What I Know About Marriage and Homicide


I wrote this for a friend when she got married.  So she’d know what she was in for.  Enjoy!

 

What I Know about Marriage and Homicide

By Lyralen

  1. Being known is great. Except when it’s not.

 

  1. After 26 years, I’m still waiting for her to turn into the suave, handsome, rich doctor or lawyer I was supposed to marry, instead of this completely authentic, loving, neurotic putz who makes me laugh.

 

  1. Loving her so much challenges all my fears. So I try to be friends and keep getting back on the same side. Otherwise I might kill her.

 

  1. I can only do as much intimacy as I can tolerate—so I don’t open my heart all at once. Or I might kill her.

 

  1. It’s better to tell on myself than to confront my partner. Because then she won’t kill me.

 

  1. I have a part of me that sees her as every monster from every nightmare and thinks my survival is threatened. When this happens, it’s time to go in my room and hide. And then try to soothe myself. So I don’t kill her.

 

  1. Marriage is a disappointment factory. I keep creating expectations or recycling old ones, just so I can learn that she’s not here to take care of me. (This makes me want to kill her.)

 

  1. For 28 years, she has told me, over and over again, that we don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that we can go as slow as I need, that she never wants to hurt me (even though she does), and I forget this the minute she says something stupid. (And then I want to kill her.)

 

  1. When the voice that tells me I’m better than her, and she doesn’t deserve me, gets activated, it’s better if I don’t share that with her (so she doesn’t kill me), or believe what that part of me is telling me (so I don’t kill her).

 

  1. Once in a while, we get close, and no one freaks out, and I notice, one moment at a time, the way her hands seeks for me, the way she touches me as if I am the most precious person in the world, and the way I explode with joy (and make inappropriate jokes) at all of it, so grateful to be alive and know what this feels like.

 

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I’m Crazy, You’re Crazy: What are my partner and I doing now?


Yes, I may fall over dead from admitting this.

We are doing a couples spiritual practice.

Here I go.  Falling over.  Bleck.  Urgh.  Uck.

Why, you may ask, do I fall over from admitting this?

BECAUSE I AM WAY TOO COOL TO BE NEW AGE!!!!!  I SWEAR!  I MAKE FUN OF EVERYTHING!  I AM THE QUINTESSENTIAL BAD GIRL!

And I get up every morning and do this thing called a renewal with my partner.

Who, by the way, I love.  I am also too cool to admit how much, but I suspect she knows just from the way she looks at me.

And get this, the renewal practice really helps me.  Not only be closer to her, but to live better.

I AM TOO COOL TO LIVE BETTER!

I’m still going to do it, though, because it makes us both happy.

Here’s the practice–

We get up.  I refrain from commenting on her breath.  We lie there in some kind of stupor with two hot water bottles and several Buckies (pseudo hot water bottles) all on my side of the Sleep Number Bed because I am always cold.  I pull on my Snoopy fleece pajama bottoms.  She puts on her glasses.  Then we lie in a stupor until one of us says, “So, you want to do it?”

We answer four questions:

What can you admit you’re powerless over today?

How can you turn this over to some spiritual deity you don’t believe in for the next 24 hours?  (Okay, that’s not exactly it, but the whole letting go and trusting that you don’t have to know thing…that’s the idea.)

What do you need to bring to the Light?  (We take turns talking about things we’re ashamed of, which is always fun.)  (Sometimes I like to talk about how great I am in this section, because, well, I mostly like to talk about how great I am.)

Do you recognize that whatever/whoever or some wise part of yourself knows all this about you and loves you just as you are?  (Some days, the answer is a flat out no.  This indicates staying in bed for at least 24 hours.)

Then we say metta for ourselves.  Occasionally we actually get up and meditate.

And yes, there have been 12 step programs in my life.  It took a lot for me to admit I wasn’t a deity myself, but eventually I had to do it because LIFE WAS KICKING MY BUTT.

Anyhow, I feel a very uncool tenderness for my partner these days.  The life in her, the struggle, the uncertainty, the goodness…so much goodness.  And my hope that she sees it.

Which does not mean I always refrain from talking about her bad breath.  I mean, since I’m not a deity, I have to have some compensation.

