Category Archives: Marriage

I Love Ya, Tomorrow

So, #operationVisibleDifference is in full effect. I can’t remember if I explained it already, so I’ll just expain now. My hubby is away, so while he’s gone I want to make a visible difference in my body composition to surprise him. I mentioned this plan in a Facebook group and someone put the number sign in front of it, and that looked right to me, so that’s how I’ll write it from now on. Not being a tweeter (Twitterer? Twit? Twat?), I don’t really understand hashtags. Is there already a tag of #operationVisibleDifference? If there is, is that a problem? 

So the operation is in effect, I’ve had a couple days going to bikram and doing a regular workout every day, and now 3 days of rest (although I probably shouldn’t have taken today off). I lost 3 pounds in 3 days. I ate a little recklessly yesterday, but I don’t think I actually did any damage. I went on an 8 mile hike the day before. I feel really good about this whole idea. It feels good to have a goal and to work towards it. 

Unfortunately, I have not been as proactive about my JavaScript study and job search. But that ends now. And by “now” I mean “tomorrow.” I’ve drawn up a schedule for myself, or more precisely, a list of things to do in order. 



For those who can’t read my handwriting (can I have a show of hands for those who can read it? No one? Oh, ok then), that list is:

Bikram

Breakfast 

Training 

Bird –15 min (I’m trying to get my parakeet to like me. Have any tips? I don’t know what I’m doing)

Shower (damn right I have to schedule that in, otherwise I’ll just be gross all day)

Job search

Anki –1 hr (that’s a flash card program, free for desktop, that I recommend)

Lunch

Room cleaning –1 hr (a sort of side project included in #operationVisibleDifference, because I know he’ll like to see the room looking nice)

Bird –15 min

Headfirst JavaScript (a book I’m working through) –1 hr

Swahili flash cards (also to impress my husband, who is a native speaker) 

Headfirst –1 hr

Movement (a few body weight squats or whatever, I haven’t picked yet, I just want get blood moving again so I don’t fall asleep)

Headfirst –1 hr 

…And repeat the last two until it’s dinner time.

This will be hard for me, as I am very lazy. I will want to stop and sleep for hours. Often I’m too tired after my workouts, such that even taking a shower seems insurmountably daunting. But that shit ain’t gonna fly no more. I’m becoming a new person. I kind of need your help though, because if I don’t put this out on my blog, I will lose steam and stop trying, take a nap. I need to imagine that there is someone out there who has read this and who is really hoping I pull through tomorrow, that I executed my plan flawlessly and who will be disappoint if I fail. Then once I’ve done it with your help, proving I can do it, maybe I can eventually do it alone.

In other news, I took a before pic! 



A bit sunburnt from my 8 mile hike.

And here is one compared to a month ago. Although my weight is technically higher in the photo on the right, I think I actually look visibly better.



And, because those are so ugly, here are some pictures I feel good about





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While the Cat is Away…

…The mouse will try super hard to make progress to impress the cat when he returns!

Sad news everyone: people die. I’ve gone a long time without having to really think about that, except for when a beloved pet would pass, and honestly I’m still not really thinking about it because it freaks me out and there is no comfort. But I ought to be thinking about it. For one thing, a gentle, poetic fellow I slightly knew has been murdered senselessly on the street, and for another, my husband’s grandfather appears to be on the brink. I feel like a cold bitch because I’m not as upset about either thing as I feel I should be. It all feels far away and incomprehensible. I’m worried about my husband and how he feels, but I don’t seem to emotionally understand that I’ve lost the chance to meet one of the people who raised him and cared for him and who is important to him. I feel I should be more affected.

But since I’m not, I won’t bother you with it. What you do need to know is that my husband left for Kenya today, to be with his family. He has a one way ticket. He will be coming back, but we have no idea when. I’d hazard a guess that he won’t come back in less than a month, which means…

…I have some time to be a surprise when he gets back! I think I might be able to make a visible difference in my body in that time, what do you think? I’m going to try. He’s observant, so if I manage it, I think he will notice. It’s an idea I came up with when I was wondering how best to support my husband in this difficult time. I decided that what I can do is make his return to the states, whenever it happens, as joyful as possible by developing good habits while he’s away. I also want to study a little Swahili.

