The Good, The Beautiful, The Bliss

This photo was taken for a photo tour of my house a few years back. But I go back to it often, because it sums us up. On the porch, having tea, together. 

In a few short days (Saturday) IZ and I will celebrate 22 years together. Married.  We don’t count those years before because that number is getting ridiculously large!

Wedded bliss? Um, sometimes.

Wedded strife? Um, sometimes.

Mostly, it’s two people committed to striving together. And that in itself, is a beautiful thing.

It’s the nature of marriages, any marriage. You bump into things you weren’t expecting. Life hands you lemons. You make lemonade or margaritas. You squabble. You row. You fight. You endeavor toward intimacy. And it’s not always pretty.

But I choose to write about the good. The beautiful. The bliss. And I will continue to do so, despite the recent impulse of the  blogosphere to bare its soul. While I applaud the willingness of bloggers to get real and share the hard stuff. To forsake, if only for a few moments, the urge to “pretty it up” and make it seem presentable. When it comes to my marriage, I blog the beauty.

I’ll show you my laundry. And the works in progress. And weeds in the yard along with the before pictures and the posts about failed recipes. I’ll tell you that I struggle with my weight and staying on task and being charitable to neighbors who kill my roses.

I will not blog our arguments or our petty disagreements. And my choice has nothing to do with fear. I’m not fronting or pretending that my marriage is perfect. I just choose to talk about the good as a matter of principle and discipline. The implication, that by not sharing our dirt, I’m somehow “less authentic” makes me bristle. I can’t help but wonder when did it become OK rat out your partner for the sake of blog authenticity?

But then, I also don’t call my girlfriends or gossip over coffee about the content of those arguments either.

You know who I do talk about those arguments with? IZ. Usually, it’s me all animated, talking as fast as I’m walking, as we put in the daily miles around the neighborhood. Call me old fashioned (I SO AM) I just think those moments belong to us. (I mean, if you want to camp out along our route and watch, be my guest.) And maybe a therapist or minister if ever needed. But, certainly not the internet. It’s not fear, folks. It’s respect and a mutual unspoken agreement that we have each other’s backs. No matter what we might be thinking about each other at the moment.

And I know that sounds a bit preachy—so let me soften it a bit. If only because, if I am afraid to tell you something, it’s that I worry you’ll judge me for drawing this line. IZ and I promised each other 22 years ago “for better or for worse” to cherish each other. Ratting him out on the internet isn’t cherishing him, in my book. Writing about all the woes isn’t cherishing the hard work and determination marriage requires. Pointing out the cracks and crevices and uneven edges of our marriage, doesn’t feel like cherishing. It feels like complaining. And, trust me, (Oh my aching joints!) I do enough of that already! The line between being authentic and over-sharing is a thin thing. We cannot hope to define it for others. But, like the old adage about porn, we know it when we see it. It troubles me greatly, this trend of spilling out guts for the sake of authenticity.

So, I tell you the good, the beautiful, the bliss because those moments so far outweigh any of the struggle. And I share the good, the beautiful, the bliss because it is the result of everything we’ve been through together. The strife, well it’s just the cement, folks. It’s grout. It’s the necessary conflict required to obtain intimacy. And it’s between us. Just us.

5 Responses to “The Good, The Beautiful, The Bliss”

  • CitricSugar:

    A healthy respect for the boundaries of “ours”.

    There is an inherent irony in the fact that people who don’t blog about every nitty, gritty detail are frequently called out as “inauthentic” by other people who would quickly hide the gossip mags, clean the bathroom and put on makeup if you said you were swinging by to drop something off in real life.

    I admire your preservation of privacy. So often we expose ourselves as bloggers and a desire to be more “real” and too many of us give such little thought to who else we are leaving naked that we don’t even consider whether or not they asked to be exposed as well. Quite frankly, I find the cherishing far more real than the so-called “authentic” bloggers who try so hard to find a voice that they come off as selfish and shallow, and more than a little attention-seeking. They’re strangers in the elevator who over-share and make the hostage audience uncomfortable….