I’m Crazy, You’re Crazy, Let’s Get Married


I’m writing a book with this title. It’s all about getting to know and love your crazy, and then putting out the welcome mat for another person’s crazy, either the one you don’t yet have, or the one who is sleeping next to you, snoring her head off.  Sorry for the tease, but not yet ready to share!

Tongue out

I will say this–we’ve been having some conflict about an impasse issue, and I’ve been trying to take space and contain my irritation and criticism of my partner.  (She says she can hear every word, whether I open my mouth or not.)  But I miss her.  So today I had this full body fit, trying not to hug her, because once that happens all bets are off.  I end up in the bathroom, where I say, “Let’s fist fight.”  So she puts up her palms (standing there in her sports bra and jeans, hair wet and sticking up like Alfalfa), and I baby punch them, screwing up my face as hard as I can like a mad cartoon character.  Then I put up my hands and she baby slaps them until I tell her a slap fight isn’t a fist fight and then she baby punches them, finally doing it right (I do make the rules here, at least about important things).  And then she holds out her pinky, this soft compassionate look on her face, and I hold out mine, but I don’t touch her (still trying to take space).  And I say, “ET phone home.”  She looks at me.  I say, “But I can’t get a connection.”  And then, almost at the same moment, we both take our hands to our ears in fake cell phones and say, “Can you hear me now?”

This is what passes for sanity around here.  Just saying.

What I Know About Marriage and Homicide (For a friend, on her recent nuptials)


1. Being known is great. Except when it’s not.

2. After 26 years, I’m still waiting for her to turn into the suave, handsome, rich doctor or lawyer I was supposed to marry, instead of this completely authentic, loving, neurotic putz who makes me laugh.

3. Loving her so much challenges all my fears. So I try to be friends and keep getting back on the same side. Otherwise I might kill her.

4. I can only do as much intimacy as I can tolerate—so I don’t open my heart all at once. Or I might kill her.

5. It’s better to tell on myself than to confront my partner. Because then she won’t kill me.

6. I have so many parts of me that see her as every monster from every nightmare and think my survival is threatened. When this happens, it’s time to go in my room and hide. And then try to soothe myself. So I don’t kill her.

7. Marriage is a disappointment factory. I keep creating expectations or recycling old ones, just so I can learn that she’s not here to take care of me. (This makes me want to kill her.)

8. For 26 years, she has told me, over and over again, that we don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that we can go as slow as I need, that she never wants to hurt me (even though she does), and I forget this the minute she says something stupid. (And then I want to kill her.)

9. When the voice that tells me I’m better than her, and she doesn’t deserve me, gets activated, it’s better if I don’t share that with her (so she doesn’t kill me), or believe what that part of me is telling me (so I don’t kill her).

10. Once in a while, we get close, and no one freaks out, and I notice, one moment at a time, the way her hands seeks for me, the way she touches me as if I am the most precious person in the world, and the way I explode with joy (and make inappropriate jokes) at all of it, so grateful to be alive and know what this feels like.

A Good a Reason as Any OR Almost 25 Years and Counting


My partner and I have been really getting along.

I am going to say the word now.

Intimacy.

Excuse me while I go writhe on the floor and then puke.  I’m sure I’ll be fine.  Afterward.  In a minute.  Or an hour.  Or something.

This closeness, this utter tenderness, this fierce desire to make sure she’s okay, this affectionate, wry amusement, this moment of knowing, this listening, this seeing.  Her beautiful skin.  Her utter boyness in boy clothes.  The way she wants to be touching me all the time.  This history, these twenty-five years, the way we’ve hurt each other and then mended, or not.  This person who is my family, who holds the knowing of me, who is trying to let me hold the knowing of her.  The way she is so afraid I’ll leave her, stop seeing her, or just disappear.  The way I’m so afraid she’d take advantage if she knew how utterly, utterly I love her.

What I call the above paragraph is as good a reason as any to have a big blowout fight.  Because you can only stand the intimacy word for so long before you want to run away screaming.  (Sometimes I run around the house screaming preemptively, which my partner either tolerates or finds amusing, because she hopes it will prevent the blowout fight.)

By the way, though I’m using the word “you,” meaning, “me,” I would like to state for the record that my partner is every bit as likely to blowout as I am.  Although publishing this blog may tip the scales slightly in favor of me being the exploding firecracker.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Perhaps we can take bets on whether we can make it the next 7 days until the 25 year mark without having the blowout-I’m-more-afraid-of-intimacy-than-you-are fight.