A before pic of the body in the room

So now I’m going to set some goals.

  1. Lose 2 lbs a week. In a month I should be at 243 lbs
  2. Be consistent going to Bikram every weekday morning
  3. Go to the gym or personal training 5 times a week (because of the bet) and lift heavier weights by the end of the month
  4. Learn how to keep our room clean and organized. He’s a tidy sort, but somehow my disorderly nature wins when it comes to how the room looks
  5. Practice Swahili flashcards every day
  6. Maybe learn to do something pretty with my hair?

If he’s gone more than a month, I’ll miss him for longer, but I’ll be glad of the chance to make even more difference. I know it’s not healthy, but sometimes I feel like I’m not a good enough wife. Well, if that’s really how I feel, this is a chance to do something about it!

What would you do if you had a month to set up a surprise for someone you love/want to impress?

Post workout

January 7

I just finished day 2 on my “get running” app on a treadmill at planet fitness. I just want to write down how I’m feeling so I don’t forget how good it feels.

I feel warm. My legs feel especially warm, and they remember motion the same way my body used to remember the waves on the night after a day at the beach. My breath feels easy and clear. My heart feels alive. I feel fully awake for the first time today. My head feels a bit light, but not unpleasantly so.

Most of all, I feel content, again for the first time today. I feel “in the moment,” in my body, but not in the noisy gym where I’m waiting for my husband to finish up. I’m listening to my current favorite piece, (link here).

I’m beginning to feel the cold. It’s not unpleasant. It moves over me in chills, seemingly synced to the music.

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January 8

I tried to do my another day of Get Running today, but I think I needed a break from it. I made it through 7 of the 8 one minute runs. Still felt good, just not as good as yesterday.

My goal is to love running. So many people do, including people who never thought they could. It seems at least possible that if I’m careful, patient and positive, I might cultivate a love of running too. Then I could run with my husband, and we would have something that we would enjoy doing together outside of the house.

Part of the reason why I think it’s possible to love running is because I’ve been listening to the Half Size Me podcast, and there are some stories of people who have lost impressive amounts of weight, and discovered that they love running. If they can do it, why shouldn’t I give it a shot?

That podcast (I may have mentioned it in 2014, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess no one remembers me doing so) is doing a lot to keep my spirits up. The host/creator/master mind behind it lost 170 lbs–and maintained the loss for 4 years this month–herself, and seems to have made it her mission to spread the gospel of possibilities. She does it through interviews with other awesome losers.

I love it because I need inspiration as much as anyone, but I find the motivational poster/quote with picture medium hard to swallow. If it has to be dressed up that much, how can I be sure it’s really deep and not just glamorous? But I find my own incidental inspirational quotes in the podcast, and I write them down if I can (often I’m driving).

Here are four of my favorites. Sadly, I don’t have any idea which episodes these come from, I’ve been binge listening (lol) for over a week.

I decide what happens to my body

 

How would I treat myself, how would I act, if I loved myself? What would I say when I talk to myself?

 

I choose to run happy!

 

You have to walk each step to be ready for the next one.

I could probably write a post about what each of these mean to me, and maybe I should, but for now I’ll let you make of them what you will.

In other news, I’m trying to be more positive…. actually, I guess the more positive way to say that is I have decided to BE more positive. There is no try, and all that. We’ll see.

It’s not easy, though I seem to have others fooled. I can still feel the darkness of how I am if I’m not careful, just under the surface of positive thoughts. But that’s ok, I just have to believe that the positive will seep through into the core of my being.

________________________

For long-term positivity and appreciation of all that is good in my life, I am stealing an idea that I read about a few days ago on the Damn girl, that’s a lot of fattitude blog. The good jar. In my case, it’s the good box, because I have a love of boxes that borders on the ridiculous, so I had a beautiful box I felt would be perfect. It’s also A great way to use the tiny pad of lovely peacock paper I got years ago. Nothing ever seemed right to write on it until now. It’s just a shame my handwriting is such garbage.

For the whole year, I will write down whenever something especially good happens to me. I want to fill it, so I am also including good decision. At the end of the year, I can look back on my year of goodness and be glad I kept track. The trick will be to not forget. I often forget things. I’ll keep it visible, even in the way, as much as possible.

