I can’t control my brain, my thoughts. They keep returning to ruminate over stupid conversations that happened, and those that didn’t. What I should have done, what I should have left undone.
Since I can’t control my thoughts, I have turned to my surroundings, thinking that maybe by bringing order to my environment, I can bring order to my mind.
Also, I am married to a hoarder-wanna-be. Just one of several glaring differences in our chosen lifestyles.
I have been attempting to unclutter our house, starting with the closets down the hall. I have managed to wrestle a bit of order out of the chaos, but it is introducing more chaos into my marriage.
Yesterday, as I started on the kitchen cupboards, my husband walked into the room and stared in horror at the box of castoffs I had collected. His reaction was anticipated, which is why I’ve been performing my cleaning covertly, while he is out of the house. Unfortunately for me, his schedule is rather unpredictable, and he is apt to return at inopportune moments and catch me in the act. As he did yesterday.
I will admit my approach wasn’t perhaps the best. No one reacts well to being called on their bad habits. And keeping anything and everything, in the event that it might be needed some day, is a bad habit. In my eyes, anyway. Not so much in his. But the way I’ve pointed it out cannot be interpreted by him as anything but adversarial.
So yesterday. He stormed across the room and took a look at what I had removed from a cupboard. A cupboard, I might add, that is inconveniently located, and doesn’t store anything of importance. In my humble opinion. He, however, must have felt that his very way of life was under attack, because he grabbed a couple of items I had set aside for donation, clutched them to his breast, and proclaimed them worthy to remain in our possession.
I reacted… overreacted… by bursting into tears and calling him a hoarder.
Our conversation quickly devolved into a heated argument about clutter versus order. Neither of us took the high road, unfortunately. All of this in front of the two kids who currently reside with us.
I’m not proud.
But still kinda mad.
I retreated to our bedroom, asking him to follow, hoping to continue our conversation away from tender ears prone to catastrophizing any and every argument into a sure sign of impending divorce.
Hubby headed out to the garage. I assumed he had no interest in conversing with a hysterical, screaming banshee wife, so I locked the bedroom door, as a show of maturity, climbed onto the bed, and bawled my eyes out.
When he came to the bedroom door, as I figured he would, and found it locked, he picked up the bobby pin kept on the table in the hall (intended for just such a purpose, though usually used to unlock the teenager’s door when she thinks she can keep us out), unlocked the door, and let himself in.
True to his nature, he was calm and controlled. Gah. Doesn’t actually help calm me down. Maybe that’s why he does it. He knows it serves to further rile me up and encourage histrionics. I’m pretty predictable that way.
I found myself attempting to explain to him what clutter does to my mind and spirit. How it further deepens the depression that has taken root this year and resists all attempts to remove it. How much I crave an orderly environment, and how much I enjoy removing what seems to be useless crap.
I guess my raging tears didn’t do much to further communication. He didn’t seem to be moved. Though he did remain calm.
He said he was offended at my assumption that if I left, or died, our house would be profiled on an episode of Hoarders inside of a week. He said it reminded him of another assumption I had made, earlier in our married life, that hadn’t proved true.
Many years ago, while raising our young children, we had been a pretty typical Mormon family. I was the one mostly invested in our eternal salvation, or so it seemed, and I felt like I was single-handedly dragging my family to the celestial kingdom. Whenever I was sick, or had to work, my husband did not fight the good fight and take our children to church, prompting me to assert that if I were to die, I was sure my children would never again darken the doorway of a chapel.
He has thrown this particular assumption in my face from time to time in the ensuing years, because as fate would have it, I have been the one who has refused to darken the doorway of a chapel. For reasons too many to enumerate here, I am done with church, and my children have followed suit. My husband, the man I claimed would not make the effort to ensure their continued involvement in the activity most likely to lead them to salvation, is the only one who continues to attend faithfully.
He is a true-blue believer, one who has been “gifted to know”.
I am a die-hard unbeliever, one who has been gifted with skepticism. And I can no longer support an institution that purports to be the “one true church” while ignoring the skeletons in its closet, and continues to treat those who don’t fit the box as pariahs, unfit for the kingdom of god. (My story, my perspective, get over it.)
I asked him, yesterday, in the heat of battle, why he hadn’t bothered to take our kids to church when they were young if I couldn’t go, and he responded, “Because I hate going to church alone.”
And there it was.
The words hung heavy in the air, giving meaning to the phrase “pregnant pause”.
The elephant in the room had been identified.
He hates going to church alone. And I hate going to church. Period. Full stop.
We are at an impasse.
After all these years of battling our religious divide, it comes down to this.
If I go to church with him so he doesn’t have to go alone, I am unhappy.
If I don’t go to church with him and he goes alone, he is unhappy.
There are no winners here. No solution or compromise that suits us both.
I have no idea how to fix this. It won’t be as easy as lugging a carload of junk to the dump and then explaining why he can’t find his “good can with a lid that fits”.
I wonder if I can donate Jesus to “Somebody’s Attic”?
Nah. My husband would just go buy him back.
Sigh. It is what it bloody is.