I’ve been reading Minimalist Packrat’s blog over the last couple of days. Finding Tanja’s blog was Kismet. In a post that made me CRY, Tanja wrote this:
SIMPLE THINGS OFTEN AREN’T SIMPLE
I got that tank because I had an idealized view of reality in my head, where a small tank of fish would provide me with tranquility and serenity.
I’d made many other purchases in the past based on that same assumption (or hope).
Tanja makes the point that she was attaching values to obtaining things that weren’t actually going to provide the value that she hoped for. I did/do the same thing. I do it about people, places, AND things. People do this everyday. They get married because they think a partner will provide some magic cure. They start hobbies, build relationships, go places, all in hopes of finding something they need.
Yes, I bought the all white service-ware set because I believed the uniform creamy white dishes would add some sort of Martha Steward- esque nostalgia to our family meals. Maybe one day my daughter would look back and remember the classy and dignified dinners so prepared with love. Yes, I want to move to _____________(fill in the blank) because THERE things won’t be like this, there the people are more__________________(fill in the blank).
Lately I have been so overwhelmed with what I thought my life would look like. Being surprised by pregnancies, even when you tried to prevent them, a marriage that didn’t turn out like you’d imagined, and the other laundry list of broken expectations have left me feeling really, well.. sort of “what the hell is the point.”
When Garrett left for rehab our home went into foreclosure. The previous loss of Garrett’s job and then the subsequent loss of his next job, after he came back from rehab, left us financially unstable. Freelance writing/blogging/social media is great, but it doesn’t bring in consistent pay checks. So we defaulted and went into something the bank called “loss mitigation”. It has been several months and they still haven’t reviewed our case. We still don’t know when/if they’ll take our house. We still don’t know if they’ll adjust our mortgage so we can afford it, considering we are catching up from all the expenses that accrued from Garrett being unemployed. Beyond that, we’ve been trying to get out of this house for years now. We are stuck.
We sat down yesterday and had a gut wrenching talk. We cried. We talked about who we thought we were before versus who we are now. We talked about fulfilling other’s expectations: having the mortgage, the kids, and the marriage we thought we were supposed to have. He was taught by his father that you get a good job, marry a good woman, buy a good house, be a good Christian, and raise good kids. As it turns out- that isn’t the best plan for everyone and “good” is relative. Garrett followed the rules he was taught by his family but, obviously, as any honest person will admit you can’t insulate against reality. Kids aren’t always “good”, houses can burn down (even if just symbolically), and what the hell does being a “good Christian” even mean?!
Sometimes the rules that we adopt, the ones that aren’t true to who we are, act like a prison. We can find ourselves trying to break free of the rules in our own ways. The more and more we force ourselves to adhere to the mask those rules created, we find ourselves doing increasingly destructive things internally to free ourselves. The process of differentiation can be arduous.
We talked about living a life that was fractured. Garrett admitted to wanting to live as the new him, the him that was honest about his issues and who he truly was, while still trying to keep the facade of the old life in tact. Who wants to say, “Yeah, I lost my job because of my addiction and then I couldn’t make my mortgage, THEN I went to rehab and things got worse, so now we don’t have a home.”
I am sure this all seems confusing. It is confusing even to us: the people who are living it.
So today I(we) are feeling inspired. I am going to take Tanja’s lead and clear out stuff that I don’t use/need that I kept because it “meant something”. More than that, we are letting go of the expectation of who we thought we should/would be and embracing, instead, who we are right now. We have decided to give the deed back to the house and face the damage of what has transpired over the last 18 months.
As I was crying at the thought of what this all means, my neighbor Bob was talking to me about everything that has gone on in our family as of late. He is an 80 year old man, frequently cantankerous, unpredictable, and very wise. He said, very simply, about us losing the house and our marriage:
“Jasmine. I think the best thing you and Garrett could do is turn in the deed to this house and turn in the deed to the marriage you thought you had. Move on. This house was never “you”. Give yourselves the chance to start over- without expectation and start over with each other. Who gives a damn about credit scores, or what other people think.”
It is hard, y’all. I am going to cry. I AM crying. But it is time to “clean house”.