In my last post I forgot to mention how I chose to mark the dawn of the new year.

Very literal. I watched the sun rise. It was lovely… a little cold. I noticed that the frost didn’t form until the sun was rising, and I wondered about that. If you know anything regarding frost, let me know. It’s hilly where I live, so it was light for a while before the sun managed to clear the hill.

That’s all for now, I think.

 

New year, new scale

My special Lose it! scale came today! It measures body fat and hydration and syncs to my phone via Bluetooth. So far, I’m super excited about it. I know many people consider it psychologically unhealthy, but for the past week I’ve been weighing myself nearly daily. 



I’m excited because I feel that tracking these descriptions of my body will help me control my health and move in a positive direction. 

Today, I started listening to an episode of Half-size Me, a podcast about weight loss and maintenance. It was this episode 



and the interviewee said something that stuck with me, “How would I treat myself, how would I act, if I loved myself? What would I say when I talk to myself?”

That may seem simple, but it gave me an idea. This may sound horrible, but I’m going to try pretending to love myself. Yeah, not as good as actually loving myself, but I think it’s actually a step on that path. Even if I can’t make myself feel something I don’t feel, I can make myself treat myself differently, and I can try to keep a better leash on my thoughts.

A month or two ago, I was at a very low point. I had disappointed my husband again. We were driving home, and when we got there we just sat in the car together, silently. I was dry eyed. My husband asked me what I was thinking.

“Nothing.”

He insisted.

“Please I don’t want to tell you.” I can’t tell him, that would be so manipulative, abusive even. You melodramatic bitch. Keep your mouth shut.

But he never gives up. I couldn’t think of a lie, so I started crying as I told him “I was thinking how much better off you’d be if I killed myself.” 

I explained how he’d be sad for a while, but he’s tough enough, he’d get over it. Then he could marry someone better. I was thinking of the kind of woman I’d want for him. I was wondering if I had the strength and courage to kill myself for his sake. And I didn’t cry until I was forced to tell him. The idea didn’t even seem sad to me. That’s how deep my self loathing runs. 

Obviously he objected and made me feel better, as I knew he would if I told him. He told me that he needs me. That’s why I felt I couldn’t tell him. As long as the idea stayed in my head, it was noble, but as soon as the words left my lips, it became self-serving melodrama designed to change his disappointment to concern.

To be clear, I’m not able to kill myself. Not at all. 

So I decided that the better idea was to become the woman I want to be, the woman my husband deserves. To live a better life. I only just made a proper start of it recently, but it seemed to have flipped a switch in me. Changed my perspective.

So, that happened. And, awkward and awful as it was, it seems to have been for the best. 

Family

I don’t even really know where to start, and for some reason I am not feeling like a very inspired writer today. Every word is work.

For those who missed it before, it’s important to note that my husband is from Kenya. That’s where all his family lives. So I’ve never met my mother in law.

That changes next week. My Mother in law and older Brother in Law are coming for my husband’s graduation ceremony! I’m very excited to meet them, but also super nervous.

I will have to be more together than I usually bother being…. all the time…. for two whole weeks. I think I have to get rid of most of my pants, because they are full of holes, or don’t fit. I also want to have more than two functional bras, so I don’t have to do laundry super often. So I need to go shopping, which is dreadful. I need to learn how to stay awake during the day. My husband caught me napping on the sofa a couple days ago, and actually asked me if I was going to do that with his family around, and explained that that “would be so embarrassing.” Now I’m particularly worried about that. I really like to sleep, and it’s sometimes hard to stop myself.

But I’m also excited, like I said. I’m meeting them years earlier than I expected I would get to. I really want to make a positive impression on the woman who raised such a strong willed, clear headed, incredible husband for me. I tried talking to his mother on the phone once, but I couldn’t really understand what she was saying, between her accent and the poor connection, and most of what I did catch, if I recall correctly, seemed centered around God, and being effectively agnostic, I had no idea how to respond. What, for example, is the correct response to “God bless you,” when you haven’t even sneezed? Is it just “thank you” or “God bless you too” or something completely different? I think she said that on the phone (it was years ago now, so my memory is pretty fuzzy), and know I felt extremely lost for words.

