If you came to this post thinking it is a review for the Britney Spears movie which goes by the same name as this post, you probably shouldn’t read this. And you should get Netflix or something.
When you are married or with a person for a long time, it’s possible to ignore certain faults. Certain weaknesses. We tiptoe around them initially, maybe laugh at them together when the time is right, roll our eyes later.
Ok – maybe we don’t ignore them.
We tolerate them.
For example, John tries not to notice when I wear my pajamas all day. This doesn’t happen every day. Just the majority of days. I work from home a lot and it’s just convenient. Sometimes, before he comes home from work, I will run up and take my shower and change into jeans and a new shirt. But I think he knows.
He would call it “laziness.” I prefer to call it “being laid back.”
He doesn’t complain about it though. Too much.
He overlooks my moodiness. To most people, on the exterior I look like a sweet, nice person. Soft-spoken, perhaps. But inside? Inside I feel like a raging pitbull, you know, with drool running down its face, some days. He won’t know what days those are though because of my deceptive sweetness and them BAM! he sets me off.
He calls it an “aggressive temper.” I have termed it as being “overly passionate.”
Sometimes with good reason. Sometimes not. Just kinda depends.
Things that were endearing when we first met don’t seem as cute or as gosh, I dunno – quirky - anymore. They just seem weird. Actually, they might even piss us off a lot.
Like, John has this habit of calling me right around 5:30 every night and saying, “What are you thinking about dinner?”
The conversation goes like this.
John: So what are we doing for dinner?
Me: I don’t know. What are we doing for dinner?
John: I asked first.
Me: No hablo Ingles.
I mean, why does the simple fact that I don’t have a penis put me in charge of dinner? We both work. We both have late calls.
But I do it. I make dinner. Whether its because I am better at it or because I have a vagina, I can’t be sure.
He leaves his sports bar wrappers around the house. I leave open cans of Diet Pepsi everywhere, with just a teeny bit left inside. He refuses to complete a task. I refuse to stop nagging him about completing a task.
But the thing is, just like I now recognize those “cute” things as “annoyances”, there are some things I never thought to notice at all.
Like how always takes out the trash. How he always brings in the mail. How he always gets my phone and charges it at night. How he is so much better at being a jackass with the kids than I am. How he handles the bills. Stuff like that.
When I think about it this way, perhaps I am not bringing much to the table actually.
My friend Anne Marie said it best.
“You know, every morning I come down the stairs and there is a dirty pan on the stove. It’s never cleaned. Without fail, it’s there every single day. And I hate it.”
I nodded my head. Right on girlfriend. But then she added something.
“But I think to myself, what if that pan wasn’t there? What if I came down and it was missing? That he wasn’t there? That would be something so much worse for me. So I deal with the pan. Because the absence of that pan is something I couldn’t face.”
I thought about what Anne Marie said a lot the past few days. Not necessarily about cleaning pans. John hates to clean those too. But what it would mean to not have those “quirks” of his that I complain about around.
When you end a relationship with someone – whether it’s your spouse, a family member, a friend - you might feel a certain sense of freedom. Freedom from the weight of those weaknesses that you feel have hurt you, have confined you, have annoyed the shit out of you. But with that freedom comes loss too. A loss you may not realize or appreciate until it’s too late.
That is not to say that goodbyes are not necessary at times. That it’s ok to throw away some pans. Not at anyone, of course. Because that’s being a little TOO “overly passionate.”
Maybe it just means we should be just a little easier on each other. And that’s something I think that needs to be there if we are going to make this work.
P.S. John, if you read this, I will stop wearing my pajamas if I can buy more yoga pants and sweatshirts. They call it activewear. Go figure. I will try to do more than sit at my computer in them.