January 5, 2023•1,111 words
Yesterday, I was so sad. Or maybe it wasn't that my sadness was a simple state of being for the day. Maybe the simmering sadness in me bubbled to the top and I couldn't hold it in. Or maybe your slowly-building sadness flooded out of your banks, and washed over me. I drowned in sadness. I ended the evening feeling better, but I didn't know why.
You say you're not sad. You say you're fine. But you seem to have lost any spark of will to, to what? I see the ways you're falling out of the orbit of the world. You stay up later and later and later; you sleep for longer and longer and longer. You aren't completely tuned out from the things you love; you play with the cat. You pull shots of espresso for me and for you. You print on your 3d printer. But I can't find you, for the haze that's between us. You're in a murky cloud of sadness and I can't find you, and you rarely reach out for me, extending fingers through the mist so that I can find you.
I try. I try so hard. I try to keep life running smoothly, for me and for you. I try to keep things in order. Trash goes out on Thursday nights, check. Amazon boxes broken down, check. Floor swept, sheets changed, laundry rotated, dishwasher run. All check. I try to be proactive. I'm trying to organize. I'm trying to build small islands of peace in the chaos. You're chaos, my love. You are. I need tiny retreats from the chaos, so I can quietly read or sit or exist without the threat of items piling up on top of me and swallowing me whole. I need for the clutter of life to remain at bay long enough that I can breathe, because if there's always clutter, I always feel the need to straighten, to tidy, to clean, before I get to rest. I need to rest sometimes.
Why do I get to be the only one who knows where things are? I don't have to be. It's not a requirement. I think it's that I'm just the only one trying to know where things are. I'm trying to slot some sort of order over the house. I'm trying to find a pattern, a structure to it. God, help me if I go full Dewey Decimal or Marie Kondo. But a little structure, for my piece of mind. Because there's no respite for me. The house is my work and my play and my life. Which is, itself, it's own problem, because I hate this house and because Tracy has nothing for me. I need something in Tracy.
I don't have to be the only one who knows where items go. We can do it together. I'm not sure you want to do that though. Maybe I'm making assumptions. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. Maybe I'm reading into the way your body moves or the things you don't say. I desperately want to solve this with you together. I want to talk about structure, an organization, that works for us both. Where we kind of know where things go, how to find some sort of balance. So I can know where to put things and you can know where to look for things. I will label the whole house. I will draw maps. I will do whatever. I will do the work. I will start the discussion. I will ask questions and be creative, trying to understand how to make things work. But you don't want to. It doesn't interest you. You stand behind me, unengaged, uninterested, when I show you where I've put things, how I've tried to make a system where finding things is not the chore and burden and frustration it is now.
My love, you have to admit that maybe your system has flaws. How often do you ask me where something is, for me to see it in plain view where you left it last, somewhere you didn't expect to leave it? How often are you frustrated for not finding an item because we didn't have a system, didn't put things back to approximately where they came from? It happens sometimes. I do my best to combat it by remembering where things are, by grouping like items, but putting thing approximately where they get used. My mental map of the house sometimes saves us. What's your mental map of the house like, my love? I wish you'd share your thoughts with me so that I can use them to make the house what you want.
But, my love, you don't engage. You don't talk to me. You say "I don't know." You sink into yourself. The way you are isn't wrong, my love. In fact, I'm so desperate to hear how you want your life to look, our life to be set up. But you don't tell me. I am alone, trying to make sense of the chaos. I am organizing myself into peace, and you into frustration. I don't know how to coax you into engaging with me. All you say is "I don't know".
But we have to do something, my love. Because you can't keep getting made to feel an unfamiliar in your own home. And I can't stand strong in the fury of chaos that our house becomes when left to it's own unraveling. I can't live here if there's no order, no peace. I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave the house or you. I don't want you to be the one who has to sacrifice either. There's a middle ground and I want to grab your hand and find it together. But you don't want to. It feels like rejection. Sometimes, in my brain, I get hurt. How do you not appreciate the work I do around the house? The cleaning and the cooking and the groceries and the tidying and the laundry? I think you think of it as unnecessary. I'm not sure. I spend so much time bustling around, trying to keep up. Trying to keep our life on the rails. And maybe it's not just something you are neutral to. Perhaps it's something you actually loathe. I don't know because you say "I don't know". I need to know my love. You close yourself off to me and I feel lonely. I feel alone. I am confused and alone and I just want to take your hand and figure it out together. Can we figure it out together?
I love so very, very much.