I’m looking forward to showing them around the San Francisco Bay Area, a place I love. I think they will really enjoy it too. It’s hard to know what things they might want to do, since my husband insists that we not plan ahead. Men are mysterious creatures. He thinks everything will sort itself out and be great. I know that unless we have some options ready for them to choose from, their whole two weeks will go by and they may not get to see everything they might want to see, which I think would be really sad.

There is one major dark cloud though, and that is my sister’s attitude. She and my husband don’t really get on well. For example, his first experience of her was overhearing a phone call she made to me when she found out I was dating a Kenyan. Not knowing that he could actually hear her quite well, she went on and on about AIDs testing, and how there are a lot of AIDs cases in “that part of the world.” Once my sister starts talking, it’s really hard to get her to stop, and often if you try to stop her, she just hammers the point more, thinking you don’t get how important it is. So that happened. He was not favorably impressed.

She has issues with him which I am not completely clear on, but which may include 1. she once had a boyfreind come home from Kenya talking about how he fell in love with a girl there (not Michael’s fault), 2. she thinks my father likes him better than he likes her because “he always wanted a son” (not Michael’s fault, and not true), 3. she thinks my husband is “an emotionless robot” (that might be his fault, he can come off that way sometimes. He’s just very understated). I’m pretty sure she had decided not to like him before she ever met him or heard much about him. Also, I’m married and she isn’t, despite her being 9.5 years older than me. Add to this that she is bipolar and occasionally suffers from her own paranoid interpretations of situations, and the picture gets pretty volatile.

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Now picture a room. Make it dusty and disused. It’s a bedroom. A bedroom whose occupant moved out soon after moving in. A bedroom with stuff in it, some hers, some mine, some my mother’s. My sister does not live in that room, and hated it so much that she moved in with her boyfriend to get away from it. Does she love this room? No. Does she spend time in this room? Never.

Now picture a woman, traveling across the world, her very first plane ride, excited to see her son graduate from a top university. What would you give her to sleep on, a sofa, or the unused bed? Would you put her in the living room, or in a bedroom?

My sister is convinced that my mother in law will go through her things and laugh at her. So my sister wanted to move all “her” stuff out. It turns out some of the stuff she wanted to move out and take with her to her place in San Francisco were some boxes of family photographs. Yes, some of the pictures are of her friends. But other pictures are of my mother’s childhood, or pictures that my mother wants to keep from when my sister was an infant…. My sister already sorted out all the pictures enough so that there are none of me, but she wants the pictures of our dead grandmother, who I’m not sure she even met. Everyone knows that anything that goes to San Francisco is unlikely to ever come back. The long and short of it is that my sister spoiled part of mother’s day by trying to take these pictures away. My mother successfully convinced her it would be ok just to put them in the closet. Really though, why would anyone rifle through unlabeled, unexplained photos of strangers? That sounds really boring.

While I’m on the subject of mother’s day, I need to complain about something else my sister did. She ignored me. She was barely more subtle about it than a kindergartener would have been. It was just me and her in the room. I look up at her, gesturing with a head of lettuce, “how much romaine do you think we need?” Nothing. She looked away and pretended I hadn’t said anything. When I passed her in the kitchen, all she did was raise one eyebrow in apparent disgust. I’m annoyed, but not especially mad. It was hurtful, but ultimately not surprising. She is 35, but often seems to forget and act like a 5 year old. Whatever. I’m over it….

In fairness, she was inconsistent about ignoring me. When she felt like it, or when my parents were around, she acted almost like nothing was wrong. And she made a pretty great lasagna.

So what would you do? Put the mother of the man you love into an unused bedroom? Or do you think it’s reasonable for my sister to make a big fuss?

My sister feels righteous about her moods. She thinks that because she is bipolar, she has a right to be moody. And maybe she does. But she broadcasts her every mood a bit too much, and seems to make no effort to fight against the paranoia. Every time she has a bad thought, she seems to just accept it as a real truth. She assumes the worst, and lets everyone know how terrible she feels they are being towards her. Maybe that’s her right. But it makes it uncomfortable to spend time with her, and the whole family feels it. My husband avoids her, my parents find her tiring to be with, and I’m a little bit scared of her.

Once, back in 2013, we were actually pretty close, or getting close. We did things together. We had good times. It was nice. But then I ruined it. All I wanted to do was help her. I told her that she might consider trying to reign in at least the display of her moods a little bit. I thought that if she just understood how her volatility cuts her off from the family, she might be able to repair relationships a bit, and be closer with the people who love her. But she took it as an attack, thought that I wasn’t respecting her condition enough, and that I just didn’t understand her the way she thought I should. She actually told me that it had been a mistake to confide in someone so young, and that it was a mistake to think I could ever understand. Since then she has barely spoken to me, and I’ve been too afraid to spend time alone with her.

Sorry, this post was all over the place. Here are some flowers from my garden. I find these ones especially exciting, particularly the love in a mist, which is my favorite.

Let’s Do the Time Warp!

So back in 2012, right as I was about to get married, I did a tiny bit of blogging. Just 3 posts, to be exact. I was calling myself bibmke (two Swahili words for wife, smooshed together). 

I’m just going to copy paste those 3 posts here, as a way of keeping them available to myself, later. I honestly barely remember some of this stuff. I was very dramatic…. I think I may have mellowed out in the past 3 years. If you’ve got a bit of time to kill, feel free to read and comment. I’d be interested to know what you think of past me in comparison with present me.

May 2, 2012

I only get one of you

Hello. I’m a 22 year old bipolar girl on the brink of marriage. Sometimes I can’t even fathom how lucky I am to be marrying such an all-around incredible guy… But I’m not here to brag about him. I’m here to shame myself into a healthy lifestyle.

I need to lose weight. I want to lose weight… But somehow I continue to sabotage myself every single day. I can always think of some excuse why I need or deserve to have unhealthy food. Sometimes I even eat more than I want. On at least two occasions I force-fed myself cupcakes, even past the point of enjoying them and well into the point of feeling sick. I rationalized that I was building bad associations with cupcakes. I went right back the next day. And hated it. And hated myself. I still don’t really know why I did it. My fiancé sure as shit didn’t understand–he doesn’t even like most sugary American garbage “food.” He can’t wrap his head around the idea that I would repeatedly do something I know is destructive to my goals. If we argue, it’s about that. He wants to help me and see me succeed and I want to fart around on the Internet, paint my nails, paint pictures and do random artsy crafts, all while guzzling chocolate, if possible.

Just to be clear, he genuinely sees me as beautiful the way I am, so don’t assume he’s trying to change me for any selfish reasons. My mother told him that she had pregnancy diabetes, and told him that I might be at risk of developing diabetes if I continue the way I’ve been headed. Also, I have PCOS, which apparently is more likely to make me barren if I’m overweight. He wants to make sure I’m healthy and that I live as long and full a life as possible. I only get one of him; he only gets one of me.

So my new plan is to try and mimic the Amazing Diet Girl and blog myself into health.

May 3, 2012

Sometimes the best intentions get the WORST results

My fiance, (henceforth I shall call him J-Boo) is an amazing person. Sadly, he’s so damn private about everything that his profile picture–the only picture he posted– picture on facebook is a cat, so I don’t plan to mention to him that I’ve started blogging. He has the kindest heart imaginable, he’s patient, faithful, forgiving, smart, hard-working and well-intentioned. He wants so much to help me become healthy! But he really struggles with certain things. He is so disciplined that my moodiness, occasional laziness and inconsistent resolve remain well beyond his comprehension.

From his perspective, he can’t stand by and let someone he loves destroy herself. He tries so hard to help me and guide me that I start reacting to him as though I were his 6 year old daughter: if I can convince him that I can eat chocolate/not exercise/whatever then it’s alright. All I need is permission from him, and ultimately everything will turn out fine, because he’s guiding me and doing all that hard “forethought” stuff. So, instead of focusing on moving forward, I find myself focusing on convincing him that I need/deserve whatever unhealthy thing I happen to want. Obviously, he’s never convinced, because, from his point of view, there is no way that feeling moody justifies making blatantly stupid decisions. The right/healthy thing to do is always the same, even if it’s hard, even if I’m grumpy. He’s very strong and focused. I’m…. pretty much spoiled as hell and pitifully moody. We won’t ever see eye-to-eye on this, but somehow we need to stop having it be an issue.

And I know the problem is me. I wish so much that the problem could be him, but it won’t ever be. But the more he gets involved, the easier it is to pretend it is his fault. I use him as an excuse. I do something stupid for the hundredth time, he asks what I did all day and I tell him. Then, somehow, he’s not thrilled that I’ve set myself back yet again, and the next day I find myself thinking “he’s so judgmental. If he would just loosen up I could recover emotionally and stop overeating!”

Yeah, right.

A couple times I’ve succeeded in convincing him to stop interfering with my eating habits, but then, the very instant he said “do what you want,” I couldn’t stand the thought that he might be “giving up” on me. I end up asking him for help again, and then hating him for it.

The fact is I’ll use anything as an excuse, and I know it. J-Boo is forever blameless, poor dear.

I just needed to get that out in words so I could behold all the horror that is my downfall. If I keep this shit up, I could hurt my relationship with the most wonderful man imaginable AND die of obesity in a few years.

“OK self, as of this moment, no more bullshit

The third post was never published, and I can’t figure out the date for it. I also appear not to have finished it, so it ends somewhat mysteriously.

B is for Bipolar

Sorry about the silence, finals week was bad for me. Bad in almost every way.

On Wednesday I was told that I had a D on my group presentation. I got watery-eyed and the teacher felt bad enough to give me a hug, but we both knew that I had done quite poorly in this instance, so I made no effort to change the grade. I went to the school cafe and ate (horrifyingly enough) a chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate cheese muffin and washed it down with white chocolate mocha, extra extra whip. Then I fell asleep…. Still in the cafe. I overslept and was late to pick up my Boo. On the way to get him I got a doughnut and an ice cream bar. That is when things started getting worse.

I hadn’t been taking my pills (bipolar medication) because I hadn’t put the pills in the boxes for the week yet. I hate handling pills, the sound of the pills in their little bottles makes me want to vomit. I was also menstruating and recovering from a UTI.  All in all, I was in pretty much the worse mood I could be in, and poor, poor J-Boo didn’t know a monster storm was brewing in the driver’s seat.Also, I felt gross because of allergies.

He asked me how my day was, and how I did on the final I’d had that morning. I said something like “I don’t know boo, maybe fine” but he kept pressing me for a more certain answer (he can usually guess what his score was within a few percentage points). I hit the gas then the breaks (thank god it was an empty road) “I don’t know boo, that’s why I said Maybe!” I became quiet and grumpy behind the wheel.

We were low on gas, so I pulled into a gas station. Then we realized that neither of us had much cash and we would need to check our accounts before buying gas. I told him about the D, and began to sob. He hates being conspicuous. He wanted to go home. I wanted to cry a bit before trying to drive (he can’t drive yet). Finally he convinced me to go home. There was no free spot in the lot closest to my dorm room. My reaction to the lack of parking space was…. crazy.

I screamed and tore at my face (by the next day most of the marks were gone). I screamed. I screamed the kind of scream that is only forgivable when it comes from small children or people in agony. I screamed until I gave myself a headache.

“It’s OK Trina. Look, they’re leaving. We can park there. Please calm down.” By the time I had calmed down enough to take my foot off the breaks, the spot he’d seen was gone. I had to drive around. There were skateboarders in my way.

Skateboarders are never a welcome sight, but never before had I hated them quite so much. This was a parking lot, not a playground. Rage burned inside me. I stacked my hands on the horn and pressed with all my weight, arms locked, leaning forward. I honked at them for at least 15 seconds, then put my foot on the gas and rushed at them. They were laughing at me. I could see it on their stupid blond faces. I didn’t hit them, and apparently I didn’t even scare them.

“They were laughing at me! Did you see them LAUGHING at me?! They were laughing!

“They weren’t laughing at you, they were laughing at themselves because they knew they were being stupid.”

I’m still pretty sure they were laughing at me.

Eventually we got to my room, where he went to my computer. I curled up on my bed. I accused him of ignoring me, but it turned out he was just checking to see if he could view my grades for that course. He got into bed with me and was very gentle, petting my head and absorbing my tears.

The next day I had another tantrum because he said he wanted to stay with his host family in Santa Rosa (North of SF bay) for “most of June”  so that he could spend time with his friends, instead of coming straight home to with me to Richmond (one hour away, East bay). This time instead of screaming, I just became silent and teary, and I threw the key card at him instead of handing it to him nicely.Then I left him alone while I went to watch a musical written by the friend of a friend of a friend of mine.

When I came home, refreshed by the music and the triviality, I apologized for my behavior and told him I knew I had been wrong. But he was still troubled. He started saying how we need to work some things out before we get married. This upset the tentative emotional balance that had been restored by the musical. I needed him to understand how I was feeling, how off everything was. I muttered something about drowning myself in a toilet. I’m not sure what he made of that. He still wouldn’t touch me when I tried to snuggle up to him. So I backed off.

Then an idea struck me. “This is a terrible idea,” I thought. “There is no possible benefit and you’ll just look extra crazy. It won’t be fun. Afterwards, he’ll either be worried or mad.

…..What was that idea? No one will ever know.

Married Life, Part 2; Daily Realities

One of the coolest wedding gifts we got

If you read part 1, you may be wondering how our different lives affect the way we exist as a married couple. If you didn’t read part one, the long and short of it is: he’s from Kenya and used to working hard, I’m from California and I’m used to being sheltered. I sound like kind of a loser in these posts, but it’s important to remember that it’s not really in my nature to see or say nice things about myself. It’s possible that I’m not so terrible.

You’d think I’d have an “advantage” of some kind, since I’m living in my place of birth. But he’s better prepared for life in America (or anywhere else) than I am, because he is a-ok with struggling and working hard. It turns out that that’s something everyone has to get used to. I’m trying to learn that from him. I’m improving… I think. For example, before I married, I was often to lazy/depressive to shower, but now I shower nearly daily, even if I am feeling gloomy and lazy. That might sound like a tiny thing, but it has ripple effects on other aspects of life, such as willingness to leave the house and overall self esteem–believing that I’m worth the water.

He is also encouraging me to be more confident. He sees me doing nothing. He asks why. I tell him I’m afraid of such-and-such. He can’t wrap his head around that. He believes that I should put myself out there and act, even if I do the wrong thing.

On a totally different note, I want to tell you the saddest part about being married to an African. I have to watch him learn about racism. Where he grew up, yes there was tribalism, but everyone looked pretty similar, so it was harder to discriminate. Here, he stands out, even among Black Americans. A child spat on him. A policeman “randomly” searched his backpack. Etc.

He keeps asking me, as though I could have an answer, but I never do. I never know why so many police are racist, or how to deal with it. I never know why so many people convince themselves that having a black president makes this a “post racial” society, when it clearly isn’t. Worst of all, I don’t know how, when we have kids, we will explain to our kids that some people will be cruel to them. And I don’t know how we will deal with it if/when we find our child has been discriminated against. I know my husband will go off the rails, and could possibly do anything, and that scares me a bit.

If anyone reads this who has grown up experiencing and learning about racism from that perspective, I would really appreciate knowing how your parents dealt with it, or how you deal with it as a parent. I’m trying to collect answers to that, in preparation for the future.

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To take us away from that topic, I’m going to tell you that my husband is silly. Most people don’t know that. My sister thinks he’s an emotionless robot. But I see a side of him that he keeps pretty private. He likes to tease me. Sometimes I like it (like when he hides my phone), sometimes I don’t (like when he starts discussing the reality of death, right before bed). It’s hard to describe the way in which he’s silly…. I’m realizing that I may not be able to come up with specific examples that really make it clear. Sometimes, when I have to pee in the morning, he grabs me and I have to wrestle to escape in time! This is, naturally a risky move on his part, and I’m sure he will eventually take it too far, But I enjoy it because it’s fun and cuddly. He has the sweetest giggle and a bright smile.

Almost every morning, he has me drive him (he has no license, as he’s always too busy to think about getting one) to Starbucks, where he stays and studies until 10 pm. He’s studying to take the MCAT. So I don’t see much of him in the day. Most nights he studies at home, and I rarely interrupt him, because I want him to achieve his goals. I’m pretty good at keeping myself entertained, with audiobooks and art and school work and blogging.

I made him promise not to read my blog unless I give him permission to read a certain post. I have complete trust that he will respect that.

It’s funny that in writing this, I made our differences such a big deal. It never felt like a big deal (though that could be because I never once dated someone with a background similar to mine). Some how, our differences fit together.

