Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Further Exploration, part 1

Carrie just sent me her fun response to HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT. In it, she mentions two areas she wishes I'd explored further in the book, and she's not the first to ask. So I thought, "Well, I have a blog...I could explore them there!" So here you have it, part one. If I'm organized, I'll post part 2 tomorrow :)

Her first question is why I had such a deep sense of insecurity, given that my family was (is) happy and intact? She rightly points out that in our society, we're pretty quick to associate longing to be married with some sort of dysfunction, rather than a natural desire.

For me, the quest for romance started out normally enough (after all, 90% of our music, movies, books, and tv shows wouldn't be based on romantic relationships if that wasn't an interest most of us share), but I took it to some dysfunctional levels. As near as I can tell, I lost my grasp on normalcy when I started doubting that my longing to be half of a fabulous marriage was okay. I absorbed the message that somehow, I was supposed to be fine on my own, but I had no idea how to pull this off. The truth is, I didn't want to be fine on my own. I got all muddled trying to reconcile the impossibility of that image with who I was. So I became this weird chick who'd flirt with a guy madly, reassuring him that, "Of course, I don't just want to be married...I'm not one of THOSE girls," and then burst into tears when he gave me a gift certificate for a spa day rather than a diamond on our one-year anniversary. My fundamental problem was that I was too scared to be honest.

I think the "deep abyss" Carrie refers to IS filled by my relationship with God, but not entirely. I think he wants the rest of it to be filled by real, 3D relationships with other people. I don't buy that we're supposed to do life alone; I just don't see much evidence that it works all that well.

The key, for me at least, is that I can't maintain any of these relationships without God's help. On my own, I'm just not all that great a friend, a sister, a daughter, or a wife. At best, I'm a mediocre dog owner. But with God, I've built relationships that are stronger than my mistakes, bouyed by a love that is far bigger than what comes out of my little heart. That is a fun place to live, and I'm glad I wrestled with faith and love and life for long enough to get here.

(I still wrestle with all of these things, mind you, but the nature of the scuffle is different)

So I guess the take home point for today's post is some combination of "Don't blame Trish's parents--it's not their fault!" and "What if feeling like half of something bigger that's yet to come isn't such a bad thing?"

Tomorrow, I'll try to remember if I had any passions or hobbies OTHER than my quest for Mr. Right (besides baton twirling--I don't think Carrie was asking about my Jr. High School years :))


Swishy said...

That totally makes sense to me ... good explanation!

JenKneeBee said...

This was such a great post. After reading great books I always have a bunch of questions I want to ask the author and this was one of the questions I wanted to ask you after finishing your book.

Liza said...

Great post. Thanks for answering one of the questions I had too.

L Sass said...

Sometimes it's harder to view relationships in a healthy way when your parents are happily married.

My mom was 20 when she got married and when I was in college, I REALLY felt the need to meet and marry my college sweetheart so that we could spend our entire 20s together the way my parents did. It worked for them, right?

Finally, I let myself off the hook on that one! Thank goodness.

Krissy said...

I totally relate. My mother always told me I didn't need a man to be whole. She used to wear a t-shirt that said "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." But I WANTED a man in my life. It would have been nice if someone, at some time, had stopped telling me that I didn't need a man (not that this was a bad message per se) and started talking about how to be honest and true to myself in the relationship with a man that I actually wanted.

Jess Riley said...

I love the idea of answering reader questions in your blog!

And I loved your response, too.

Larramie said...

Never blamed your parents, Trish, but did wonder if -- was it Chip of the broken engagement? -- undermined your self-concept and confidence? Thank you for sharing.

ellesappelle said...

Interesting. I never thought of that question when I read the book, but now that Carrie brought it up, that was a great answer.

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