Too Many People Have Loved This Story

  Let me start by saying that after posting this entry a mere two days ago, I am a little bit concerned I'm going to give the impression that I'm a nutcase who can't make up her mind about anything since this is the third entry I've written today for my blog.  But a situation with my back that started a few days ago has gotten progressively worse, and I'm now parked on our couch for the remainder of the afternoon, trying to rest all the muscles in my back that refuse to stop seizing up as well as trying to invite a nap since my sleep has been interrupted repeatedly over the past two nights by the pain.  Last night I even dreamed someone was stabbing my back with little razors.

Good times.

But enough of the oh, woe is me talk, what I'm really trying to say is that I'm here!  On my couch!  And I'm going to write some more on my blog!  And while this is a story from something that happened last week, I feel inspired to share it here because the few people I've told this story to have all responded the same way:  Laughter, followed by, 'That is awesome."

So I wrote this entry around mid-morning April 8th.  If you don't feel like having to review that in detail, the gist of the entry was that I was in the zone of peace and harmony, wanting to buy the world a Coke, at one with the universe - feeling deeply content and awash in light.  About two hours later, my husband comes home for lunch.  By this time there had been about a week of mild tension between us.  This particular kind of tension is familiar territory for us, having to do with his stress from work and my need to distance myself from his stress in order to avoid getting sucked into it.  I have found that when he is going through an especially stressful period, the best thing I can do is not take it on.  This works pretty well even though every once in a while it is hard to be in a, you know, serenely peaceful place only to have my partner come home with a dark cloud over his head.  (And trust me, we each take turns carrying around the dark clouds, so I know this is something he has to deal with from me as well from time to time.)

So he comes home, something wasn't going the way he wanted it to, he started griping and I tried to remain detached.  Then after a brief back and forth about it, he looks at me, cocks his head to one side and says, "What?" You know that what - it is an entire sentence unto itself, a condensed version of "What was I thinking when I thought it was a good idea to get married?" And we begin a "conversation", during which he quickly pushes my button The button.  The one that is big and red and protected with a glass case - the one with a sign that says "Oh no you did-ent." That one.

And let me tell you - I freaked out.  Freaked.  Out.  Got up from the table and stormed upstairs, went to my studio and sat at my desk fuming like a charged bull on steroids.   And then after a few minutes of feeling my blood pulsing through my veins, what did I decide to do to continue the rampage?

Laundry.

And I tried to make it the most angry laundry possible.  Dumping the clothes in the hamper.  Yanking the towels off the racks.  Throwing them into the washing machine.  Slamming the washing machine door so hard it bounced back open (Dang!) I poured the liquid laundry detergent in the cup so passionately it splashed.  And the clothes that had already finished in the dryer?  They didn't just get folded - they got angry folded.

During this time my husband was getting ready to head back to work - having to take a shower after his lunchtime bike ride.  So by the time I was nearly finished with the pile of clothes that got folded in a fit of rage, my husband walks in the laundry room, corners me and - the nerve - apologizes.  Because then he had me, and I had to not only let go of my angry folding, but also of all the ideas swirling around in my mind for some angry dishwashing and angry organizing.  He took that fire that was roaring in me and snuffed it right out.

And then we were OK, and that was that.

The craziest part?  We both knew we needed it - were due for a little bit of a blow-up - but weren't at all interested in making it anything bigger than what it was, which was one of those moments in a marriage when the perfect combination of moods, timing, low blood sugar and dirty clothes come together to create just enough chaos to remind you both you still love each other.  I know it sounds weird, but that's how it tends to work for us.  We might arch our backs, growl and bark at each other, but before too long we're back to discussing what's for dinner.

When I've shared this story over the past week, I've always explained that not two hours before I became the Tasmanian Devil I wrote an entry in which I declared "...there has been a deeper softening in my heart than I have ever felt, and there is a level of stillness in my mind that I am still getting used to." And I meant it - all of that was (and is) true.  And that is what makes the story so compelling, the reason why everyone has said, "That is awesome." It is awesome in the sense that aren't we humans funny creatures?  And isn't kind of funny how silly we can be, how certain circumstances can send us reeling in five different directions at once, and sometimes this isn't an especially pretty or flattering part of our journey?

I was in a place of total bliss, and then I flipped out, and then I had to laugh.  I literally started laughing about it before my husband had walked out the door on the way back to work.  This story is awesome, because these two experiences don't cancel each other out, they are all part of the same crazy whirlwind that is my life.  The fact that they occurred within 120 minutes of each other made it all that much more vivid, that much more poetic and magical and joyful.  Perhaps these are strange words to use about a blow-up between my husband and I, but to see it any other way is to miss the beauty of it, and that's simply not something I'm willing to surrender.  Life is blissful-kooky-happy-nutty, and isn't that just awesome?

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide