That Damn Hill

When I hear the word newlyweds, I think of two blissfully naive youngsters kissing and holding each other in a cozy restaurant booth or that classic image of the man carrying the woman over the threshold. So when people call us newlyweds (while it is technically true), I always shake my head. We haven’t had the kind of newlywed year that most people have. Not that it was unhappy, no, it was blissfully happy, when it wasn’t terrifying and stressful. But that wasn’t our fault.

That was the fault of a dirt road on a steep hill.

I was walking from a make-shift parking lot on the set of the show I’m working on and the walk down to the set is a treacherous dirt road on a rocky hill. I remember I had an audition that had gone pretty well earlier that morning, I slipped and fell, my ankle buckling under me.  I had fractured my ankle, an innocuous injury it seemed. After a week of waiting for worker’s comp insurance to assign me an orthopedist (another blog post entirely), my calf became swollen and sore, and me not being a person who calls a doctor about ANYTHING, I figured it was the boot irritating my leg or something. Luckily, my husband is the opposite of me and when the doctor called about a follow up visit and I tried to cancel it, my husband insisted that we go.

I should mention here that I broke my right ankle and was unable to drive thus I had to go wherever he would take me. And I’m glad because when the doctor saw my calf, he immediately sent us to the ER, I had a blood clot, he was certain.

He was right — a blood clot had formed from the injured ankle to the knee and there were a few clots that made it to my lungs. I had made it to the hospital just in time apparently. The blood clot was due to the week of immobility, the trauma of the fracture, and birth control pills. Once they said I needed to be admitted to the hospital,  my husband and I went into practical mode, calling a friend to come get our dog, calling bosses and emailing people to cover meetings and shifts. He went home to get me clothes and toiletries and by the end of the first night, they found him a bed so that he could stay in the hospital with me.

So there we were, stuck in this room together, me, practically immobile and him trying not to yell at every nurse that passed by wondering where the doctor was and what was going on.  And it was like that for 4 days until (thank God) my mom came to relieve him.

I learned more in those four days about my husband than other newlyweds learn in the first two years. I learned what a strong person he is, how he handles stress (real stress) and how we respond together as a unit in times of crisis. I saw what breaks both of us and what I can do to prevent that in the future. I learned what I need to work on in our relationship and in life in general. But mostly, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would react if the situation was reversed. Would I be as forceful and proactive as my husband? It is not in my nature, so I know if I found myself in a hospital with my sick husband I would have to push outside my comfort zone and advocate for him the way that he did for me. And I find myself having to do that now in all my follow-up visits with doctors.

We also learned A LOT about how hospitals work. Mainly that there seems to be a lack of communication and that their answer to everything is painkillers. And while the latter may sound fun, it usually isn’t the answer you are looking for when you have been diagnosed with a blood clot and are suddenly feeling a tightness in your chest again.

Also, time does not exist in hospitals. Much like casinos, hospitals are constantly moving and people are in and out at all hours. I had many a nurse wake me up from a sound sleep at 3 a.m. to ask me questions that honestly, they could have read on my chart. Or to tell me things I already knew. And for some reason my twice daily blood drawing was scheduled for 4AM and 4 PM.  I am sure there are perfectly good reasons for all of this, but since no one in a hospital really tells you much of anything, I was never clued in to such things.

I always imagined the first time my husband and I would have to be in a hospital together would be the birth of a child or when we were very old, holding hands in our hospital beds ala “The Notebook”.  But what this first year of marriage has taught me the most about is throwing away all preconceived notions of what marriage and life is going to be like. I’ve learned you both have to be good at rolling with the punches because you never know what is going to come from simply walking down a dirt road.

“Me” Time, Part II

So after I posted the last blog, my fiance read it.

Actually he read it before I posted it because he proofs my spelling and grammar.

Anyway, it spawned a discussion of selfishness that left me feeling, well, less than stellar about my abilities to be a good human in a life long relationship.

And not due to anything he said, well, yes due to something he said, but not in the way that you think.

So he read it and laughed at the appropriate places. Then when he was done I asked if he thought I was selfish and he said, “Yes….but so am I.”

He went on to explain that it isn’t so much a selfishness issue as it is a control issue. I like to control time and he likes to be in charge of resources. Which (as the title indicates) is pretty spot on. I don’t think he is controlling about money, he just likes to be the one that knows where everything is going and appropriates it accordingly. But I am definitely controlling with time…..especially my own time.

I am constantly making plans without telling him, or not telling anyone for that matter, and then I just expect him to do what I need him to do. This is a pretty typical conversation on a Saturday morning at our house:

Me: So first to the gym, then Target, then brunch with so and so, then tonight dinner with such and such.

