Sunday, April 1, 2012

Alone with the Critic in My Head

The difference between Matt being gone and Matt being here in terms of how I behave is only ever clear after he leaves. I hold to the notion that having him around really isn't very different from being by myself, in that I don't censor myself really at all, I don't feel compelled to act one way or another, I don't change into someone that he could like better than "the real me" - it's just me. Behaving like somebody else is just too much work. And I'm fortunate that he brings out the best in me. I've had boyfriends who have brought out the worst, and it was...bad.

Anyway, this morning, I woke up around 7:00, still tired (my sleep has gotten whittled at opposite ends over the last few months, for some reason, and I don't really know what to do about it). Rather than jumping out of bed and getting to the gym or to work, which was what I thought I'd do last night, I stayed in bed and read my book. I got up for breakfast and brought it back to bed, and read on until 9:00.

In the abstract, I really enjoy getting a jump on the day in terms of work or chores, starting at 7:30 so I can finish up by early afternoon, but most mornings I don't really feel like it when I'm still in bed. If Matt had been here, I'd've risen, foraged for food, and set to work. (I probably still wouldn't have gone to the gym.) I'd have been too ashamed to be a slugabed. Somebody else would have been nearby, and would hence have eyewitness evidence that I'd stayed in bed for two gratuitous hours when I could have gotten the productive part of my day going. Obviously it's not a very big deal, a big thing to be ashamed of, since I'm admitting it on the internet. But someone observing it is a whole different thing than admitting it after the fact.

There's tons of stuff like this that Matt prevents me from doing, without intending to. His second pair of eyes helps me to see my errors and overlookings, and while it makes me critical of myself in ways that I think he doesn't cotton to - he's told me over and over that he doesn't give a damn if I can't keep the bedroom tidy - it also helps me not to have that sort of bacheloresque, this-ain't-the-Ritz attitude which I think is pretty bad to slip into. Hard to get out of, and hard not to be self-centered when you're in it.

When he's not around, the critic in my head who needles about what Matt will think if he witnesses me doing this or that just...falls silent. It's more of a wheedle than a needle when I'm on my own, because I genuinely don't care about the bedroom being messy except for a) what bad things about my personality it potentially reflects that I can't keep it neat, and b) how it looks to others that I can't keep it neat. These worries are a lot more muffled by myself.

I don't think Matt would care if I stayed in bed until 9:00. (Especially on a Sunday.) Or if I left my crap everywhere instead of nominally putting it away before going to bed. Or if I spent another half-hour than I intended to poking around town before coming back home after class yesterday morning, which I did, because I wasn't in any hurry to get home. I don't think he would think any less of me, or that I would become less attractive to him. But I feel a responsibility to this other human in my life not to be a person who lives entirely by her own lights when he's around. To be the best me. The one he helps me to be.

This brings up all sorts of questions for me about gender and expectations, and those topics in the context of marriage, but I think I'll just leave it where it is. In the last month or so, I've gotten really, really tired of thinking about gender, getting angry about it, discovering where my position lies on Issues of Gender. Fuck it. I just want to live. And occasionally have a lie-in on Sundays.

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