I don’t know who’s President yet, just to get that out of the way. Everyone knows how I feel about it by now, I think.
So that’s not currently bloggable. And while I prefer a high degree of stability in my personal life I’m not currently getting it, despite my best efforts, so that’s not feeling bloggable either. What I need is a journaling session, but I promised myself I’d attempt a blog every day that I can, and I can, so…cue the attempt.
Here’s something authentic, and safely in the past, and thematically connected to the unbloggableness, and probably relatable for others: a story about being a newlywed, in 2008. How old was I? Thirty two. We met in the latter half of my 29th year, so we dated for two years and some change and then got married.
Interestingly, a thing with a third party happened to me within the first several weeks of being married that would have been only unpleasant, had I been a solo agent, but proved unraveling to me as a newlywed. I’ve been thinking about this and understanding it more, through the lens of hindsight.
So, the hubs and I pooled our resources and bought out Chuck, his boss, at the shop where he worked. That put us in partnership with his other boss, who was remote and had another shop down in Phoenix. This financial entanglement, which remained unofficial in terms of paperwork (my money absorbed into an interest in his name only) prompted our shit-or-get-off-the-pot marital move, more than anything. I mean, I knew I wanted to be with the guy, and not because he made a good living and reasonably checked the boxes but I realized that stuff matters, in any world, right? So the love was there, and all the elements that lead one to expect a fair degree of comfort, advancement, and success were there, on both sides. I was in grad school and had a medical certification. Like, I had stuff going on.
So, in the first week or two of being married, his business partner yelled at me on speaker phone, in the presence of my now-husband. He called me stupid, literally, and generally ripped me a new asshole.
The reasons for this explosion had to do with a financial liability we unknowingly took on, in buying out the other guy, which quickly became obvious. I was 1000% busy with my stuff and had not been involved in the immediate dealings of this shop, which was related to my husband’s industry but not mine. And so really it didn’t make any sense for me to attempt to troubleshoot it. But I did, only because my husband was swamped, and totally stressed out, and had some kind of raging UTI from riding mountain bikes too much, and on a really gnarly course of antibiotics that said, right there on the bottle, it could cause depression and emotional volatility. So yeah — our lease included the guy next door and the guy next door had been delinquent on his rent for, like, ever, and Chuck was fully aware of this but didn’t tell us, and we didn’t do our due diligence to find out because it just hadn’t occurred to us. Again, this was something I saw as my husband’s deal, which I was in a position to help out with, but hadn’t been otherwise much involved in, until suddenly I was.
So now the landlord was threatening x y z and delinquent guy was AWOL and, knowing nothing about anyone’s legal rights or responsibilities, I attempted to ramp up my understanding of the situation ASAP. The funny part is we had enough money to simply pay the debt, which is the first thing I suggested, and my husband had a conniption about that so this was all, in my mind, Plan B.
So, here I am, handling something I’m not equipped to handle, for reasons even I don’t fully agree with, having known full well Chuck was a bastard we shouldn’t have trusted (he was the kind of guy who showed random people pictures of his very young wife’s pussy on his cell phone in a swaggering, unbearable manner) — yeah, I was like, ‘of course Chuck fucked us over. Why would he not.’
It all came to a head, though, during this speaker phone conversation, or rather ass chewing, as if I was this guy’s extremely disappointing employee.
It didn’t last a particularly long time, and other than calling me stupid, it probably wasn’t as blistering as it felt. Apparently he had legal counsel on retainer and was enraged that we hadn’t availed ourselves of it, despite our having known nothing about it. The whole thing was a shit show.
But the real shit show, for me, was that this guy absolutely went off on me, and I looked at my husband. He just sat there rubbing his face, saying nothing.
Right there, right then, our marriage was doomed. I know that sounds dramatic but the reasons I felt that way are the same reasons I’m blogging about it today. This shit matters, and here’s why.
I can function as a solo agent and ambulate around in the world and try my hand with things I’m unskilled at and be harangued and abused and called stupid, *all by myself*. And I can recover from that all by myself, too. If I was wrong and it was merited, I can assess that. If the abuse was unwarranted, I can act to separate myself from the source of abuse.
What I can’t do is operate, in committed romantic partnership, as if deep principles of sacred masculine and sacred feminine are expendable. Of course we’re not *only* that, but why would I trade my freedom, my autonomy, my pearl of great price, for a man that won’t protect me? It’s not about whether or not I can protect myself — of course I can. It’s just that, if I have to protect myself, that means I’m not married to you. That fucking paper can say whatever it says but I’m sorry — you’re not my husband. You’re not my man. If you were my man, you would protect me, and I can go right now and find a million other dudes who know that, who understand that, and who would jump at the chance.
I couldn’t have articulated it so clearly at the time, because nothing like this had ever happened to me. My reaction to it was on a primordial level, and I attempted to intellectualize it back to wherever it came from, but that ship had sailed.