Him: Am I going with you to all of this?

Me: Of course, now get your gym clothes on, we are already 10 minutes behind schedule.

Now if this conversation was to be reversed, he would ask me when I wanted to do all the things we needed to do. Which I would reply, “not now, I’m not ready”.

My time hoarding is especially evident when we are planning a trip or rather when I am telling him we are going on a trip. See, in my defense, I have been so used to picking up and going when someone says “Let’s go somewhere”. I didn’t have to take into a account another person. Let’s not even touch on the financial part of this, but I never had to worry about another person’s schedule. Work, life, family obligations. I know what I can do, and what I can do is go right now, so you should too.

Our talk that day ended with him saying “It’s something we both need to work on. And we will.” Because he is awesome.

That is when I spiraled. I thought to myself “But I like doing things the way that I do them now! I don’t want to work on it!”.

Then I thought, “but if I don’t work on it and he does, that is unfair and I will make him unhappy. And if I do work on it, I will be unhappy because I won’t be doing things the way I want to do them!”

Then, “And if I’m unhappy, he will be unhappy.”

At that point, I decided that I will be a terrible wife and I’m not fit to marry anyone, especially this wonderful guy. Luckily I was about to meet a friend (a new friend) and I ended up unloading on her (welcome to my life new friend!). She was really understanding and helped me see the normalcy of all that I was thinking and feeling. And that just for thinking all of this, I’m probably way more suitable for marriage than I thought.

I didn’t talk to him about this part….about the spiral. I was afraid of what he might think, about what my spiral might do to him. Besides, I wasn’t sure how to say to him “You know I’m going to be the worst wife, right?” without him thinking that I was joking. I wasn’t sure how to say “Are you sure you want to marry me?” in a way that didn’t sound like I was fishing for a compliment or reassurance.

But he’s going to check my spelling and grammar and find out all about it.

I just hope he laughs at the appropriate places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Me” Time , Part I

When I was a kid and my mom would hear me wake up from a nap, unless I cried, she would leave me alone for about 20 minutes. She said that I really needed that time to be awake and by myself. And that if I didn’t have that time, I would be cranky for the rest of the day.

When most people hear this anecdote, it doesn’t make sense because I’m a pretty social person. My best friend used to say it was like I was perpetually running for homecoming queen. But whenever I would call my mother from New York upset, grumpy or sad, she would, in her infinite wisdom, ask me when was the last time I was alone.

In New York, that isn’t a silly question because in New York, you are NEVER alone. You live with other people so you can afford to live there. You work with other people, you go to work with other people, you walk with other people, you are surrounded by other people. It is very hard to get some me time.

In Los Angeles, it is different. You are alone a lot more. In your car, there are a lot more jobs where you can work alone (editing, writing..etc.) and more people can afford to live alone. With my fiance’s travel schedule, I am alone more than I was in NYC and yet, it isn’t enough.

See it isn’t about “I’m alone, now it is me time”, it’s “I want me time NOW”. Sometimes “NOW” is not when you want it to be. Last night, I just wanted to zone out and binge on “Scandal” (I’m in the middle of the 2nd Season!!) but he came home from being away for a day and wanted to talk. It was sweet. And I have to say I felt guilty for wanting to punch him for not letting me zone out and forcing me to pay attention. I couldn’t yell at him or get mad. I turned off the TV and tried to make the conversation as short as possible (which is totally unlike me).

Then, as I was nodding and smiling about a podcast he listened to on the plane, I thought “Oh God, this is my life from now on”. Then I thought “I am a selfish person”. This last thought is the one that freaked me out the most. Yes, I know I have selfish tendencies, and I can also be self centered. But never has it revealed itself as much as it did in that moment. This gorgeous moment of him really wanting to connect and me being totally annoyed and thinking about how in the world Olivia Pope is gonna get out of this one!

It’s not as if he is always around. Or even that when he is around he is always demanding my attention. Which makes my reaction even worse!

Whenever I think of sacrifice in marriage, I think of the big stuff. Moving because of the others job, giving up something you love to better the life of your spouse, taking care of a sick spouse etc…
It never occurred to me that sacrifice is something that happens in small ways on a daily basis. Sacrifice is giving up something for the other person’s benefit, whether it is giving up your seat on the couch or having Chinese even thought you feel like Mexican.

As my exhausted fiance fell asleep last night, I had a terrible headache, and as I am wont to do late at night, I immediately began to think about all the horrible things it could be. My mind wandered to a conversation I had about the left brain vs. the right brain. And I just had to tell him.

And this bone tired man opened his eyes and started to have a conversation that eventually lulled me to sleep.

I am a monster.