Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Prescription for Perspective

Women get a really bad rap these days for the things we say about our men. We talk about how they are such pathetic slobs that they couldn't find the dirty clothes hamper even if they were sitting in it. We talk about how dense they are, that no matter how simply we spell out what we need, they just don't "get it".

But is that true? Are they that dense? Or do we just choose to see them that way?

I can remember times when Private Ryan would leave dirty clothes literally right beside the clothes hamper. I remember times when I would have clothes cleaned and waiting to be dealt with, and he'd leave his dirty clothes there, in the clean clothes. Times when he would walk to the kitchen and leave his empty soda can right there on the arm of the couch. I'd want to scream every time, and those tend to be the memories we women carry around.

But what about the good times? What about the times when he cooks or cleans because it's been a long day and I don't want to. What about the times when I was pregnant and he would put my flip flops on my feet because they were so swollen that even flip flops wouldn't fit well and I couldn't reach my feet to stuff them in? The first time he really truly gave me a break from the tedium of being "mommy", and bought me my first pedicure?

The time my father and I had a falling out. When I'm emotional (any kind of emotional), I tend to cry, so when my father and I were not speaking, one day I just lost it and Private Ryan, my dense but wonderful man, knew it was coming. When I'm going to really lose control of my emotions and morph into a snotting, slobbering, wrinkle-faced mess, I generally do not wish other people to witness me in that state. Besides the fact that I have always seen crying as a weakness within myself, and I have despised this weakness. I also believe that showing your weaknesses in such a way to others makes you vulnerable ... now those people who have seen your weaknesses know what they are. But Private Ryan knows me pretty well after all these years, he knows when I'm tense and sad, and he knows when it's the middle of the day and I suddenly announce that I'm going to take a shower, I am not going in there just to wash my hair. The shower is my escape ... sure I'll handle the cleaning tasks that are inherent to the shower, but once clean, I will often curl up in the bottom of the tub and let the water rain on me while I cry until all the hot water is gone and I'm shivering, my eyes puffy and my throat raw from sobbing. The times I have done this over fights with my father, Private Ryan always saw the meltdown coming. He always watched me closely for days, quietly waiting until the moment when I would need him. And when I just couldn't take it anymore and I would head to the bathroom to hide my weakness, he would listen until the water came on, and then follow me in. The one time I really clearly remember, he came into the shower with me and brushed my hands away from my hair, steered the front of my body under the water to keep me warm, and then used his own body heat against my back while his hands worked the lather into my long hair. He turned me to rinse and then repeated the process with conditioner. He lathered my loofah and washed me while I stood there feeling foolish and wanting all the more to cry when his kindness and silent love for me combined with the anguish I felt over my fight with my father.

Once he finished, Private Ryan sat in the bottom of the tub where he had known I was headed all along, and beckoned me to sit with him. With his long legs and my ... huge ass womanly curves ... it was challenging, but cozy. He held me until I was spent, until the hot water was gone.

Why do we choose to see the ugly in each other? Why do we lose track of the good that is all we see in the beginning of a new relationship? And why do we not try harder?

Anyone who is reading this, I urge you to find some perspective, to try harder to remember to see the good in the people around you ... no matter how long they've been there.