your favorite part of Braveheart?

(Yes, I am assuming you at least like the movie. It’s not too far-fetched.)

More specifically, what is the part that most makes you want to be a better person? That makes you respect Wallace (or whoever) the most?

I think mine is the part where Robert the Bruce confronts his dad. After the big betrayal, something is awakened deep in Robert—appearing like anger, but is so much more than that—and he becomes a different person. His father tells him all men lose heart. And he lashes back, “I DON’T WANT TO LOSE HEART!!!….I want to believe!”

That conversation between that father and son plays out over and over in my heart. I realize that I’m not unique in this. But I really need to scream back at the cynic within me a lot.

Has there ever been a turning point in your life which gave the power over to one of these men? Have you fallen to cynicism, or have you frustratingly and stubbornly shouted and risen against the gravity to take heart?

20120718-163754.jpg

Being “Yourself” is oppressive…

It’s popular–even heroic–to be true to yourself and to encourage others to do the same. And you’re a pawn or an oppressive bigot if you do the opposite. But can’t you be just as bad on the other end for someone who really wants to change their conflicted nature? The radical individualist then becomes the criminal.

20120703-134007.jpg

I was told that The Iron Giant was built and pitched in the question, “What if a gun had a soul?” When the giant discovers that he actually was designed to be a weapon of mass destruction, he wills to overcome his purpose–his “true self.”

What makes this self-denying act heroic?

Grief and panic are inevitable, but hopeful

Today made me really pause and reflect on those events in our lives in which nothing can prepare us or help us through–we just have to go on through it.

In my blog entry Blessing of fear, I talked about fear in fiction, fantasy, or play helped children grow to cope through dealing with real fear later on. But sometimes there is nothing that can prepare a child, no coaching to guide them, and no delayed gratification that can incentivize them. But you the adult know (hopefully, theoretically) that they will be okay and this can turn into something that can help them later on.

You’ve probably seen something like this in the form of a small child’s first real separation from mom and dad. That one kid on the first day of kindergarten that absolutely panics when mom drops him/her off, clinging to her pant leg–“NOOOOOO!!!”

It’s almost comical to everyone on the outside because they know better. But that child is being devastated before our eyes. He has no past experience to draw from; no confidence to take care of himself; no reason to think everything will be ok. In the end you just have to pry him off and turn your back on him–walk out and know it will work out.

You’ve probably seen adults go through it too. When they are abandoned by their partners, betrayed by friends or family, lose a child, find out they’re terminally ill…

“Experience is a brutal teacher. By you learn–my god, you learn.”
Lewis, Shadowlands

20120628-222652.jpg