Choosing Your Battles

Today has been slightly above average, but I have been somewhat plagued by troubling thoughts, mostly inserted by my therapist, by my Dad, by some other people.

I wrote a post about the division of labor in my relationship, called
“I Cooked.  You Clean.”  I’m just warning because this post might not make a lot of sense without reading the other before.  The bottom line in that post was that, for years I expected there to be a division of labor in which I was helped out with household chores, and with DSB, I’ve come to accept that it won’t happen.

But my therapist always brings it up.  My dad brings it up.  They both bring up DSB not contributing his fair share monetarily, as well.  I think my mom would bring it up if she thought it would get her anywhere.  There are times I get frustrated and I bring all of it up to him — the money, the lack of support in doing housework, and each time I get defensiveness from him and really, I get nowhere.

That happened today.  I saw my therapist this morning and she got me primed for it, and then I saw my dad  yesterday and today, and that primed me even more.  By the time I got home at 4:00 p.m. today, from a full day of running errands and having appointments, I was hopping mad and determined to do something about it.  And there we went again, round and round, with nothing being solved and feelings getting hurt.

I’m left to wonder, if completely left to my own devices, would I ever bring it up?  I’m not sure I would, unless there was just really intense frustration.  For the most part, I look at it and pass it over, deeming it as something not worth fighting about.  Choose your battles, right?  This just isn’t a battle I think I can ever win, and one that is so sensitive, that I’d rather not get into it with him.

Is it wrong that I’d rather put love, and I mean real and true love, ahead of petty bullshit like who does the dishes or who mows the lawn or who takes the trash to the road?  I don’t think it is.  I can see where there is a concern about money from my parents’ standpoint, but $700 only stretches so far and there are bills he has to pay, too.  Do I budget my money better, with the weekly allowances I am given?  Well, of course I do.  Have I spent countless years trying to get that right?  Absolutely.

I feel in some ways, like I am coming along as a person…in my happiness level, in wanting to do and try new things, in wanting to better myself, and I am leaving DSB in the dust.  I don’t like that, but I know you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change, and he most definitely does not want to change.  He acknowledges being miserable, but he doesn’t want to do anything about it, and if anyone other than myself were to ask him, he’s doing great.  It’s quite frustrating.

The quitting smoking thing is just a prime example.  I listed all the reasons yesterday why I want to quit, and the real primary one is my health, and it helping me to lose weight and be healthier in the long run.  I want to be around for a long time, to see my nephew grow up and get married and have kids of his own.  I don’t want my mother to outlive me and have to bury her child.  I don’t want that kind of heartache in my family when it is so completely preventable.

DSB doesn’t want to quit smoking because he thinks it will make him gain weight.  I don’t get that.  I am very heavy at this time, and I don’t care if I gain another 15 pounds while quitting, even though I don’t think I will.  The point is to quit and then focus yourself on getting healthy in other ways.  I think he just doesn’t want to put up the work.

I suspect he was smoking inside the house today while I was gone, but maybe not.  I know since I have been home at 4:00pm, that he has only gone outside once and it is not a quarter after 9:00pm.  And he is in bed, and I’m doubting anything will rouse him from there except maybe an urgent need to pee.

He has been using the “e-cigarette” that my mom got for him last time he was in the hospital.  My bloggie friend, Kim, is doing what is called “vaping” and she has already cut her regular cigarette consumption in half.  Maybe DSB will unintentionally quit the real cigs this way, I don’t know.  I know that while it is cold, it is  unlikely he will go outside for much of anything, including any working that he might need to be doing.

Now I’m just blabbing.  No matter your religion, lack of religion, or somewhere in between, please do what you do and send a little kindness and understanding my way, that I can use to deal with DSB while I am on these initial days of my quitting smoking.  I think there is a possibility I am blowing things out of proportion and they might not be that bad.

My stats so far are a bit pathetic, but I woke up and smoked this morning, pushing back my quit date until today.  Here’s a little something, though:

12 hours, 28 minutes and 13 seconds. 31 cigarettes not smoked, saving $3.96. Life saved: 2 hours, 35 minutes.

I’ll take every little bit I can get.  Thanks, as always, for reading/listening.

My Path to a Happier Place

Over the past couple of months, I have been involved in a group therapy curriculum that focuses on achieving goals through gainful activities.  It also emphasizes staying in a routine and building structure.  Much needed stuff to stave off depression and anxiety, or so it turns out.  I was a damn mess not that long ago, and now I feel like anything is possible.

I am keeping my house clean, cooking every single night, socializing, blogging regularly, and my spirits are high.  I don’t feel like I owe this to anything but what I learned in group therapy.  I’ve learned to keep a planner handy, and to schedule myself activities each night for the following day.  I’ve learned that it’s better to stay busy and it keeps you from wallowing.

As I have been doing increasingly better, I also find that I am changing directions, in a way.  I am becoming more accepting of my traditional role in my romantic relationship.  Actually, it would be easier and more succinct to say, I’ve accepted it.

And I don’t think it had sunk in that I had accepted it a long time ago, until I had a comment-conversation with the lovely blogger, Kim.  I don’t know why I didn’t come to it sooner, the term “traditional” to describe what DSB and I are.  In all those months of therapy, I couldn’t have an “ah-ha!” moment?

Turns out free conversation between bloggie friends might have better results than paid therapy, at least sometimes.  Both of my recent therapists told me that “traditional” gender roles just do not work in a relationship.  I call bullshit.

So DSB doesn’t do the dishes, or cook (very often), or clean, or take out the trash.  So what?

He does work out in the shop nearly every day, takes care of the lawn/leaves/snow, and is generally an all-around handyman.  And he kills spiders, mice, snakes, and all matter of creepy-crawly things.  It’s basically called division of labor.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, but I know that he does a lot of things that I just couldn’t or sometimes wouldn’t, do.  And that’s how he feels about housework.

I told DSB today that it was a lot easier to be happy than to be sad or depressed or anxious.  I told him it was almost a choice to just accept what is going on around you.  A choice to be happy.  Another “ah-ha” moment.  Now, I don’t believe for a second that you “choose” to be depressed or anxious or manic, for that matter.  I do believe those are chemical processes.

But what I also believe, is that we can make our own happiness.  By accepting, by loving, by getting it out there.  We can make ourselves feel better, if just for ten minutes, by doing something small.  And pretty soon those ten minutes here or there add up.  I know that, even in the darkest of my depression (which I know will recur, and I will be ready), if I could do one nice thing for myself, I felt, temporarily, a little better.

Unfortunately, the brain often doesn’t have access to these thoughts when actually in the throes of depression.  Which is why I’m writing it all down so I can read later, silly.

I really do feel like I have been saved by a schedule, by acceptance, and by love.  This go-round, I won.  And next time, I’ll be ready.