the first year.

so i’ve been married a year now. which seems incredible. i’m not shocked to have been married for a year, like it is some crazy accomplishment because i plan on being married to this woman for the next 75 years or so, give or take. it’s just shocking how fast this year has gone.

it’s shocking how much you really begin to rely on a person, how much you realize you need someone besides yourself to get by. i waited a long time to get married, i was 32 when i said i do.  i recommend not getting married before you are 30, especially men. it is not a myth that we mature at a much, let’s say, less rapid pace than women. in my 20’s i was fully committed to living for myself, doing what i wanted and when i wanted to do what i wanted. it was all about me. and i don’t regret that. i’m only pretty sure that if i had been married during those years, it would have been pretty difficult for whoever would have had the pleasure of dealing with me. it’s not that i’m a finished product by any stretch, just ask my wife about that, but i am in a much better place to be relied on, leaned on and trusted with someone else’s life and dreams and desires than before. at least i hope so.

marriage brings out the best and worst in each other. my favorite things about being with my wife are the simple things, i always having a dance partner at weddings and a travel partner for vacations. i don’t have to sleep alone and when i want to try out a new restaurant i have a beautiful woman excited to go with me. i get to dream big and better yet, i have someone who has even bigger dreams right next to me. sometimes we fight about stupid stuff, but never the big things and i like it that way. fighting about important things is scary and it’s a fear i never have to face because she and i are usually on the same page about those things. of course, fighting about little things can lead to big things but usually we can just laugh and say, remember when we fought about [insert silly fighting topic here] and then we are over it.

i don’t mean to glorify our marriage. it’s not perfect and we don’t try to be. we are both flawed, me more so than her, and in marriage those flaws are illuminated. my wife and i are also incredibly opposite in many ways. she despises being home alone with no one to keep her company, i look forward to uninterrupted nights watching a big sporting event at home. her idea of the perfect night always involves playing euchre or some sort of card game, i’d rather have teeth pulled. well not really, i’ve had teeth pulled. i’m a spender, she’s a saver. she’s a country girl at heart, i relax when i hear noise. all of these differences make us better at being together. we draw from each other and though sometimes for both of us it is like getting teeth pulled, we are better for it.

this first year of marriage has been an wild ride. we’ve been to more funerals and visitations in the past year than we have probably in our entire lives. we’ve seen tragedy strike our friends and family that you usually only see on television and movies. we’ve witnessed close friends getting married and friends announce they are having babies. we’ve traveled from one coast to the other and places in between. i’ve heard it said many times that the first year of marriage is the most difficult. if that’s the case, if this was the hardest, then the next 74 years will be truly amazing. marriage isn’t just an obligation to someone else. it’s a gift. really. i don’t write sappy stories very often, but when it comes to my wife, i sometimes cannot help myself. it’s not a “have to”, it’s a “get to”. we get to do this together. we get to be happy together, we get to mourn together, we get to travel together, we get to dream together. it’s actually pretty awesome and i’m pretty happy she chose me.

being man.

i haven’t seen this very often. when a man can just be a man and not be judged by it. sometimes it seems that just being a man is bad enough, but then he has to live it too. he has to breathe and be everything that a man is supposed to be (love sports, know how to switch out an alternator, be able to install a dishwasher, not be afraid of anything, especially spiders).

and we aren’t supposed to ask for help either, (or directions, but we are never lost so we don’t need them). and we can’t admit weaknesses or defeat. dreaming is something you do as a boy not as a man, and when you show that softer side, you must be vulnerable, which makes a man feel somehow less manly. it is scary to be a man, even though so many women think it’s easy.

it’s because of this that i have a lot of admiration for women.

see, women have this uncanny ability to facilitate restraint and reason and a keen fashion sense. but us men, we aren’t born with that restraint, and even if we are, it isn’t manly to show that side of us. so we saddle up, and we ride through life, just assuming we have just enough man-ness in us to get by. men are supposed to be wild, and for the most part, we are. if you see a mild-mannered man, he probably has been tamed. maybe by his mother, or his aunt or by his mild-mannered father who understands that if he speaks up, he will be told to behave. which men don’t like doing. we don’t want to behave. if a man is out-spoken, then he is a bad boy, which a man loves to be called by the way. it is not as easy to be a man as it seems.