Of course, here’s the thing: if we do have the fight, we’ll have to forgive each other.

And another thing:  we’ve gotten relatively skilled in saying, “Bet we’re fighting because we just can’t handle the closeness.  Let’s  pretend we’re on different planets.  You go in your room and I’ll go in mine and then I’ll call you from my cell and make space sounds in the background to make the other planet thing realistic.”  (That’s not what we actually say, but I may call on it in a pinch.)

I love my partner so much because our relationship is one in which being f-ed up and afraid of intimacy is liveable.  I mean, she sometimes asks me to be more emotionally available, but the fact that I sometimes have to throw in an insult when I’m being all romantic is as much a cause for humor and rolling around laughing as it is for conflict.

When we got married the first time, 15 years ago, before it was legal, I said to her, “You’re a controlling, kvetching, passive-aggressive jerk and I’m going to marry you anyhow.”  This made her very happy.  It took away all the pressure of pretending to be perfect, or my knight in shining armor, or any of that absolute bullshit.

In this reality of neuroses and craziness, of grief and hilarity, that is our life, I am truly happy that we are returning again to the acceptance of all things.  I still believe, as my character Reverend Alex says, that love is a practice.  I think it is a practice of accepting my partner for who she is, of sitting with my own discomfort instead of trying to control her (or making jokes until she makes me stop) when she’s irritating me, of letting her be herself as much as I possibly can.

I think this is love–this fear of intimacy, this need for too much, this knowing the fight may come in the next seven days, this forgiving, over and over again–and the refusal to take shit, when that is, in fact, appropriate, as it has been on both sides at different times…the complete and utter imperfection we bring to each other…this is the real thing.  My partner has always wanted to be the one who saved me, who healed me, who helped me…but the truth is she’s the one who’s driven me crazy, who’s forced me to become better, to look at myself in my deepest darkness, who’s held me when I felt weakest so I could stand up and go save myself again.

I celebrate love as completely imperfect.  I celebrate love as freedom from trying to be good enough.  I celebrate the laughing at neurosis and knowing absolutely it’s never completely going away.  I have learned this with one person above all others.  In and out of couples therapy with Oingo-Boingo, Niminy-Piminy, the Sheepdog, the Poodle, and the Stork-Man (among others), cartooning our way through the careening diagnoses and the how do you feel about that questions.

I celebrate that the fight may come though I don’t want it to, because I am not in control.

I celebrate that I will try not to fight, and I may anyhow.

I celebrate.  This madness.  This daily life.  This one person, who gives me back to myself, sometimes roughly, sometimes with the utmost tenderness.  As I give her to herself.

Metta for us, in our almost 25-year insanity.

I honor the light in her, and in myself.

And I still wish she would let me give her a wedgie every other day or so.  What’s with that boundary?

PS–Don’t forget to bet on whether or not we’ll have the fight.  And who will start it.

PPS-I’m betting we’ll have it, that it won’t really be a blowout, and that she’ll start it.

PPPS-Or maybe I will start it.  If I plan on starting it, does that count?  Or is it throwing the game?

You Mean I Have to Be Honest about MY FEELINGS?


So last night my partner and I get home and she hops right into the shower and then starts oiling her body, giving herself self-massage.

That’s right, she’s in the middle of a ayurvedic cleanse.  She gets up at 6:30am and cooks bean/rice mush.  She eats only bean/rice mush.  She drinks de-tox teas.  She oils her body and takes tablespoons of oil plain.  Her skin looks great and she seems so centered I could scream.  I call the cleanse the WOO.  It’s not really all that out there compared to the shaman, the psychic, the holotropic breathwork and the hypnosis, but if I can get a joke out of anything…well, you have to know I will.

Anyhow, so she comes home and oils herself up and then puts a shirt over her head so she looks like a nun.  A nun with Eastern European heritage.  Who davens.  Then she goes to sleep.

She wakes me up ungodly early, making the mush, which is just not a quiet activity.  I lie in bed, rehearsing my speech to our couples therapist, Sheepdog.  It’s really a rant, starting with, Please sit quietly and listen.  Do not interrupt, reframe, or tell me to stop so my partner can talk because I HAVE THINGS TO SAY.  Included in the rant are all the big reasons I’m angry with my partner.  So halfway into the rant, I not only hate the couples therapist, I also hate my partner.  I am a seething kettle of rage soup.

