Relationships 401

It’s interesting. Today I was watching an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s show “Comedians in cars getting coffee” and it was the one where he had Julie Louis Dryfus on.

The camaraderie between her and Jerry was obvious and you could see he adored traits in her that were enviable, even after all these years. And she saw him, faults and all, as her comments attested.

But at the core – they really got each other.

That’s flippin’ important in any relationship, no? Friendship… Romantic…whatever…

But it also begs the questions – do you have to almost envy the person you’re with in order to want to be with them? And if you strive for the best, should that only be within yourself or does that include your partner too?

What say you?

Being Alone

As most who know me know, I love being alone.

I can spend days, if not weeks, without human contact and not even bat an eye. I’m not saying this as some badge of honor or anything. Merely as a fact about me. And one pertinent to what I’m about to tell you…

Recently, my husband was heading to the East Coast to visit his mother for some one-on-one time. I was planning to stay home and enjoy my alone time.

Well… things didn’t go exactly as planned.

It just so happened that my grandfather passed away and his funeral was scheduled during the eight days my husband was also away, so needless to say, my alone time at home was interrupted with a four-day-trip to New York.

I had a day alone before flying to the east coast and then I had three days alone after returning.

I know this sounds ridiculous but I was savoring each one of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my husband and we are seriously perfect for each other BUT we BOTH work from home and though our apartment is nice and large, our kitchen is the size of a bathroom (not kidding!) so when we’re both in there, moving is difficult. For someone like myself who loves (no, needs) alone time, this is all very difficult. I also work nights part-time so my sleep schedule is all over the place.

Anywho…

My grandfather’s funeral was beautiful and we celebrated him with love. I have no regrets and loved him very much.

When I returned home, I was keenly aware of my alone time countdown. I reverted back to the Christina who lived alone for seven years. I pee’d with the door open, I walked around with zit cream on, I worked wherever and whenever I wanted. I slept soundly as there was no one there who could wake me up. I cooked what I liked and didn’t care if the house smelled of shrimp (my husband despises it!) All in all, I had a good time. Not gonna lie.

I was so enthralled with this aloneness though, that I shared a little too much about it with my loving partner, who needless to say did not care too much to hear about how happy I was living it up in Aloneville.

Our reunion wasn’t as heartwarming as it should have been and I take the blame. Rather than express how much I was enjoying being alone, perhaps I should have told my husband how much I missed him.

But the funny part of this whole story, the reason I am writing this long tale, is that I didn’t realize I missed him until after he came home.

I know. Crazy. But that’s how it went.

First, I started to see how nice it was to have him by my side at night. Falling asleep on him is one of my favorite places in the world to be. And sleeping alone, though it was great to sleep diagonally in silence with all the covers, didn’t seem as significant as before. And when something good happened, like when a piece of mine got published, sharing it with him made it so much more meaningful than smiling to no one in the room.

I also realized coming home from work to an empty place isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, the freedom to do whatever you want is tempting, but much less satisfying that coming home to a smiling partner, who is waiting to eat dinner with you and genuinely tells you they missed you all day.

But what really got me thinking was a few days after my husband returned, I shared with him how much I loved him and that I try to learn about us and grow every day and how I want to show him this more… and you know what, it turned around his entire day, taking it from a shitty one to not so bad.

Love is powerful.

It teaches us daily if we’re open to it. But with it, comes responsibility.

Thank you, Don. For putting up with my demand for alone time but you know what, I might not need it as much as I thought…

 

This is marriage

I wrote a post titled “This Is Marriage” shortly after I married my husband. It was about a bad dream turning into a beautiful reality. I had several people mention it as one of their favorites and the topic stayed in my head.

I find every day is not going to be extraordinary. Some days will be bad. Some happy. Some sad and etc. Most will warp into each other, making a week feel like one long day. But among those forgettable one’s, will be days that leave a lasting effect on you and I had one of those recently.

A few days back, a co-worker/friend and I were chatting about marriage and making things work between two people with different needs.

Isn’t that every marriage, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty? Marriage is a beautiful commitment between two people but it doesn’t make them clones of each other. They’re still two individuals, with individual needs and wants of their own.

Perhaps that is the hardest part of combining one’s life with another. Unless you are replicas of one another, chances are you will be different from your significant other, at least in some ways.

And that’s okay.

