Writing101 – Day Nineteen Prompt

Okay – a Challenge?  Well, for someone who isn’t too keen on publishing free writing – yep!

At least 400 words (oh….that’s hard…..yeah, right.)

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So I was writing in my journal this morning about competition and what I think about it.  I’m still unclear.  I don’t consider myself a competitive person because I never was athletic or played sports, but of course, that’s a big fat lie.  I continually compared myself to others in the classroom.  With grades and test scores and all that stuff.  In fact, it was so toxic to my sense of self, that I think I’ve been putting up a big defense against it.  Telling myself I’m not in competition with someone else.

But it’s right here in my house.

Hubster is writing, too.  We have a joint blog but I don’t write on it a lot anymore – I’m over here writing away.  Since he’s also writing everyday, he’s actually written and finished a first draft of a novel.  It’s pretty good for a first draft – I’m reading it right now.  And I’m kindof jealous.  I’m also proud.  I’m also happy for him and even for me – if we can sell this, great.  Maybe make a few shekels – maybe not.  Plus, he’s had fun with it.

But mostly, I’m in awe.  He’s shipped something.  I’m not so great at that.  I guess, in a bigger sense, now that we’re both retired, we’re trying to find good things to do – and some of them cannot be the same things.  I’m trying to practice my writing although I don’t have any end game in mind.  I’m not working on a novel.  I wrote over 50,000 words on one a couple years ago during NaNoWriMo, but I’ve never finished it.  I just wasn’t sure about it, after all.  Who would read it, I wondered?

And maybe that’s part of the problem – part of my sense of jealousy or competitiveness and comparison.  Can we both be good?  Can we both just use writing for whatever reasons we use it?  Do we even have to like what the other person writes?

I’m the one who wants some space – he comes over and touches me, pets me.  I like it – mostly.  But sometimes, like a little kid, I’m like – too much!  Leave me alone.  I don’t want to be left alone entirely, I just want a little bit of breathing room.  And now we’re both writing?

I’m not going to figure out the ins and outs of marital stuff in one writing, I know that.  It always feels dense and uncomfortable and faintly irreligious – I love this man.  I do.  But I need to spend time alone.  I get up earlier now to go downstairs, to write in my journal – behind a closed door.  He writes in his office, behind a closed door and I type away upstairs.  Usually that’s enough space, but sometimes . . . it just isn’t.

I wish I had a good template for how much togetherness was optimal – how much we can do the exact same thing and have it be our own.  And not be each others.  I don’t have that template.  I lurch forward and backwards – come closer, go away.  Leave me alone, I miss you.  I get withdrawn and then I approach.  He looks hurt when I pull away – then I come forward and repair.

I want my work to be better, but then I realize how petty and childish that sounds.  Then I want to retreat and just stop writing entirely.  I want to keep mine secret, so he won’t read it.  But he’s not invasive.  That was my mother.  She was unable to give me any privacy and that’s not the case now.  I guess I do tend to judge him guilty for her earlier crimes.

Okay.  So he’s not my mother.  You think I’d know that by now.  But there it is – it’s an old feeling.

He’ll probably read this.  I don’t want hurt feelings over my own bullshit, so I hope he keeps it in context.  My best self wants him to succeed – and wants me to succeed, too.  My worst self is petty and feels wanting and scared.  I don’t want to operate from this self and sometimes I do.

I hate that I’m human some days.




3 thoughts on “Writing101 – Day Nineteen Prompt

  1. You have no idea how much I can relate to this post. Not the least of which is your opening taunt “oh….that’s hard…..yeah, right.”
    The there’s Competition – the sixth grade teacher set me up for a lifetime of comparing myself to my classmates.
    And Templates – I shall forever been in search of THAT holy grail.
    Now, this is just a bit woo-woo. Not 15 minutes ago, in a parallel universe, just about the time you were writing about too little/too much space/touch, I was re-visiting a discussion I had with my own husband. He likes to hold hands. He considers hand-holding an essential. I, on the other hand (forgive me) do not. If we are out walking, holding hands, and I need to, say, reach in my pocket for a tissue and blow my nose, he resists letting go… not quite a refusal, but it requires more effort to extract my hand than what I think is warranted.

    He’s clearly told me it’s important to him. Why cannot I use that valuable information as a road-map? Why is it an issue in the first place? What is it about me that doesn’t want to acquiesce?

    Loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much, Maggie. Ahhh, I think us old married folks (or folks in any close relationships) always seem to be paired up thusly. I’ve been the one who wanted MORE, and in this marriage, I’m the one who wants a bit less. Not necessarily a lot less, but definitely, I need more space. You know I was a psychotherapist, right? I took a year-long course at UCLA with a wonderful master therapist all about marriage counseling (this was years ago). Dr. B. talked about how this is one of the primary differences between couples – and, although we may think it’s generally the woman who wants all the closeness and the man who wants the space, it can go either way. As to your reluctance to, as you put it, acquiesce. I wonder about myself in a similar way. My best answer (today) is that I have a very primitive and atavistic fear that he will engulf me if I give in. Of course, realistically, this is nonsense! But, it’s a fear nevertheless. Your husband (maybe like my husband) may have a fear of being abandoned. Those are the twin fears going on usually. Of course, your answers to yourself may be different, but that’s what I suspect for me. I don’t want to “cease to exist” as a separate person. Again, I wouldn’t, not realistically, but how many years ago was it that women DID somewhat cease to exist upon marriage? Maybe it’s not such an unrealistic fear after all. All I know is that in the “art of the compromise” we have to give them reassurance that we are not leaving permanently, and we have to be gentle and kind when we leave for periods of time. I hope this helps! Thanks for reading. Best, Laura

  3. G’day Zental Floss,

    Thank goodness, I now see I am not alone, he the touchy feely warm snuggle up type, I the distant, outwardly scornful of anything pink type, What a dance, who’s compromise the most painful, ahhhhhhhh if only we could answer that to the satisfaction of both parties. I have enjoyed the above posting far too much. :-).

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