Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ashamed

I hate it when Larry is angry with me. I hate it because Larry is slow to anger, so if he gets angry with me I know I’ve really crossed the line.

Today, I clearly did. There were, of course, mitigating factors - not enough sleep, the stress of facing a deadline on project I never wanted to start in the first place, and a myriad other building irritations. So I was already stretched pretty thin when - before I’d even had my coffee - Larry peevishly reminded me that I’d not done something he’d specifically asked me to do the day before.

I could just as easily said, “Oh, sorry, I’ll get to it today.” But, no. Instead I got irate and pissy with him, ignoring his cloudy look as I slammed the cupboard door, which in turn caused him to raise his voice and warn me that Enough was Enough, that he’d had every right to be irritated and that I had no right to start in with what he calls “the attitude.”

I hate being talked to like I’m five, even when I act like it. When I announced I was going for a walk, he didn’t try to stop me and I was so angry I didn’t bother to change out of my nightgown. Instead, I just put on my slippers and grabbed my wrap - the soft green one I knit last winter - and stormed out.

Nikki, who usually follows me everywhere, slunk away as I went past. You know you’re putting out some seriously bad vibes when your own dog doesn’t want to follow you.

The field behind our house was still soggy with dew. The hem of my gown was soon soaked with it and snagged on the stubble of cornstalks left over from the last harvest. A black snake and I startled each other. It zipped off and I slowed down, deciding to watch my step or risk stepping on something more dangerous.

My eyes scanned the edge of the field, assessing the trees until I found the friendliest looking one. Sitting underneath it, I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders, hugged my knees to my chest and cried.

I don’t mind crying in front of my husband if I’m sad over something like a movie or a disappointment. I hate crying in front of him if I’m angry. Larry’s unmoved by angry tears and the only thing worse than crying is crying and being denied comfort. Or being told outright that you have no one to blame for your tears but your own foolishness.

It’s also a matter of pride, which is something I need to get past. But old habits die hard and my residual pride still clings to me, like chips of paint on a refinished cabinet. I can live with the pride, though, having been cleanly stripped of much worse vices. When I met Larry I was as mercurial a young woman as you’d ever want to meet - rash, conflicted and hell-bent on my own destruction.

It’s amazing what habits you can shed when you are in the company of someone who refuses to tolerate them. Larry has always been able to settle me when no one else could; if we were a chemical compound, he’d be the stabilizer. I’d be the element that - if left by itself - would have exploded and taken out a whole city block. Over our years together his presence has tamed the wilder part of me and made me less afraid, less defensive, more grounded.

When I look back on who I was when we met, I often wonder what Larry saw in me. I asked him once and the answer he gave moved me to my very core. He said, “I saw incredible potential.”

That’s why I was sitting under the tree crying. Because as tough and independent as I like to think I am, I still value my husband’s approval. And it hurts when I lose it, even temporarily, for I know he expects more of me. Larry gave me my first lesson in redemption; together we’ve built a life to be proud of. For that I am grateful, even if I’m not always gracious.

When I walked back to the house, Larry was about to leave. He didn’t say anything, didn’t kiss me goodbye. He told me he’d be home for lunch and trusted I would be calmer by then. I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down to think, separating the knotted up threads of stress that made up my tangled ball of anger, laying them out, and deciding more constructive ways to deal with them.

I don’t know how long Larry will be angry with me, but I’ll know how it will end. It will end later today as it always does, when - deciding that I’ve Gotten The Message - he’ll casually asks me what came in the mail, or recount some funny anecdote from work. I’ll respond just as casually, mindful not to betray my relief at the subtle signs of being welcomed back into his good graces. He won’t ask for an apology but he won’t have to. A little later, I’ll gladly give it.

But for now, I wait. And feel rather foolish. Don’t get me wrong; my husband - while a good man - is no saint. There are times when the shoe’s on the other foot and he’s wrong. But today it’s me so I don’t mind admitting it. Sometimes a little painful self-analysis is part of the lesson.

23 comments:

Taylor said...

You just lay it all out there, don't you?

I've heard that about you writers - seeing every life experience as nothing more than fodder for your pen...

And we eat it up.

Taylor said...

I'm never gonna marry a writer. :-)

prettylady said...

Oh, sweetie, sweetie, sweetie, I do love you so. It is such a relief to admit to being in the wrong, is it not? And the way you allow yourself to be so utterly vulnerable is incredibly endearing.

Morgan said...

Taylor, writing is therapeutic and it's not like I have that many people reading this. But at least when they do they'll know my life is more than pretty children and flowers.
As for marrying a writer, we do have our good points. We're generally dramatic enough to make life more interesting and we write beautiful inscriptions in birthday and anniversary cards.