I’ve found, however, many times one person in the relationship will take a back seat to the other one, who makes louder demands or wants. Regardless though, the differences are still there; they’re just buried or ignored.

Then there are other relationships where both want to maintain a level of individuality within their marriage. This doesn’t mean you think of yourself as one without the other but rather means it’s okay to be different. No one has to prevail.

For example, I need a lot of alone time (yeah I know, I’ve mentioned it before…) When my husband and I first married, this was a tricky one. He liked to be together when we were home and didn’t care much to be alone. I, on the other hand, thrived on it. At first, we argued. It got personal. Feelings were hurt, words were said.

But then, over time, he learned this was part of who his wife was at her core. Friends and family let him in on how much I liked to be alone. He realized I lived alone for seven years and thoroughly enjoyed it and he began to make sense about why I like alone time and learned it had nothing to do with him. That took courage and confidence…

And you know what? Over time, I noticed he started to know when I needed this alone time (after a restaurant shift, for one!) and now, gives it freely, without me even asking.

When my friend and I were chatting, this realization came to me and I nearly lost my breath.

On the flipside, I’ve learned a thing or two also, like how my significant other does not like to be asked indirect questions. Whenever I would ask a question as a statement, it would make his blood boil. And damn, I realize why! That is not how you talk to someone you love.

Another example: my husband likes to keep the blinds closed while I like the sunlight to blare right on in. But who’s right? Neither, really, as each is entitled to their preference. But we learned each other. When I’m not downstairs and he is, there’s no reason those blinds need to be open and when I’m downstairs, I open them with the understanding that if he enters, a few will be closing so we can each have a little of what we like.

Marriage is not about becoming one another. It’s not about taking the backseat to another. Or “sucking it up.”

It’s about communication. It’s about understanding. Being honest with one another about one’s needs.

Perhaps though, most importantly, it’s about the desire to learn each other.

This does not come overnight though. My husband and I had to learn how to learn each other. It took time and patience. But most importantly, as my lovely co-worker explained, it took the desire to do it.

And that is marriage.

The desire to learn about each other and adjust oneself accordingly in an effort to make a better future together.

#thisismarriage

 

 

Road Tripping Day 14

The past two weeks have been some of the most amazing days of my life. Traveling the east coast with my husband as we visited close family and friends allowed me time to explore the great outdoors, see cities and states I hadn’t before and learn about love, life, myself and my relationships on a deeper level.

And I’d like to extend a big thank you to all who have come along for the ride with us.

If I had to say what I learned most from the trip, it would be how much I love my husband.

The universe gave me a chance to see how important the commitment I made to this man is to me and I have a new-found excitement for getting to be with him everyday, for all the days we are given.

I also learned a few overall lessons and made some observations that I thought I’d share with you for the last of my Road Tripping posts…

  • Bug spray is something now at the top of my packing list when traveling. Especially to the east coast.
  • Tim Horton’s is very popular on that same east coast. (FYI, it’s a coffee place for those like myself who didn’t know.)
  • Nissan Versas are a great rental. Smooth ride. Excellent mileage. Comfortable. (And no, I’m not getting paid by them…)
  • Subway fast food restaurants are everywhere. Literally everywhere.
  • Do not put on mascara while the car is moving.
  • Overpacking is a waste. I learn more about it each time I travel. Biggest takeaway – Ask myself if I really will wear/use/read it. If I hesitate, don’t bring it.
  • Priceline is my favorite travel website.
  • Heated hotel pools are also a favorite of mine.
  • My hair hates humidity, but I was prepared this time. I came armed with serum and a straightener.
  • Lyft is a Godsend.
  • Sometimes, Denny’s can in fact hit the spot.
  • Each state has different rules for speeding. Some take it insanely serious. Others, almost invite it. My advice – pay attention and act accordingly, unless you want to waste your money and time.
  • Rain is very different on the Atlantic/Pacific coasts. Atlantic is unpredictable, wild, warm, odd and part of life. Pacific is periodic, wet, cold and quite seasonal.
  • I love to collect things and my bottle cap, seashell and magnet collections grew rapidly over the past fourteen days.
  • I missed my bed, getting the mail and family the most while I was gone.

I am already looking forward to another trip. Stay tuned, as I hope you’ll join me then as well.

Cheers!

#roadtripping

Am I an asshole?

I need a lot of alone time.

