Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Young Marriage and Glee (Love, Love, Love)




I love September when I can indulge in my regular shows...Glee being one. This is going to be a serious post, sort of, but first a disclaimer... I used to be embarrassed about the fact that I like Glee but C'mon- it's brilliant sometimes. I'm a music junkie, so yes, the originals are always better. But thanks to Glee, teens actually know who the classics are! I would rather watch clever re- enactments of my favourite songs and have controversial subjects brought up in irreverent ways at times than watch Zombies pull guts out. It's just how I roll. Each to their own. On Glee the poignant can be randomly mixed with the profane (Sue Sylvester) but sometimes there are words that would not be found anywhere else on TV BUT Glee. (Spoiler Alert for those of my audience that are actually interested in the show. I don't think I will spoil much though, because from my demographic, I'm guessing mostly none of you watch it:)

The writers did a beautiful job in this conversation with Kurt and Burt Hummel:

"I really love Blaine. He makes me feel so safe and connected and so loved and I don't think I will find anyone else who is gonna make me feel like that, but we are both so young."

"Well, your mom and I met when we were 22 and I asked her to marry me 6 months in.We were just kids... It was really hard at first... You go into it with all of these fantasies of what your life together is gonna be like. Nothing but Laughing, dancing around in your underwear, cooking pasta, sex, a lot of sex. It's hard being married though. It's hard enough being in your twenties."

"Do you wish you waited?"

"Not for one second more. I wish I would have met her ten years earlier. I didn't know then I was only gonna get so much time with her. That she was gonna leave us so soon. I would take 50 more years of late night fights about me working late, or the gas bill, or her letting the milk go bad for just ten more minutes, with her, her next to me... we only get a few days when it comes down to it Kurt, you know that better than anyone..."

Those lines are similar to my own story. I don't regret one single minute of the tears, pain and all. I LOVE that I KNEW at 17 that I was going to marry the one that made me feel safe, protected and loved. We are happy eleven years, two miscarriages and three children in, and even if we break up in the future (God forbid) or something goes massively wrong, we had our moments. We had the fights over fuel/water bills and working late, but we also had the precious time. And that TIME meant the world.

The show has a point...Twenties are hard regardless. Some of us are destined to do it alone, others need someone with us. It makes it harder and easier in different ways. We do what is what we feel we need to do. TV, heck,the world! does not support teen marriage or early marriage (let alone a double minority of young, gay marriage.)

Marital success and wise life choices depend on the situation, but regardless, young love could use a little more support. Maybe if couples had more support and successful portrayals of the good and the bad, there would not be as high of a break up rate? Maybe, just maybe, those stats are a little misused? Marriages break up often, regardless of age. It depends on LIFE, on circumstances, on support, on personality, on communication and dedication. Thank you GLEE for once again fighting for the underdog. Finally, I got to see my life choices promoted in a positive way. I'm sure something will go wrong on the show and young marriage won't happen. Already critics are critiquing, but it was beautifully done and I am grateful. My husband and I, we started young. We just knew when we met near the end of grade twelve in separate schools that we should travel together through the rest of life. Because of that bravery we bought some extra time and we got to fall in love, over and over again, through some extreme life changes. Choosing each other at 17, despite the grief almost everyone gave us, was worth the battle. In this life and into the next, we hope to keep rekindling that kindred love.

Marriage sucks sometimes. I don't want to say it was/is all beautiful. Sometimes I want to throttle him, but of course, I refrain, and listen to Pink sing about my feeling instead. As Pink aptly croons, "Sometimes I hate every stupid word you say, sometimes I wanna slap you in your whole face. There's no one quite like you. You push all my buttons down but I know that life would suck without you. At the same time I wanna hug you, I wanna wrap my hands around your neck, your an asshole but I love you, and you make me so mad I ask myself, why I'm still here, where could I go? You're the only love I've ever known but I hate you I really hate you so it must be true love. Nothing else can break my heart like true love."
That about sums it up in both the beautifully eloquent and the profane...True love. My husband and I have a passionate relationship...sometimes a little boring too...but it's ours and we are together...making the suffering that is inevitable in every decade, both a little worse and a little better.






Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adjustments, Non Conformity and the Mentality of the Simple Life







We have made a little haven out of our home. We are all Introverts and on the Autism scale (minus my husband.) Years ago I decided homeschooling was the best option for our family. Not only did it minimize sensory overload, but it enabled us to proceed with life in our own way. We are able to have more boundaries, less conformity, and embrace our Autism and Introversion as gifts. It's beautiful...and it was hard work to get to this point.

When we dropped out of church several years ago, we often would cave into other's expectations, belief systems or we simply missed our old routine and would find ourselves back in the building for about two years on and off. Yet, it never felt quite right. Finally, we stuck to our decision and stayed out. It took another three years to not wonder if we were proceeding with the right choice when Sunday came along. Now we LOVE it. Beliefs aside, having that family time, the morning of rest, the full day to pause or relax, is the highlight of our week. Feeling nature, the comforts of home, and the quiet atmosphere is it's own form of awe, worship and belonging.

The same process happened with homeschooling too. My kids were out, back in for a year, out, and back in for three weeks, before we finally went into "permanent." Transitions are tough and dealing with a new adjustment...even if it is better for the individual or family, can often feel "wrong." That feeling is often just the brain adjusting, a new habit being formed, and the angst that comes with new patterns. I hated homeschooling the first year. I needed to change facilitators to one who suited our laid back family, and find our groove. I needed support from my family and supportive reading materials. I had to fight for all these things. But now, I do not have to "fight." The pattern is now a natural part of our living.

Our children are protected but well socialized. They are surrounded by those who love them, those who understand, and the comforts of a house that suits their specific interests. It's a Hobbit Hole in many ways. With tended gardens, comfortable blankets, low lights, classic stuffies, magical books, and not many interruptions.

I am well aware of the fact that children need adventures and that their adulthood will be fraught with different environments. But for now, they need their haven. Their simple life. They learn quietly with guitar, yoga, voice, dance, karate, swimming ect. But even the way we choose to do most of these things is unconventional. We find family who want them to learn for learning sake. We find dance teachers who believe it is about the love, the rhythm, the way the body moves, instead of about competition, exams and being the best. We find flexible programs that are not rigid in practice. While discipline is important, it is instead learned through tending gardens, plants and living things that require constant time and attention. They have a balance of magical playtime, reading, working, chores, friend time (only 2-3 good friends are needed in life) integrated school and learning about themselves. They see their differences as gifts and struggles. My youngest asked his aunt, out of the blue, if she had Autism. Trying not to smile she replied, "I don't think so buddy..." He pauses, "Well do you have OCD?" she replied, "I'm not too sure." Quietly he ponders, "Well do you have ADD?" "No." "Well, what about Aspergers?" When she still answered no to that he said with exasperation, "Well what ARE you?!! I am lucky. I have ADD at least. Why don't you have anything to explain you? Who ARE you?" We laughed.  I was so relieved when she was smart enough NOT to say, "I'm just normal." With wisdom not often found in a twenty year old she replied, "I might have one of those. Everybody has something unique that they are. You are lucky to know how your brain works and why you behave certain ways. Even people who do not know about brain wirings deal with other things in life."

I believe there are MANY varied ways to live out the simple life. It can be done within schools and churches too. For us, it could not. But for other personalities, it can. It's mostly in mentality. To live parallel culturally instead of counter culturally or in the current mono culture which values economics and competition (See my library and click on the book MonoCulture by F.S. Michaels.) Living simply is not just the current concept of home grown foods and moving to a farm. That can be what it needs to be for some, but living simply can be done in many ways. It can even be done with "stuff." Our house has what it needs and what comforts us. We have a rule; "Whatever is lovely or needed belongs in the house- whatever does not bring maximum comfort, joy or basic need goes out." Stuff does not imply conforming...but it can. It all depends on the mentality. Which is why reading books similar to Monoculture or The Magical Child or Freakonomics...or anything that thinks outside the current box, is crucial to the journey. Check out this link too: http://unschoolery.com/hackschooling

Our family is living in optimal freedom and peace. Of course we have our share of struggles. We can suffer depression, financial strain, living month to month, discrimination and relational issues from time to time. It's not a utopia. But more often or not, I look around, and am filled with gratitude. It suits us RIGHT NOW. I can not worry about the future, but I need to fight what is filled with the best mixture of peace and freedom NOW.

I hope each of you finds your version of the simple life. Enjoy the song. It's our Autumn bliss:)
* A suggested book on this and his coinciding blog is: 
  • Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World- Ben Hewitt