Your Face (kandigurl) wrote,
Your Face
kandigurl

LJ Idol - Week 16 - "A Terrible Beauty Has Been Born"

I recently watched a comedy act performed as a roundabout story of how the comedian came to terms with marriage. It's on Netflix if you want to watch it, it's by Mike Birbiglia and it's called "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend".

At the end, he said that even though he'd gotten married, he still didn't believe in marriage. I can relate.

I'm a married woman who does not believe in marriage. Or rather, I don't believe that the vast majority of people who get married do it for the right reasons. I think if you're doing anything on account of it being "the thing to do", you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

I've always had this sense that the rules are a joke and life is there to play around with. In kindergarten, I once thought to myself: "What if I'm the only real live human being on the face of the earth, and everyone else is a robot?"

I proceeded to go through the day with that belief. My teacher reminded us that if we didn't behave, we'd get our cards pulled from green to yellow, and I thought, "Yeah, but you're just a robot, so it doesn't matter." My classmates would ask me to pass them a crayon, and I'd do it, thinking, "It's a shame you're just a robot who's only programmed to color, but not really color like a human could."

It made the whole world feel liberating and open. My oyster, as they say. But then on the bus ride home I realized that if everyone were a robot, that included my mom, and I didn't want a robot for a mom, so there went that theory.

But I never stopped questioning the little realities of life. I would hear adults lament over how they hated their jobs, and I would think to myself, "Why don't you just quit?" I would watch straight "A" students work themselves into a tizzy over getting a "B", and I would think, "Why does it really matter, anyway? What does a grade prove? Is that 'B' really going to define your entire life?"

I'm not saying I've never subscribed to a belief because it was the socially acceptable thing to do. But largely, if I catch myself doing so, I take the time to think critically about it.

I think it's extremely important to think critically about anything you take for granted. You might be wrong. In fact, you're probably wrong. Everyone else is not, in fact, a robot. Thinking critically about things helps ensure you are making your own decision, and not someone else's decision.

When it came to marriage, I'd narrowly escaped it once. I'd spent six years engaged to the wrong person, staying for the sake of staying, and it wasn't until that relationship ended that I thought critically about marriage. About how I had stayed miserable for years because I believed that the commitment was a rock solid one, when in truth, we'd spent half of our time together frantically attempting to cling to an idea, not each other.

After that, I swore off marriage. What good did it do? If you were happy, be happy. If you were miserable, leave. Marriage is just a piece of paper. You don't need it if you're secure in your relationship.

And then I met him.

I knew before we even started dating that he would be the person I married, and yet, I fought the idea tooth and nail. I fought it as I fell in love. I fought it as we raised a cat together, rented an apartment together, went on road trips together, fantasized about the future together. I fought it as I watched our companionship grow into the most fulfilling romantic relationship I'd ever experienced.

This was enough, this was enough, this was enough.

He brought up marriage first, and the carefully constructed reality I'd built came crumbling down. Now I had to think critically about a new belief. Why did marriage scare me so much? What did I have to lose? What was the worst that could happen?

In the end, we did get married. I dealt with my demons and realized the following: Marriage is what you make of it. If you expect your marriage to be 100% perfect all the time - a Cinderella-esque, ride-off-into-the-sunset, no-cares-for-the-rest-of-our-lives sort of deal - you might be disappointed by the reality. Every marriage is different. It can be as terrible or as beautiful as you let it be, and the only people it belongs to are the two of you.

For my part, I find a security in my marriage that I never felt in any previous "committed" relationship. Intellectually, I know it's a false sense of security, but I don't feel that frantic feeling I used get, that sense of grappling to keep hold of someone, as if our connection were something tenuous that could fall apart with the wrong choice of words. I feel confident in this relationship, that we have created a safe space for us to exist in a place of support. That is what we've made of our marriage.

And so far, it's beautiful.
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