Sunday, November 7, 2010

Be yourself

Recently, a friend from a discussion forum posted this.

Opera Company of Philadelphia - random act of culture

I was fascinated.  I want to do something like that.  Barring the opportunity to do a "random act of culture" I want to at least sing some cool music.  I've started checking into joining my local symphony chorus.  I'll have to audition.  That's scary!!

All this has led me to think about the past and my relationship with music.  And my husband's relationship with music.

When we were dating and first married, I was a bit of a performer.  I had been in various musical groups in college, and joined a church after college strictly based on the quality of their choir and music program. After I started dating my soon-to-be-ex-husband he invited me to go to church with him and then we got engaged and I joined his church.

I immediately joined the choir at his church.  Every time we moved our church membership, I quickly found my way into the music program.  At first my stbxh would join whatever choir with me.  Then he stopped.  Then he asked/told me to stop.  Stop doing music.  For him.

He wanted me to stop because by then we'd had a handful of kids and he didn't think he could get them all ready to go to church by himself.  I'm not talking about newborns--I would take a break from choir during and after pregnancy.  I'm talking about when they were all little and he would have to get them ready to go without me there, since the choir has to arrive early to rehearse.

So I stopped.

I stopped singing.

Thinking about joining the symphony chorus brought all this back to me, because I've suddenly realized that my stbxh wasn't being himself when he chose to join me in the choir.  He doesn't really like to sing.  He just thought that was what a "good husband" does.  A good husband does what his wife does.

And the corollary to this is that a good wife does what her husband does.

A good wife also does everything her husband wants her to do for him.  No matter what it is.

I don't think he knew at the time that it's acceptable for a husband and wife to have separate interests and do different things sometimes.  And he still doesn't know, because that's the model his parents have chosen to follow.  Just a couple of years ago, his parents had a major, major conflict over this. My mother-in-law decided that at her age (70+), she's too old to accompany my fil when he is sleeping on the ground in a tent.  For a week or more at a time.

Right now, one of the attractions of The Other Woman is that they enjoy doing the same activity.  That's how he met her, and that's how their relationship grew.  For the last several years of our marriage and since our separation, my husband has spent many hours a week in the company of TOW, doing an activity that they both enjoy.

Their sport is something that I am totally not interested in and am physically not capable of doing.

I think that was one of the problems in our marriage.  At first he honestly tried to make himself into who he thought I wanted instead of simply being himself.  Later he stopped doing that.  I believe that he was terribly disappointed that I didn't try to make myself into a different person.  And then I noticed that he was nicer to me if I did try to be that other person, so I made some attempts.  Yes, often those attempts were half-hearted.

In the end, I was exhausted and depressed and not really sure who I was.

All of this is to say, that I'm going to work hard on being myself.  My real self.  The one who likes music and reading and writing.  I'm the woman who likes to cook and is kinda' messy around the house.  I'm distractible, and some days I'm a space cadet.  I love God and I love my kids.  And I want to be myself.  Just me.

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