Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a big bowl of hubby

If you EVER hear me say that someone "needs to learn how to be happy being alone" feel free to punch me in the head. In fact, don't just feel free to do it. Just do it. Punch me in the head. I deserve it.

If I ever say that again, I'm a total a-hole and I deserve to be punched in the head.

You see, I used to think of myself as someone who had learned "how to be happy being alone." From 2000 to the middle of 2004 I was alone. I dated off and on, mostly random jerks and none for longer than a few months. I did a lot on my own. Movies, shows, swimming holes, bike rides, dinners (fancy or otherwise). Bought myself flowers. Took myself dancing or picnicking or both. Got me drunk and took advantage. Went to parties and left early. Walked slowly to the Dobie. Sat in coffee shops for four hours reading or writing. Napped under trees. Sang myself songs. Went to Mexico.

But today, I stand corrected. Yes indeedy. Cor-rect-ed.

Even back then, sometimes I'd have a need that I couldn't satisfy. It often came as an urge to turn on the TV and dissappear into it for awhile. Thankfully I didn't have one or I might've given in. Other times I'd just really want a big bowl of ice cream or some chocolate or a Krispy Kreme donut or an entire package of macaroni and cheese. After multiple experiments with these materials, I discovered that none really satisfied my craving.

So I started to think of this feeling that fell somewhere in between wanting to dissappear into the TV and wanting to stuff myself full of comfort food as wanting a big bowl of nothing. Sweet, delicious, nutritious nothing. Light and fluffy but filling nothing.

The ache, the chasm in my throat, in my chest needed to be filled but I didn't have anything to fill it with it. So I'd go on a long walk or a bike ride or I'd meditate and eventually it would go away. I hadn't felt that way in a long time.

(At least not at home. At work, I feel it all the time. If you ever hear me say "I want cake" or "I want some manna from heaven" that's my socially acceptable (?) way of saying "I want a big bowl of nothing.")

But the feeling has returned recently and it takes no brainiac to figure out why. My husband has been working 14 to 18 hour days for the last two weeks. For the first week he came home for dinner but in the second week his schedule tightened so that we didn't see each other at all for five days straight.

At first, I was kinda glad to have the house completely to myself for awhile. And then that gap in my chest opened up. Before I knew it some tectonic plates shifted in my heart and it was a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. The me that was happy being alone was on one side basking in the sunlight and the rest of me was trying cower in the shade of a leafless scrub brush. And then an ant mistook the happy me for a grain of sugar and carried that me off to the queen.

In other words, I forgot how to be happy being alone.

Later it dawned on me that it took two full years to learn how to be happy alone and that it took a lot of hard work. After almost two years of being with my husband, I think I can cut myself two weeks worth of slack.

Plus ... this is the really good part ...

The Zen Buddhists (and a bunch of other religions actually) say that the world is just a big mirror that reflects you back to yourself. And that every body and every thing in your life that you have strong feelings about (love or hate) is also a mirror to your own self. So, according to them, if my husband is everything that is good and beautiful and musical and hilarious in the world then somehow I am also everything good, beautiful, musical, and hilarious. And I carry that beauty and happiness around with me everywhere I go. Even when he's not around.


If you (I mean, you. Yes. You. Right there) have ever been in love ... if you have ever seen perfect happiness in another person or even an animal or an idea or a work of art, they say that is in you too. Right now and always.

You probably don't believe me and that's OK. I believe me and since you're a reflection of me, you believe me too. Ha ha!

Just kidding.

Sort of.


Blogger ryan said...

You know what people say "you need to learn to be happy being alone"? People who are happily in relationships. I know, because I used to be one of them, and I said it all the time. That's like how only rich people say that money doesn't matter.

Well, it sure as hell matters if you don't have any.

9:09 AM


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