Definitely more than the average person and probably even more than the person who thinks they need a lot of alone time. Ask anyone who has lived with me, dated me or well, tried to get to know me.

I’m not saying this as some badge of honor. Oh no. It’s a problem and I know that.

But it’s me.

I like to spend time alone. I need it. As weird as it sounds, I’m still getting to know myself and without time alone, I don’t feel entirely free to do that.

Is this different from others? Or am I just more vocal about it? I seriously don’t know but hell, I’m coming clean on my blog right now.

I need a lot of alone time.

Do you?

Someone once said that if you can’t spend time alone, than you’re hiding something from yourself. Wait… Is that just a thought I had from all my philosophy study? I seriously don’t know. But I struggle with original thought when I study from the masters. Are we not to build upon them though?

I digress….

I need a lot of alone time.

But what do you do when that need hurts those you love?

Which side do you fulfill…?

Pause for a moment.

Today, I was talking to my father. Not about this. Not at all literally BUT in the conversation we were having, he asked something about living in reality….

And I was struck!

(Not the first time my father said a statement seemingly simple and yet, so therapeutic….)

Have I adapted to the fact that I am no longer living as one? Married, you are living as two. Individuals, yes. But choices no longer are your own because of the commitment you’ve made to another individual…

What then, if you need alone time?

Is that selfish?

Are you an asshole?

What say you?

Why I’m happy my husband and I waited five years to become Facebook friends

I met my husband, Don, on Labor Day 2012 and sparks flew as we walked for hours around Manhattan Beach, talking and getting to know each other. This was followed with a drink by the pier and a couple more hours of conversation.

Talking to Don was like talking to an old friend who suddenly came back into my life. It was like we knew each other but didn’t. And he somehow made me believe true love did indeed exist.

So when a few months into our relationship I asked Don to be Facebook friends, and he declined, let’s just say I was most certainly thrown for a loop.

“How dare he?!” “What in the hell!” “That’s it. It’s over.” 

These are a few things that ran through my head when he told me he didn’t want to be Facebook friends. And then a big one sank in….

What in the world is he hiding?!”

Now, up to this point, Don had not done a thing to make me distrust him and in fact, he did a lot of things that made me trust him, so this was mind-boggling.

The next night we were together, probably within fifteen seconds if I know myself, I unleashed on him. I questioned him and our entire relationship.

I simply couldn’t understand how we could date and be falling in love and yet he didn’t want to “friend me” on social media.

Then, he said something calmly and uncomplicated.

“I don’t want to get to know you through Facebook.”

My inner rage was jolted. And as though it was controlled by a gas-stove dial, the flame went from bursting to barely there.

He had a really solid point. And I liked it. I respected that he didn’t want to learn about me through a social networking service.

So I agreed. We would not be Facebook friends until we were ready.

There was one stipulation though – I would be able to see his page whenever I wanted to, under his login. Come on people, I’m no fool. But he not only agreed, he also invited me to do so right then and there.

Which, of course, I did. But after that, I’ve probably asked him to look at his page maybe five times in the five years we’ve been together. And that was only to see pictures.

Now… flash forward to last week.

After being married for a year and a half, I turned to Don while we were grabbing a drink before dinner and said, “Babe, you think it’s time we become Facebook friends?”

He gave me one of his adorable side-tilted smiles and said, “You want to? Let’s do it.”

He sent me an invite ten seconds later.

And then I realized, after all this time, it’s really fun to suddenly get to see each other’s Facebook life. Not that it’s much different from non-Facebook life, but it is its own entity and I’m not sure Don realizes it, but he discovered a whole new way for us to get to know each other.

I care.

I completely surprised myself.

As someone who has never cared for the gender roles society tries to assign and in fact has more than often gone out of their way to disprove them, it struck me odd when I found myself tending to my husband’s every need the past two days and not minding it.

Let me explain.

It’s very easy to go along with the flow when your significant other is healthy and things are going smoothly, both rocking the world in your regular vibe, being on your own little cloud nine…

But then, there are days when things don’t go smoothly and the flow I mentioned starts to ebb.

Like when one of you get sick.

A few days ago, my husband got hit with whatever flu is going around and the poor guy’s throat has been so sore he hasn’t been able to talk, all the while his body has ached for days. I can still see it in his eyes. He’s not himself. This bug has taken over him.

And so, for the past two days, I’ve found myself taking care of him – asking him what he wanted and going to get it right then, doing all the laundry, preparing his favorite tuscan white bean soup and making sure he got fluids and plenty of rest.

And I didn’t mind it at all.

If someone asked me five years ago if I would one day take care of someone like I have the past two days, I might have either laughed thinking they didn’t know me at all or if they did, wonder what they’d been smoking.

My priorities were so much different then.

And as I was driving home from work tonight, I realized I no longer equated taking care of someone as being weak but instead saw it as one of the strongest things you can do.

And I smiled because I’ve come a long way from the girl who lived alone in a studio and loved it.

I care.

And it feels good.

Relationship Fun

I loath routine. And both myself and my husband have a great dislike for boredom.

When we first moved in together, I asked if he’d be willing to do something to keep the intrigue alive and not only did he agree, but it’s since become a part of our romantic life…

Okay… So, what did I ask him?

I asked if he would allow me to get ready for our date nights without him and if he could knock on our bedroom door at a designated time to “pick me up.”

He said yes and got ready in his home studio.

That was three years ago and we’ve been doing it ever since.

See, you still get the mystery of it all. You don’t know what the other looks like for the date and whether they may have a surprise for you. You get to see each other looking nice in full form, not in each stage. You get to plan surprises for the other. And you get to wait and do your own thing before going out.

Give it a try.

Or maybe you have your own fun device? If so, please share!

 

 

Marriage Lesson #108

I’ve learned a lesson recently in marriage. After living alone for seven years and not really dating for five of those years while I made films back to back, I should have known this was bound to happen and stop it but… well, I did it anyway.

But allow me to start at the beginning…

About a week ago, my husband and I realized the blinds in our new apartment were malfunctioning, including the patio door vertical blinds. I went back and forth a bit with our landlord and soon realized my husband was not very happy about it.

At first, I wondered what his problem was and why he wasn’t on my side. After all, I was trying to make our apartment as great as can be! But after a terse interchange, I began to see the reason why he was angry…

I shot off those emails, signed by both of us, without even consulting him. And my approach is direct and to the point while his is a bit more…. what’s the word…forgiving? Yeah. Forgiving.

He let me know that we are a team and I should consult him when doing things in our name together.

And you know, he was absolutely right. And I did apologize after I recognized that. And have since changed my behavior.

I was so quick to revert to old habits of doing what I wanted, when I wanted. But marriage is a team. And when something involves the both of us, than we both should handle it. As a team. And if we disagree, we talk about it and form a compromise.

Yet another lesson in marriage.

#justmarried

And stay tuned for my upcoming short documentary, shot on my honeymoon where I turned the camera on myself and new husband :) More information can be found here!

 

 

Lessons From A Honeymoon

My husband and I were recently married, as my blog readers likely know considering my surge in wedding related blog posts over the past six months, and we decided to hit the open road for a little shy of two weeks to explore western America. We began in Los Angeles and drove up the coast through Northern California and then headed into Oregon and then Washington, with a finale in Las Vegas.  We drove the entire way and clocked over 3000 miles. I will never forget it.

We like to explore and see things off the beaten path, things difficult to see when flying in and out of a city rather than driving in and out of one. Along the way, I learned more than I ever thought I would – about love, life and myself. And I learned about my new husband too.

As an independent filmmaker who also works multiple jobs, spare time is not something I typically have. Boredom? Don’t know it. Vacations? A rare concept. So for me, this road trip Honeymoon was all about spending time with the love of my life, turning off the technology that never seems to sleep and thinking of only the moment I was in. Spending days doing nothing but loving, being and exploring the world around me, along side my new husband. We took time to smell the roses and God damn, were they beautiful….

And now, I thought I’d take a moment to share 11 things I learned along the way:

1. Less is more.

2. Going thirty miles over the speed limit is incredibly easy to do, even if that speed limit is 70.

3. Trust and communication are absolute necessities. In all walks of life.

4. When you are upset with someone else, it often times has more to do with yourself than with them.

5. Nature is a pure religion, with its beliefs demonstrated in its being.

6. Technology has become too important. Perhaps a step away is always in order.

7. Don’t judge anything by its cover. Especially restaurants. The fanciest could be crap; a hole-in-the-wall could be a local gem.

8. Life moves fast. Very fast.

9. Marriage is two. Big decisions can no longer only be made by one.

10. Hotels with heated pools are smarter. They are.

11. The answer is love.