I went to bed last night frustrated and angry. My back was sore from sitting on a sofa we acquired in a return/exchange of an older sectional that had broken down. It’s far fucking tinier than the old sofa because the credit we were given was equal to the purchase price of a sectional from years ago (I always purchase the lifetime insurance on these things); and we did not have additional funds to supplement the new couch selection.
I was hoping that we could use our tax refund to acquire a new sectional this year; but unfortunately, the trustee assigned to our bankruptcy case got that money. So it seems we’re stuck with this shitty lil’ sofa for at least another year; and it’s become an irrational — but constant — addition to my resentments list as of late.
The Witch Bitch finds ways to blame Mitchell for this — if only he made more money, if only his body weight hadn’t broken the old sectional, if only he hadn’t talked me into selecting such an awful couch, etcetera. I recognize this reasoning as absurd, but it doesn’t stop the Borderline within from feeling as if it isn’t.
Instead of allowing these thoughts to escape from my head last night, however (and inevitably cause a stupid, and probably explosive, fight), I just went to bed. Albeit, I probably was a little short with my husband when I announced that sleeping was the only option I had in combatting the pain.
I strapped on the CPAP mask, hit the sheets, and proceeded to toss and turn for over an hour. The pain didn’t help; but the restlessness was more the fault of thoughts tumbling around in my head.
So Much to Do, So Little Motivation
I often go to bed thinking of the million things I’d like to accomplish — not only the next day, but in the near future. I contemplate getting up and writing them down; but they tend to start bouncing around the confines of my mind when I’m too exhausted to turn on the light and grab a pen. So the sleep-disturbing fluff cycle quietly drones on.
Eventually, I do fall asleep… only to wake the next morning, take a seat in the living room, and feel the overwhelming weight of all the goals I have set for myself. I hit the mod — get a rush of nicotine — and stare into space, as my to-do list crashes down so hard on my shoulders that I can’t get up. (This is a perpetual, self-defeating cycle in my loony lil’ life.)
If I do manage to summon the energy necessary for completing a task, it’s usually such a monumental effort that I decide accomplishing one thing is better than accomplishing nothing, turn on the television, and lose hours of my life to streaming content. But later, as I try (once again) to drift towards a restful night of z’s, I end up chastising myself for being so lazy, especially when Mitch is home.
The Slow Road to Immoveable Resentments
It is not necessarily Mitchell’s fault that I tend to leave the house less when he’s home, nor that I don’t accomplish as much in his presence. That burden is my own to bear… but it is a truism in my life. If Mitch is around, I am more self-conscious about my actions… which ultimately leads to inaction.
I am acutely aware that if I attempt to take on any chores when he is home, I will be picked apart for the fastidious way in which I do them. This constant criticism leads to resentments, hurt feelings, and more often than not, arguing. So I just avoid the whole situation; and end up simmering in anger over the fact that the house is not as tidy as I’d like it to be.
I also know that Mitch does not like my friends, especially the ones that I have made in Alcoholics Anonymous (which, let’s be honest, are my only friends these days). He feels that they are “too needy” and that they “bring me down”. Occasionally, he also expresses his own resentment towards the fact that I seem to place their needs ahead of his. So again, to avoid confrontation, I stop going to in-person meetings — or talking on the phone with them — when he’s around… and end up feeling lonely and isolated as a result.
When Mitch is away, I find it easy to get up in the morning, throw on my hiking boots, and hit the trail. I know he won’t be waiting for me when I get home, upset by the fact that I went without him; despite the fact that he tells me to do exactly that when I try and wake him. When he is home, I find it difficult to enjoy hiking, because he will be waiting for me (with all that entails) when I return — draining away all the positive feelings earned from the endorphin rush. So, I take the path of least resistance… and then up berating myself for sloth and inactivity, and resenting him for being the cause of such beratement.
If I read or write, I need space and silence to do so. I also need a hair dryer, thrumming at it’s lowest speed. Though I have tried to replace the hair dryer with white noise piped through headphones, I end up missing the comfort of the air flow. Mitch has become accustomed to this, and no longer complains; but I know it bothers him, and that messes with my ability to concentrate.
My sometimes very accommodating husband has agreed to give me time and space when I wish to engage with my books and/or my laptop; but doesn’t understand that when he’s constantly walking through the room — and often asking questions while doing so — that he irrevocably breaks my flow; and once it’s broken, I get too frustrated with the situation to get it back.
If I’m clear about my needs, Mitchell will vacate the house; but then I feel guilty over the fact that he’s often just sitting in the car at a park somewhere waiting for me to give the “all-clear” to come home. The guilt outweighs my productivity, so this has become less of an option as well.
There Might Be a Solution
We do have a spare bedroom; but it’s currently filled with unpacked boxes (shit that Mitch has collected through the years, and refuses to get rid of… but has left untouched in said boxes for decades). We have talked about clearing it out and creating an office space that I could use for school and for my personal reading/writing; but each and every time that Mitch says he’ll get on it, he does so with frustration in his voice.
Four years in this house. Four years of him saying that he’s willing to clear that room for me. Four years of struggling with the pain and frustration of asking him (once again) to please get started. Four years, and I’m still in the living room trying to write as he flits through the house disrupting the process.
So perhaps it’s time for me to clear the room. Doing so will mean waiting for him to leave again (a little over a week now). It will also mean throwing away a lot of the crap that has accumulated in our spare bedroom. I will have to go through the boxes and determine what — if anything — has sentimental value to him; and toss the rest.
Will this lead to an argument upon his return? Yes.
I know this, because it’s happened in similar situations in the past; and this leads me to believe that it may not be worth the trouble (which is why I haven’t attempted to clear it before)… but quite honestly, I don’t know what else to do.
Not clearing the room means the slow build-up of resentment (one that is steadily starting to boil, rather than simmer) towards my husband, and continuing to feel disappointed in myself for not being able to do the things I wish to accomplish (due to the guilt that is attached to the means of tackling these things in my husband’s presence).
And then? Then, there are the gentle waves of apathy that flow through my home. Mitch is content with things the way they are; but I am not. I feign contentment to avoid fights and arguments that will make me more unhappy than I already am, and to steer clear of hearing, “If you’re not happy, then clearly, that’s a you issue; because I am perfectly happy.”
I’m stuck between the ever-patient, but tirelessly messy, rock that my husband has always been, and the more ambitious woman I hope to be. And sooner or later, I’m going to have to make some hard decisions.
Music Interlude: Carly Pearce “What He Didn’t Do”
It is sometimes so hard to hold on to the good, when you feel you’re drowning in the bad…