Monday, April 16, 2012

the things I carried

Following on from my last post, I realise there are actually two things I've been carrying about (assumptions that I have held onto) that are no use to me any more - like furry lipsticks in my handbag (or at least two things that need dealing with)..and they are kind of analogous to each other

 (1) The notion that I could marry again should I want to

(2) The notion that I could return to my country of origin (COO)

Time just ran out on me, when I was busy living day-to-day. I established that this marriage option gave me [a chance at]

a) affirmation of my attractiveness
b) being a matched pair (companionship)
c) assurance for the future.

By analogy the option to go home gave me [a chance at]

a) genuine tangible family life (initially assumed to be provided by my dear husband and any children of that bond)
b) a sense of belonging
c) practical support from relatives in a blood-is-thicker-than-water type of sense (again thought to be supplied via marriage)

Oh my goodness, those two little sublists appear to have covered just about every basic human need apart from food and shelter. Further I deduce from the dependance of a) and c) on marriage that leaving your COO as a couple puts even more emphasis/weight on the marriage bond.
I think Simon knew this it was a quite deliberate running away from his family and setting me apart from mine to improve his power over me. But that's also another story
By contrast to the option of marriage, which is reduced statistically by age, the option to return to my COO is not quite so final. I can obviously go back on holiday (but there again I can take a holiday into marriage with a short no-strings dalliance), I have not been deported from COO. Also I am only held here by parenting responsibilities. My parenting responsibilities will take me through almost to retirement. So what is left that is worth carrying? Obviously food, shelter, gainful employment, friends, health, parenting, writing, art, music and quite a few other generic non-personal things. Is this a life worth living?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Marriage - counting the loss

Marriage is a leap of faith but also a calculated risk. I don't think I was smart enough to get the big picture when I was in my early 20s. Life is too short to procrastinate over this one. You do kind of have to plump for someone, but you do have to be savvy and then quite prepared to stick at it.

I revisited the protect provide post this weekend, having heard a radio program about a piece of research claiming lads mags comments and rapists statements are indistinguishable. I was startled to hear the researchers refer to comments such as "A woman is sweet and needs protecting" as benevolent sexism. Gosh possibly when I was 20 I would have seen it that way, but I have lately become distinctly post-feminist - imagine someone wanting to either protect or provide for me! I don't think I'd know what to do with that. I am left with this legacy though, that my life plan started out with this dogged independence. Anyway there is no changing that.

When I split from Simon I must admit to a feeling that it would be possible to find a new husband, should I want to. I was 39 and still attractive. six years later it is dawning on me that this may no longer be an option. Except if I am able to make extreme compromise. To be with someone a lot less attractive than my ex husband and likely no nicer to be around. Apart from the question of why would I do that? there is a harder question that requires an unflinching answer. What have I lost in this option to be married?

Well in my case it was neither protection nor provision, nor financial security or status, nor even emotional support. (I have gained my freedom from an irrational leader who was also a selfish ineffectual fop).

By and large when I put myself back in my shoes in the heyday of my marriage, the feeling is not more, or less, isolated than I feel now, but about the same. I was overlooked, diminished, controlled and exploited and very, very lonely in my marriage.

The trouble is I am still subject to some of this from my ex-husband via connor - but that's another story

I think what I have lost is

(1) Some form of affirmation - of my attractiveness as a woman, of my ability to attract (and keep) a mate. Probably more critical as you get older,

(2) The facility of functioning as a matched pair- accepting dinner dates, reciprocating with other couples. Lovely non-threatening family parties and dinners.

(3) I have lost some sort (however false) of assurance about the future - that this person promised to, and will be, there for me if things go wrong.