Wednesday, August 11, 2010
You Get What You Need
It's well past my bedtime but for you I write. I am not even sure who "you" these days, save for my dear friends who asked when I would put my fingers to work again. They are working, I want to protest, only instead they are directing emails to that person and the next, rarely moving to form the paragraphs that mean something to me.
I've just started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. [Full Disclosure: I assisted Gilbert with her book signing when Eat Pray Love was out in paperback. Second Full Disclosure: While I was delighted by Gilbert - she's charming, sincere, poised - I was no so taken with her acclaimed book. In fact, I was a fan of her previous writing, the more "masculine" stuff she calls it in Committed.] At any rate, I've begun Committed and already my head is spinning in a million different directions. My house, if you haven't already figured out is on hold. I exist on takeaway or leftovers, move like an exhausted being at the end of the day from front door to dinner table to bed and hit repeat, and now, having just read 1/20 of Gilbert's book, I've become wildly energetic. I love this book and how that in so little time, I've been awakened by words.
It's funny that even though I have a room full of books I still have to go to the library to get what I need. There are at least a hundred books on my shelf that I know I have not read, yet I am certain that one day I will come upon The Book at that particular moment. For now, it's Committed even if it doesn't belong on my shelf, but rather a kind of universal shelf. My mind has been racing in a million different directions lately, and one of the things it's been racing towards is marriage. It was an utter coincidence that Committed became available the day after my father texted (yes, texted) Chris to say that he gave Chris his blessing to ask me to marry him. This after a week-long deliberation on my father's part, I might add.
Chris was, as one might expect, annoyed by the delay. Why, he asked, does your dad have to make this difficult. I feel like I'm being judged, he pleaded. I was also annoyed that when a guy who I professed to loving, and more importantly he professed to loving me finally got to the next step, my dad stalled. In the last few years, in jest or maybe not, he had on at least one occasion reminded that I was no spring chicken. (I'll be 30 in a few months.) I was galled by his display, hurt by this seemingly unnecessary road block. My thoughts of a father who might proclaim as Winona Ryder's character in "How to Make an American Quilt" did, "Take her, she eats too much," were replaced with the image of father who, according to Chris, referred to me as "his most precious treasure." Isn't that weird, he asked.
If I am getting a little uncomfortable for a few of you I apologize. I don't think that's weird. I do, in my sweetest of moments call my father "daddy", whereas my mother is always "mom." I love my father and the effort he put forth in life to honor and protect me. They call it daddy's girl for a reason. In the same way, my dad wanted to be sure that I would always be Chris' girl. The fact that he wasn't hoisting me over to Chris and proclaiming that I eat too much was somehow reassuring. My dad, I think, wanted Chris to work for it.
Now where does this leave us with Committed? I'm still early on in the book, but I feel it's important to examine these seemingly obvious moments, to reconsider them much like we should reconsider marriage. I don't think Gilbert is asking us to give up on it, rather, I think she is asking us to see it from a new perspective.
Posted by M W