“I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure.”
—Dr. Oatman, Grosse Pointe Blank
Unlike the image At Home With The Me may conjure, this series of posts will not be about me hanging out at home in my oldest sweats with a pint of Häagen Dazs in one hand, Sauvignon Blanc in the other, and all the episodes of Frasier queued up on my DVR. This is a series of posts about being okay with who you are.
The thing I love most about Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project is her commandment to “Be Gretchen.” She writes:
“I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am. Sometimes I pretend even to myself to enjoy activities that I don’t really enjoy, such as shopping, or to be interested in subjects that don’t much interest me, such as foreign policy. And worse, I ignore my true desires and interests.”
Lots of people getting divorced talk about rediscovering who they are and rekindling old hobbies and interests. Sometimes this is a reshuffling of priorities after a major life change, making time for things that got edged out among the demands of marriage and work and kids. But sometimes this need to rediscover yourself runs deeper.
I was married to a man who disliked who I am. Writing those words hurts, though not as much as it did when I finally admitted the truth. What began as normal conflicts and irritations grew until he decided that my taste in books and movies and TV shows, my introversion, my need for downtime, my favorite leisure activities, my love of holiday rituals, and my early-to-bed-early-to-rise internal clock meant we were incompatible. My friends were boring, my writing genre was embarrassing, and returning to my faith creeped him out.
Some of you are about to pop an artery because you’ve been down this same road, so for those of you who haven’t, this is called being devalued. The standard, responsible advice is to have those hard conversations about your issues, preferably with a good marriage counselor.
Me, I suggest checking your partner’s phone and computer, and finding out where he or she really was last Saturday night. I wouldn’t rule out a private investigator, either. Because when the fate of your marriage seems to rest on whether or not you like the remake of 21 Jump Street, you can be fairly certain your partner has found someone (or several someones) who, ermahrgard, adores all the same stuff your partner does! And understands him! And makes him feel special! Whether the extramarital relationship is emotional or physical, the betrayal will hurt like nothing you’ve ever felt before. And you, always prattling on about childcare and housework and responsibility, will be told condescendingly that someday you too will meet someone “more your speed.”
Or, you know, maybe you just need to find some shared interests and schedule a few date nights. I don’t know you and I’m not a licensed counselor. Take my words with an extra large grain of salt.
Anyway, back to Be Yourself—Once You Figure Out Who The Hell That Is. After a few years of internalizing the idea that I’m an antisocial homebody with crap taste in entertainment who’s missing the fun gene, my marriage ended. And I felt like a void who used to be a person. One day I decided to write down all the things I loved because I couldn’t remember what those things were.
Now it’s your turn. This simple activity will give you a little happiness buzz and remind you of the things you love, rather than the ginormous loss you’re grieving. Here’s my list, in no particular order, guilty pleasures included. Writing this list reminds me there are still good things in life. I’d love to see your favorite things in the comments.
Jenna’s Favorite Things
- My kids
- The beach
- Lemon Drop Martinis
- Häagen Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream
- The Big Bang Theory
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer
- The ’90s
- Pop-punk music
- Warehouse 13
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- The X-Files
- Hallmark movies
- Homemade cookies
- Family dinners
- Fannie Flagg
- Christopher Moore
- Elmore Leonard
- Darynda Jones
- Susan Elizabeth Philips
- Jennifer Crusie
- Cozy mysteries
- Game of Thrones
- Disney World
- Big Band
- Campy movies
- Bruce Campbell
- Dwayne Johnson
- Patrick Stewart