With my middle school students, I attempted to watch Red Table Talk with the Curry family, when Ayesha Curry so famously spoke last month about wanting to receive more attention. She got dragged on social media for seeing extramarital attention despite lots of love from her man, and I was trying to bring it up to teach a lesson about listening to statements in context and not paying attention to soundbites to make a decision about someone or something (read: politics). We've also been having issues with students using social media to expose each other and tell all of their business, so I'm always trying to teach lessons about viral mentality, and how we search for negative ways to gain attention and start drama.
My students weren't really engaged in the discussion, but one of the most profound things I learned from that episode is that all womyn experience phases within their marriages or long-term partnerships with someone. Today is our 7th wedding anniversary, and so I am marinating on the idea that your priorities change. At first you are love and committed to one another. Then, you bring forth life and are committing to raising your children. People always tell us to spend time on and with each other, and for the most part, this is advice we have ignored. Mulay and I are both very private people in many ways, and crave being alone. So, when we have time away from kids, we often spend it in a solitary way, and that's okay, too.
We will make it through this phase, because we prefer to spend lots of time together as the four of us. While there must be a balance of some just-adult time thrown in, I hope we learn to build that in our new life here by supporting our friends' music, art and business adventures. I hope we get to have friends again someday soon, as we have lost what we love, which is to entertain and invite people over. I hope our new home will be a place of community and joy. I need joy with my whole soul right now.
I used to famously say that I was never getting married or having kids, because I couldn't imagine giving up myself to those things, and I have given up whole sections of who I am to be a mother and a wife. I have learned how to carve out small spaces for myself, but all the self-care in the world cannot heal what has broken in me. I try to take it gracefully as a blessing to have company, to have beings who love me with all they have and will hopefully keep me company throughout my life.
The idea that we must compromise our selfishness to give to other people what they need everyday is not one that Americans adjust to very well. We are taught to center ourselves in this society, and it's something I've always found problematic. I hope that we get to experience daily life outside America one day, so that my children can see and my husband can remember the beauty of life without constant bombardment with advertisements and shaming: "buy the product that will change your life!"
Love is difficult. It is beautiful, it holds you in rapture, it is warm and comforting, but it is also struggle and tears against yourself and not seeing eye to eye. It is struggling NOT to grow and having your partner tell you that you should. It is challenging one another's bad habits. It is learning how and when to speak with each other, and how to retreat if the other person isn't ready to talk. It is giving space when you want to talk. It is holding space for them, and them holding space for you. It is still choosing them every single day.