Married Life part 1; Background info

So RealYvonne  suggested I write about my interracial/intercultural marriage. This will be hard for me, because I have too much to say. I have a tendency to rhapsodize about my husband, and if I’m not careful, this will just come out as an advertisement for a man you can’t have.

Michael and I are very different. We are opposites, in balance, creating a whole. Well, nearly opposites, and usually in balance.

We have very different backgrounds. I grew up very sheltered, attending a sweet little Waldorf School, and loving it to pieces for the art and community it provided. He grew up in a small village in Kenya, where his school was sometimes held outside for lack of a classroom. He has a difficult time understanding what the big deal about bullying is in America, because he is used to a whole different level. I actively loved every other student in my high school class. He can slaughter a chicken. I get upset about roadkill.

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The biggest difference is in our upbringings. He was brought up to work hard to get what he wants. I was brought up to believe that everyone is special, especially me, and that I was naturally talented in some areas, and so wouldn’t need to work too hard at those, and disadvantaged in other areas, and so didn’t need to work too hard (because it’s everyone else’s job to accommodate the people with learning disabilities). As a result, he is working hard and making something of himself, while I am still coming to terms with the fact that I have to work at all. My mother was most worried about keeping me happy and safe. I never learned to struggle. My husband was raised to be independent and strong.

I personally think his life would be a great movie.

There was a time when it was doubtful that he could afford to go to college at all. My husband certainly could never have afforded to come to the US if he hadn’t chosen to volunteer his time at a clinic near his home. But when he volunteered, he had no idea how it would turn out. He just wanted to help. He translated for American doctors and nurses, and helped out every way he could. He was very proactive in looking for ways to help. And the Americans noticed how bright and hard-working he was.  Two doctors and a nurse mentioned that they would like to help him come to the United States for college. He got these women in touch with each other, and they made it happen! The nurse built a room for him in her garage, and the doctor payed for his community college tuition and spending money (much of which he actually sent home to his family).

Feast your eyes on my beloved, as I won’t be posting any more pictures of him. He’s very private and wouldn’t want even this one to be up, but I can’t resist!

We met through a friend, and he was pretty quick to decide he was interested in me. I spent a fair amount of time being an idiot and not being interested in him. Partly, I put off dating him because he had made it clear that he wanted his first girlfriend to become his wife, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to marry yet. Partly, I was just interested in someone else. Long, dumb story short, he wore me down and I agreed to date him. A few months in, we decided to get married. By then, I realized what a catch I had, and like I said, I knew when I started dating him that marriage was the likely outcome. All together, the time it took from introduction to wedding was just barely over a year.

Soon he was transferring from community college to Cal Berkeley, one of the top schools in the world. I was employed at my father’s start up, doing graphic design and video work. Since we were (and still are) living at my parents’ house, my earnings were spent on my binge eating, books and school supplies for him, and a lot was sent to his family in Kenya, especially to help with his little brother’s college tuition. We didn’t manage to save any money. He’s finished all his classes now, and is going to graduate in May. My parents are going to pay for his mother’s airplane ticket, provided she is able to get a visa to visit. Michael’s older brother is trying to come up with money for a ticket of his own.

Right now Michael is devoting all his attention to studying for the MCAT. I’m pretty confident he’ll hit it out of the park, given how hard he’s working. After that, med school. He plans to become a neurosurgeon.

Meanwhile, I’ve lost my job (through no fault of my own), and as mentioned above, we have no savings. Lucky thing we also have no bills and just eat the groceries my parents buy. It’s embarrassing to admit that we are basically leeches for the time being. I’m petrified by the prospect of looking for work. I feel unqualified for anything. I’m taking a couple classes, one on motion graphics, the other is intro to web design. I’m hoping to be more employable by the end of those classes.

I can shoot video, edit video and create motion graphic animations. I can do graphic design and illustration. I’m also a pretty good singer. What I struggle with is fear. I am afraid to put myself out there and get rejected. I’m scared of not getting a job, but I’m also scared of getting a job and not being good enough.

I’ll have to learn to be brave, for my future family. I’ll need to be earning money when he’s in medical school; man cannot live on loans alone. It’s terrifying, but I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I married the right man. He pushed me every day, to be more than I think I can be. I hate being pushed, it’s not something I’m used to, but it’s definitely what I need.