women always say that men are so complicated, which to me is a complicated statement. whenever i ask a woman to explain the context behind that claim, she usually shrugs and says, “i don’t know, you just are”. it seems to me that most men are anything but complicated. the only complications for men are women. mainly because men and women don’t understand each other. and then there are the rules to live by, but men don’t make the rules. women do. but women don’t usually tell men what the rules are. so we have to figure it out, which is easier said then done because men cannot read a woman’s mind. no matter how much we are expected, even needed to.

the thing is, being a man should be fun. it should be adventurous and as men, we should be proud to be a man. it’s not a, “men are better than women” type of thing. in fact, we aren’t who we are unless we have a great woman supporting us. that much is clear. we just have to be able to enjoy being man.

puzzle pieces.

emotion is somewhat of a dirty word if you are a male. cry during a chick-flick or a sappy drama on television and you are deemed a sissy. get mad while watching your favorite sports team under-perform with friends and you become the dreaded “that guy”. you know, the one with the obligatory invite, the one who no one really wants to invite anymore but they do anyway because “i mean, he’s not that bad and besides, is it really worth the drama?” no one wants to be “that guy”. you never want anyone to be saying about you… “you invited HIM??”

there’s the emotion of stress… which if utilized correctly can be a great motivator to achieve a lot more than we otherwise would. but usually stress just builds on our shoulders, necks and backs.  heart ailments, stomach ailments and much more are the result of poor handling of the emotion of stress.

then there is:

love. (still debating how much of love is actually an emotion)

anger.

sadness.

fear.

mourning.

it’s the last one that strikes me the most.

writing a blog kind of lends a person to being personal and diving into ones own life. yeah, i’m not good at that. i’m a fairly private guy. if you ask, i’ll tell you what i think or feel. briefly. so i’m going to work on that through this blog.

so about mourning.

it’s such a strange thing for me. i don’t really understand it. that emotion of sadness. dictionary.com refers to mourning as, among other things the period or interval during which a person grieves or formally expresses grief.  as some of you know, i was adopted when i was eight months old. after many years, i have come into contact and developed a fairly strong bond with some of my biological family members, essentially making my already large family even larger. upon coming into contact with them, i was informed that my biological father had passed away in 1999. that hit me like a ton of bricks. i found this out in 2004, so eight years ago. i’m still trying to understand this emotion. it’s confounding. i have deep sadness for my father. i have a deep love for him also. yet, for me this is extremely confusing because i never met the man. when i look at  his picture, i see that i have his cheeks.

i have his smile too i think.

when i visit his hometown, i am told that i look just like him. i’ve had an aunt start crying immediately after meeting me because of how much i reminded her of him. that’s the craziness of emotion, it releases things from you that you didn’t know were there. i suspect that my aunt was still in mourning years later. my step-mother, when we talked on the phone for the very first time, told me that “i love you, because that’s how much i loved your father”. that’s strong emotion. she too is still in mourning over the loss of the love of her life.

yesterday i found out that a biological cousin of mine who i had yet to meet in person passed away. he was thirty years old and left behind so many friends who loved him and family who adored him. the emotions that flooded out of me the last twenty-four hours has been nearly overwhelming. yet it is again strange for me, mainly because once again, i never actually met him. despite that, i still have a deep sadness for my cousin and the family. i’m left wondering why, just like everyone else. emotion runs rampant in these sort of affairs.

anger. pain. sadness.

what do we do with these emotions? i would say that how we handle these types of events is what defines us. how we manage anger, sadness, happiness or being in love is what makes us who we are. you can’t be you without your emotions. they are puzzle pieces that put us together.

if you mis-use one of those, you are never really whole.

under pressure.

“Why can’t we give love…  
Love’s such an old fashioned word 
And love dares you to care for 
The people on the edge of the night 
And love dares you to change our way of 
Caring about ourselves”

Under Pressure

By Queen. 

It’s great insight isn’t it? why can’t we just give more love? Love is an action word, that’s why. It’s hard to do. It’s not easy to give of ourselves to another person. It requires more than just saying it. It requires not simply the words, not even just an action. It makes us look at ourselves. It challenges us to keep ourselves accountable to others.  It pushes us to care for people we might be nervous about caring for. We might get our hands dirty. This song was written decades ago. It is even more relevant today.

“This is our last dance 
This is ourselves 
Under pressure”