The Package Deal

Whenever I enter a room I perform an automatic risk assessment for the unlikely event of a monster intrusion; how many closets, doors, and windows are there and how can I optimize my distance from all three?

Twenty-two and still afraid of monsters. I know.

The implications of this are that every time I compulsively rearrange the furniture, I adamantly point to one side of the bed.

“This side feels safer. Can we switch?”

My husband puts up with me.

I’ve made friends here in the city (shockingly) and they all have their distinct personalities, their own quirks and habits that determine the way they interact with the world and influence the course of our relationship. It’s a beautiful thing, being different and being imperfect.

It’s always been easier for me to appreciate the package deal in friends as opposed to myself or my husband. From a distance you can appreciate the aggregate qualities of a personality, better understand that every helpful quality comes inherent with a price and both just lend to the further charm of the person. Sure, people’s shortcomings can seriously inconvenience or hurt us, but it just becomes a wonderful reminder that we all have the privilege and the right to make our own choices at whatever expense and isn’t it simply wonderful to interact with real, messy, and alive people as opposed to staying in our heads, in a world of our own creation where everyone is perfect? Gosh, sounds boring. Sounds safe.

Of course, none of this applies to me or my family. Or at least that’s what I fool myself into thinking.

I spent nineteen years trying to hand pick my own character traits– and was actually quite successful at doing so. My life was one big and muddled DIY project. The problem, one of them at least, was that I had no idea what a perfect person would even look like so my definition changed from day to day and I ran myself into the ground trying to keep up, changing mannerisms as frequently as some girls change clothes.

The other slight problem was that I was miserable and had absolutely no sense of who I was as a person, only who I thought I ought to be in any given moment.

Well, no more. I get to be who I actually am.

Seeing Zoe enter the world with such a strong personality has cleared up much of this for me. We really don’t get to choose who we are. We can only choose how to accommodate our odd needs and tendencies, and make choices to become the best possible version of ourselves.

So I’m a housewife that dislikes cooking and hates laundry and sucks at doing both. I know what you’re thinking: how can anyone possibly suck at putting clothes in a machine and pressing the start button? Suffice it to say that in middle school I was on the white soccer team, but by the time I was done with my laundry I was on the pink team all by myself.

So I don’t have a natural proclivity for these things. But Oliver and I are coming up with a system to simplify my cooking process. And as for the laundry, well, I buck up and do it because that’s my job. I don’t get to choose my idiosyncrasies but I do get to choose to be a grateful, loving wife.

And my fear of unsightly things lurking about at nighttime is lessening. In the meantime Oliver humors me under the condition that I agree to not move around the furniture as often. As the Borg would say, we adapt. I’m just grateful to have a real marriage with a real man that is willing to adapt with me.


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