So the phone call ended, and I was in tears. Partly from, you know, having had a virtual stranger go ballistic on me, but much more confusingly due to my husband’s reaction of non-reaction. We hadn’t taken a honeymoon. We already lived in this house together before we got married. I didn’t have a ring yet, because I was still in the process of buying one *for myself*. He was stressed about money, with buying the shop, and didn’t think rings were important, so I was making that happen on my own, because I did think rings are important. In fact I thought, and still think, a lot of the ritualistic elements of love and partnership are important. Dudes just wanna mosey in and have fun, maintaining plausible deniability in the event we make the mistake of actually leaning on them — “hey hey hey, I thought this was just like a fun, casual thing.” And we women are so goddamn stupid! We don’t want to be “that girl”, asking the tough questions, making it uncomfortable — we want to be his fun, sexy, all reward no risk dream girl. And then we fucking need something from him that we wouldn’t otherwise need, and he’s strategically confused. Men love to purposefully misunderstand things that it’s not in their interests to understand.
So I walked out onto the back porch and smoked some rolled tobacco and attempted to understand this shocking disappointment that had just occurred. I walked back inside and said, “Why didn’t you say something to him? Why were you just quiet? He just called me stupid, right in front of you, and you just sat there.”
My husband seemed kind of shell shocked — “Yeah, that was a little intense. Did he? I think he was just upset.”
I laughed, angrily. “Yeah, I know he was upset.”
“Wait, why are you mad at me?”
I goggled at him, but I couldn’t formulate a response to this question. I think my ambient, default feminism would’t allow me to understand the reaction I was having. We women get points in the world for being hyper-rational, you know, so god forbid we say something irrational, like “I don’t know…just feels like you have a sacred duty to protect me from threats, or else why on earth would I want to fuck you.” Something like that.
Even worse, my husband was actually a quite intuitive man, and he mostly used his intuition in service of dodging topics that seemed charged. Like, in his world, he sat at a control panel that had two big red buttons. One was labeled “Make this right for Hannah,” and the other was labeled “Avoid and it will go away”.
It did go away, eventually, and me with it. We lasted like three years, but our dynamic was off, ever since then. And let me be clear (echoes of Obama-talk): my current understanding of the minimum-acceptable level of honor for the sacred masculine/feminine contract does not demand that the whole relationship be torched after one mistake. The point of relationships is to figure it out, together. My understanding does demand, though, that I demonstrate to myself that I matter to me, on that level, even and especially when I’m not mattering to you, on that level. I need to pull back, like the tide, and return when we’re in agreement on certain primordial principles.
Being recently married made me feel hemmed in, castrated. I even suggested an annulment. “I’m not sure this is right for me.” His response was, absolutely absolutely absolutely not. That’s a very positive-possessive masculine response, right? That’s great, when it’s earned. Unfortunately men don’t get to just possess things and not care for them. In fact, only through caring for things, through taking their best interests as your own, can you truly possess — anything else is shadow masculinity at its worst and most disconnected. So it’s a man’s job, in my life anyway, to do his best, and when he falls short, to square up with the problem and make things right for me. It’s my job not to become someone for whom things are always wrong. It’s very subjective on both sides, and like all truths, something that can be felt more clearly than it can ever be said.
Perhaps more clearly than any other aspect, what this experience taught me is that my relationship to myself will get, and stay, all fucked up, when I don’t create for myself the space to withdraw, possibly to re-approach. That’s all you’ve got, you know? If I ever find myself arguing for my position or value in a man’s life, I’m already over-extended. There’s a much clearer way to say that, and a more loving way, too. It’s not burning it all down and starting over, necessarily. It can be a little gesture, or a big one. It’s the gesture that’s everything; the demonstration to myself that I will understand, and honor, the unspeakably important prize of my sacred femininity, whether anyone else does or not, because what is true within becomes true without. I, within myself, am a compendium of feminine and masculine. I value and treasure the primordial, creative, receptive, goddess-mind energies with which I’m gifted — gifted, not socially or culturally manufactured — and I demonstrate my valuing of that by using my own masculine energies wisely. My masculine energies protect me, and advance my interests; they pursue things, decide things. It is primarily my masculine energies that most people in my life encounter, because it’s not their role to experience me otherwise. That’s something special, reserved for those whom I agree to experience otherwise. And it’s not an agreement, or a contract, made once, and breached haphazardly ever after. Marriages and relationships can founder on indefinitely, obviously, in accelerating positive feedback loops of competing masculine energies. That’s the blessing and the curse of the sacred feminine — it doesn’t, in itself, “do” much — it just means everything, and makes everything worth it. No one would go to all the trouble to build a greenhouse if they didn’t want something to grow inside it. Plants don’t “do” much. We just can’t live without them.
After our divorce, my now ex-husband told me, once, in a moment of clarity, and not initiated by me because I was over it — “You know that day Paulo yelled at you? I should have driven down to Phoenix and kicked his ass. I should have told him I’d kill him if he ever talked to you that way again. I should have —”
I laughed. “You could have just, like, mildly objected. Or anything. I would have really appreciated that.”
“I know. I’m so sorry.”
“Thank you. That means a lot.”
He knew. He knew, all that time, that there was something to make right for me, and he didn’t do it until admitting fault finally felt safe, because it was all over. Isn’t that a sad and terrible thing?
We don’t give our deep, receptive, creating, flowering feminine selves to just anyone. Plants don’t grow in just any old soil. This is not a demand but an invitation to the masculine. Be my greenhouse. Protect me and nurture me, and I’ll flower spectacularly for you, and you alone. Surrender me to the elements, withhold my water, and I’ll wither, blow away, and find more hospitable soil to plant my roots. It’s not personal. It’s spiritual. It’s not an indictment. It’s a law of nature. The tide answers to the moon, not the sand.