We stand in the kitchen together, but separate. Quietly ignoring the elephant in the room as we go about our business. I am folding laundry, and he is preparing patties for the grill. Both of us tired; too tired of the game to even attempt to start it anymore. It almost began in the truck on our way home when he asked what was wrong, but my silence gave him the answer that he needed, so we drove the rest of the way listening to the radio. I don’t need to wait six more days to find out what he’s going to do to know whether I intend to stay in this relationship. I already know. I’m not. As I said before, I’m tired.
It was beautiful out today. I threw on my tank top and flip-flops, the husband and I ventured to the city, and I hoped that we would enjoy ourselves. We didn’t. Or should I say, I didn’t. It seemed like any other day we are out together. He stops at the station to grab cigarettes, we pop in a couple more places to pick up odds and ends we can’t get at the grocery store, he asks if I’m hungry and we get a bite to eat, then do grocery shopping and return home. It’s nearly the same every time, and he seldom strays from this routine unless there may be an auction in the vicinity. This is his idea of getting me out of the house and my having fun. This time I told him I wasn’t hungry. This time I sat in the truck and let him do the grocery shopping. I smoked a few cigarettes, and stared out the window while waiting.
We used to actually talk about it. When we would go into town occasionally I would ask him if we could stop, maybe have a few beers and shoot some pool so I could have a little fun and be around people, and an argument would ensue. He would tell me that he didn’t want to go ‘hang’ at the bar all day, offer to drop me off (which he knows I won’t let him, because that would leave me thirty miles from home, and no one in their right mind wants to give me a ride home that far after drinking), I would get upset and ask him why he never wants to do anything with me—but it’s okay for him to have his friends, go fishing, hunting, whatever—he would make me feel guilty for asking by telling me all I ever want to do is party, I would clam up, he would win, we would do nothing, and return home so I could finish doing his laundry, cook his dinner, etc… Do you want to know how often I go out—this woman who wants to do nothing but party? Whenever he takes me. Do you want to know the last time he took me for drinks and a game of pool? I know exactly when it was. Last July when we went riding. Today is April 3rd. When was the last time I was with any of my old friends? January…of LAST YEAR!. Do the math.
We’ve had this argument so many times before that it now seems pointless to bring it up again: I want to go out, listen to some music, be around people I know, do something I enjoy, he throws it up in my face that it’s all I ever want to do, I scream, “Of course it is, because I fucking never get to!” but in the end it matters little; he gets his way, because he’s the one with the job, access to money from a checking account that is in his name only, the driver’s license to get around, and I have none of the above. I’m completely at his mercy. I have no opinion where my having a social life is concerned. I have none, and apparently am not even allowed to bitch about it. I’m angry but what can I do? It’s hard to win an argument with a man who thinks he’s God.
It’s easy most of the time to overlook the fact that I’m really nothing more than a pet bird in a cage. It’s hard to hate him, because other than the fact that he wants and demands my whole life to revolve around him, he is very loving and kind to me. His positive traits are many: He’s hardworking, isn’t abusive in the least, doesn’t cheat, has a great sense of humor, dotes upon me, etc. and well…it’s definitely a perk that he’s very good looking. I suppose any other woman would consider him a catch and themselves lucky to have him—and several have told me that they envy my good fortune and me. The problem is I’m not looking for a trophy-husband to build my self-esteem (if I was, the guy I was engaged to before that everyone referred to as ‘Pretty Boy’ would’ve been enough). It’s also not enough for a man to be faithful, love me, or tolerant of my moods without assaulting me when I piss him off (if it was I would still be with my second husband). No, I want a friend. I want a man that enjoys doing things with me, making me smile, and encourages me to live life to the fullest. I want a man that can get past his own insecurities, and doesn’t feel he needs to cage me to keep me. I want a man who allows me to be exactly who I am.
I’m done pretending to be the frumpy housewife just to put him and his fears about me at ease. Yes, I’m 48 years old. I never lie about my age. I don’t have to. I’m a damn, good looking 48 year old! He acts as if I should I apologize for it or hide myself away because I am? Likewise, why do I have to feign flattery every time someone tells me I am, just because it looks more appropriate, and to do anything else comes across as conceited? Fuck that! It’s not easy to look good. Women work hard at it. We spend a lot of time paint, polishing, and primping our way to perfection. Why the hell shouldn’t we be proud and flaunt it? I’m done doing what looks and sounds appropriate. I challenge all you women to do the same. Just once don’t you want to answer, “I know I am” when someone tells you you’re beautiful, instead of letting out a little giggle, saying “Why, thankyou..tee-hee..” and acting like you’re surprised or something, and didn’t spend a damn hour in front of the mirror to get that way before going out? You know you look great! Why the hell is it such a crime to be beautiful?
I saw Bo Derik on Oprah the other day. She said something that was just so damn smart I almost didn’t think I heard her right. Oprah brought up how strikingly beautiful she was, and began to ask her stupid-ass questions like, “Have you always known you were beautiful? How does it feel to know others envy your beauty?”…or some shit like that. I won’t even begin to try and quote her, because it was really ridiculous. Without skipping a beat, Bo told her of course she knew she was beautiful, but can’t figure out why some people expect her to almost apologize for it and act like she should be grateful and feel fortunate because she was blessed with beauty. That’s just the way she was born, she said. She had no control over her cheekbones or good skin. She could attribute most of it to just having good genes. She said she didn’t think anyone should have to apologize or be thankful for the way they were born. Brilliantly put!
I sit here now on my bed penning this post first on paper, with a half glass of wine in my left hand, and a cigarette burning in the ashtray on the nightstand beside me. My mind is so damn clear right now it scares me. I feel as cocky as I did when I was 17, beautiful, and had my whole life ahead of me. I haven’t felt this way in years. Something is stirring in me. Could it be confidence?
I don’t want to apologize any more or be made to feel bad for wanting to be who I am. I was fortunate to have good genes, and picked up my audacity and love for people from my mother. I believe that’s a good thing. If he has a problem with the fact that people find me so approachable, he shouldn’t have asked out the pretty bartender in the first place, should he? Not like he didn’t see that coming, or anything! I’m tired of watching him walk out the door to meet up with friends to fish, hunt, or spend the day with his dad and brother, while I sit here confined like a bird on it’s perch waiting for his return. I didn’t alter my life and move clear out here to the sticks for this man, just to wind up having less of a life than I did before him. Wasn’t spending our life ‘together’ the whole purpose behind getting married in the first place? I’m entitled to have input on where the money goes, how the bills are paid, and have access to it. This aggravates me more than anything, because sadly I’m the more intelligent, responsible one of us two. I’m tired of being second class.
He informed me while we were doing our running that his best friend (who’s now single) is coming out to spend the night next weekend. Funny, you’d think it would occur to him that maybe he should offer to do something I would really love to do this weekend, knowing he’s going to be spending the next one with his buddy, but obviously it didn’t. He said they intend to tie one on and listen to some tunes (trying, I assume, to give me the impression that ‘we’ would all have fun, but I know they’ll go fishing, leave me here at home, and the fun I’ll be having is probably cooking and cleaning up after them). That’s fine. I’ve got some silver to polish this week, and my antique stove to clean. I need to get into the closets, pull out some pieces of leather I want to get rid of, and wipe them down. There are things I need to tend to before I put them on Craigslist. I might be busy with potential buyers this weekend anyway. Think he’ll even notice?