So my partner comes to say, “Have a nice day,” before she goes to work.

“Yeah.”

Pause.

“You, too,” I say.  Which I obviously don’t mean, since I am homicidal.

Then she makes a half a heart with her hand, which is our thing for “I love you.”

“I’m feeling angry at you right now,” I say.

She’s like, “Why?  Oh, I have to go to work so we can’t talk about it.”

I say, “The short version is that I’m angry at you for x and x.”  (The two big impasse issues in our relationship from my side of the fence.)

She says, “Well, you have every right to be angry about that.”

Which pretty much destroys any possibility of me really picking a fight.

So I say, “I’m also rehearsing my farewell speech to the Sheepdog.”

She says, “Can I hear the beginning?”

I’m like, “If you want me to sit here for more than 30 seconds, don’t interrupt, etc.”

She says, “I’m with you on that.”

Then I said, “I have all these doubts.  I have all these fears.  I am grieving again and you are in there oiling your body and that just pisses me off.  Why can’t you be the one with the grief and I be the one oiling my body?  Especially since I have a right to be mad at you?”

And she says, “I’m doing the meditating and the cleanse and the breathwork to build a foundation for the harder things I have to face.  So maybe soon you will be the one oiling your body.”

I say, “That’s good, because I want you to go get some pain.”

She cracks up.  “Thanks,” she says.

Of course, having now told the truth about being pissed at her for being all WOO, not to mention the big unfinished relationship business, I am not only NOT homicidal any more, I feel close to her.

“You’re still the one I want to tell about feeling homicidal,” I say.

“I appreciate that.  And now I really do have to go to work.”  She makes the heart again and leaves for work, and this time, when I say, “Have a nice day,” I mean it.

But Christ, it’s hard to wake up in a rage and then have to f-ing talk about it.  I mean, how exhausting!  I want to just go back to sleep now.

Of course, the fact that’s she’s all WOO, and able to hear about my homicidal feelings with equanimity makes it easier to tell her.  Even though the equanimity pisses me off.  I know it makes for a better relationship.  But do I have to be crazy all by myself?

I seriously hope her time is coming.  And I get to be all equanimity meditator spiritual person and she gets to suffer not-so-Buddhistly.

Metta for my partner.  She obviously is going to need it.

PS-I also woke up with back pain.  That disappeared in the middle of the above conversation, continuing to motivate me to CHANGE MY LIFE.

Couples Therapy Session #5: HOTHEAD PAISAN or The Sheepdog Bites the Dust


Okay, well, not quite.

But if I have anything to say about it~!

She is driving me CRAZY!

Mind you, all therapists drive me crazy, basically by their very existence, but the Mr. Rogers “Let’s-slow-down-and-look-at-why-you’re-laughing-right-now-did-you-just-inhale-or-exhale-through-your-nose-or-through-your-mouth-what-did-you-mean-when-you-said you-were-scared but wait, I must talk about the dust mote that just passed…and how about if we do an hour and half next time….”

WOULD YOU FINISH A SENTENCE AND BREATHE SO I CAN INTERRUPT YOU?  BECAUSE THIS IS TOO BORING FOR LIFE!

AND NO WAY AM I SUFFERING THROUGH AN EXTRA 30 MINUTES OF THIS!  No amount of meditation will keep me from being reactive for even 2 more seconds!

By the way, I know all about the slowing down so you can look at things, but this is RIDICULOUS.

Plus, this is the third session in which she’s said, “I know you can articulate what happens in your relationship quickly, Lyralen, but why don’t we let your partner talk?”  Then, 30 or 40 minutes later, when I am about to explode (and after I’ve made at least one inappropriate joke and also after the session is over), she says, “Sorry we never got back to you.”

Please, don’t get back to me.  Let me step out.  For a year or so.  I love my partner but if we go any slower we’ll be moving at light speed in reverse and I am going to kill someone in utter frustration probably YOU.

I am thinking of becoming a comic book writer.  Does anyone remember HotHead Paisan Homocidal Lesbian Terrorist?  Yes, of course she’s my hero.  I think she may jump out of my body in couples therapy IF I go back.

And I am not responsible for what she does.