Morgan said...

Pretty Lady, it is a relief to admit one is wrong, and liberating in its own odd way. There was a time when I couldn't allow myself to be wrong or vulnerable. There is a certain freedom that comes with not fighting honesty - and honest feelings so much. It's been a slow progression for me. But progression is progression and I'm probably happier now than I've ever been, even on Not So Great days like today. :-)

Taylor said...

Yes, writing is therapeutic. But mine would be like: Oh damn. I screwed up.

See, you need to be a writer to dig the words out of yourself and onto the paper.

We're generally dramatic enough

I'd be dramatic enough for both of us, thank you. ;-)

Morgan said...

Good move, Taylor. It's always best to have one dramatic person in the relationship. I would have been pissed to run the the field and find Larry crying under my tree.

Taylor said...

LOL! Yeah, how do you deal with that?

We dramatic types need a need a rock. An intelligent rock who knows how to deal with our dramatics.

Morgan said...

Larry deals with them by making me take them outside with one look. He's neither theatric nor patient with theatrics, which is probably good for both of us.
Well, let me give a disclaimer. He does love my animated tales of stuff that's happened at work. He just doesn't like it when I get moody, angst-ridden and snippy.

Taylor said...

Larry appears to be the perfect complement to you, Morgan. Hell, he's sounds perfect for me! Left to our own devices, we'd just wallow in it...

I am sincerely very happy for you, Morgan.

Mia said...

Morgan,

We can all relate. I too admire your honesty. Hope today is better.

Mia (another drama queen)

Morgan said...

Thank you, Mia. Things are better today and I'm feeling a bit more subdued, a bit less dramatic. Not that I'd have time for any drama this weekend, anyway. We're in the midst of a three-day plant sale. If we want drama, we'll have to catch a movie, which at this point is fine with both of us. :-)

Jamie said...

I've always been known for my amazing tact and great timing.

Have you seen this article Morgan?

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18718511-13762,00.html

It would be great if I knew how to post HTML links here.... my tact and timing would be SO much cleaner and better.

Jamie said...

It seems to work when you highlight what's there, but if not, there's always source #2:

http://www.ww4report.com/node/1829

I'm so persistent when I want to spread smiles and jump up and down sharing candy and joy.

Morgan said...

Sport, leave it to you to turn my Tender Revelation into fodder for Aussie humor.

So they're teaching Indian boys that donkeys are better than wives. How Indian of them. I particularly liked this passage:

"A donkey is like a housewife ... In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master," the newspaper reported, quoting a Hindi-language primer meant for 14-year-olds."

Someone clearly needs to offer these boys a counterpoint, for I can think of any number of ways women are better donkeys:

1. Donkeys can't cook.
2. It's legal to have sex with a woman (I can't speak for India, but here it's illegal to have sex with a donkey).
3. Your kids will have really big ears.

So while funny, I'm not sure man/donkey unions will catch on. But that doesn't mean you can't dream, Sport. Just keep in mind that if you and your long-eared bride come to visit Auntie Morgan she'll have to sleep in the barn. :-)

Morgan said...

I just thought of another difference between donkeys and wives.
If you make a donkey angry, it holds a grudge that no woman can match. Also, donkeys have no concept of make-up sex.

Jamie said...

Can you tell after your Tender Revelation that I was sensitive to your mood and feelings? That's me. I am one with women in these times of need.

Never lonely when I'm posting Jamie is always heaven sent, reaching far to raise the bar while Morgan's tears they do descend, making all the drama of a country farmer rather indeed that humourous, and I get to reminisce in this glow of troubled love --- yeah yeah yeaaaahhhh

EN said...

"If you make a donkey angry, it holds a grudge that no woman can match."

On what planet would the woman who don't hold a grudge for the rest of their life reside? Just curious, cuz it can't be earth.

Morgan said...

"Can you tell after your Tender Revelation that I was sensitive to your mood and feelings? That's me. I am one with women in these times of need."

Well, thanks for nothing, Sport. Now I'll know who *not* to run to when I'm feeling sad and vulnerable. And an accompanying insensitive rhyme, to boot. Auntie Morgan thinks you're very bad.

Morgan said...

"On what planet would the woman who don't hold a grudge for the rest of their life reside? Just curious, cuz it can't be earth."

Why EN, you know better. Give a donkey a pretty piece of jewelry or a bit of poetry and it will kick you. Give a woman a pretty piece of jewelry and a bit of poetry and she'll forgive you ...and more.

JohnR said...

Morgan: You're such a girl sometimes. :)

JohnR

Morgan said...

JohnR...ssssshhhhh. Please don't tell anyone, OK?

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