    Happy anniversary, you two. Perfect or not, you are still on my list of marital heroes. 🙂

    • wende:

      Thank you, Carly—for listening and hearing what I was saying. I struggled, obviously, because this post is on Evidently. I had written it for Mireio, but the more I sat with it, the more I felt like it belonged over here. Not sure why yet, other than I’m still trying to find my voice over there and this place probably still feels “safer”.

      I’ll confess, I shake my head often at the whole blogging phenomenon. And I’ve been blogging for 10 years! My mother once called me narcissistic for blogging (Um, hello kettle) but while the criticism hurt, there is some merit to it, right? I mean, who puts their WHOLE life up on the internet for the world to read?

      And that’s the crux of the problem. If we put our WHOLE life up, we’re being narcissistic. Seriously, with no boundaries, not even our own, we expose it all and have the lovely option of labeling it “authentic.”

      But if we only put parts up, only share “edited” versions of ourselves we risk being called liars or inauthentic or duplicitous. Or vain. I love that one, vain.

      And there are risks to both approaches. You clearly articulated the risks to blogging it all–it’s the boundary of the “other”. Both the reader’s and the people you exploit for content.

      But there’s a risk of a highly edited life. I think, far worse than the criticism of the internet, is the potential to believe your own hype and then to stop really living your life, but “producing the big moments” necessary to keep your blog readers.

      And it’s rampant in the blogging world. I suspect, it’s the impulse behind the “TIATTY” meme that’s so currently fashionable. The line of authenticity is so exceedingly thin, I’ve begun to wonder if it’s even possible to walk it.

      I live in fear of falling over either side—it’s part of why I moved the blog and started focusing on a different “lens”. Not because there isn’t real stuff going on in my life—but because it felt like it was time to concentrate my efforts in one direction, instead of this “here’s my whole life” approach. And I kept bumping up against, self-inflicted I’ll confess, boundaries that made the whole “Let it all hang out” approach feel like a violation of everyone around me.

      And here I’ve gone and blogged in the comments! I’d tell myself to “get a blog” except, um, this is mine.

      I love you CHICA! And am super super proud of you.



  • I’m pretty open and real, but don’t blog it all. There is a line over which I try not to cross. (sometimes I don’t succeed at that) There is suitable blog fodder and then there is truly private stuff that I share with friends over coffee dates. 🙂

  • Personally, I get both sides. I prefer to blog the prettiest parts most of the time because I want to be able to look back and not cringe at previous posts. My blog is a source of inspiration for me, so I want to keep it looking and feeling nice.

    That said, there’s something really cathartic about showing that not everything is always perfect or smooth. Funnily enough, the posts that I’ve done that were the most authentic (if the problem is with the word “authentic”, sorry that I don’t have a better word) were the ones that really spoke to people. Which is awesome because those were the ones that were terrifying to post – I left myself vulnerable and open, which is never easy, and the responses were like warm hugs.

    Now, the difference between my posts and the ones you’re talking about was that I was only exposing ME. I feel that my personal life is private, and out of respect for loved ones, nothing serious or major goes on my blog to protect their privacy. I’m like a crazy momma bear protecting her cubs when it comes to my family!

    I think how private to keep personal stuff is a line everybody’s got to figure out for themselves. It took me *years* before I felt comfortable even using my last name online – it was always Brandi from Catie’s Blue or Brandi from Brandi Girl Blog. Now that I’ve done it, I’m glad I did, but I think that’s about as personal as I’m going to get.

    I do kind of admire those willing to move the line a little further than I did, because there are several blogs that I follow who share family stories that I love hearing. But I know where my line is, and that’s just fine for me.

    • wende:

      I think we all have to walk that line for ourselves. And I think it comes across clearly when someone is writing with consent or their own truths vs when someone is using the “drama” of their life for entertainment. And even then, with consent, who am I to judge? I just don’t read. It’s kinda simple, in that regard!

      What bothers me, just a tinge, is that this has become a “movement”… and I wonder how many people are really thinking about the implications before the press “submit”.

      I’ve blogged about this topic for ages to much criticism. My biggest concern is intent. Which I can’t really judge… I’m just asking that people 1. recognize how thin the line is, and 2. be aware that we must own our own stories.

      Tricky business, eh?

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