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Monday, April 2, 2012

Death by Fairytale

Lying in bed this evening, I broke the silence with, "I just want the life I planned, not some bullshit Plan B."

"The life you planned isn't real," he simply said. He said it like there was no solution to search for, no change to be made. It just is. Not real. Never was. Could never have been.

Am I the only one living in a state of hysteria over reality vs. fairytale? I already know the answer to that question. I'm far from the only one feeling this disappointment with life.

Just for fun I looked up the word "shock" at thesaurus.com. I'm a nerd like that. Following the obvious list of synonyms it stated:
Antonym: expectation. 

That's exactly what I'm here to write about. The exact opposite of my expectation, which is my life. And don't get me wrong, I wasn't one of those girls who thought the best thing I could get out of life was Cinderella's Prince Charming. Not even close. My desire was to be successful, to not waste time with children or husbands or homemaking. I grew up dreaming of exotic locations and respect in the workplace.

Until I met Joshua. The moment I met my son I realized I wanted a home, a family, a loving place for him to learn to be a man. Suddenly I wanted to stay home with my little boy and teach him everything I could possibly teach. I would never leave his side, and as I searched his big brown eyes for answers, I found them. I was to be his mother. I was to keep him fragile and strong, meek and proud. The whole reason for my living was to be his guide, his friend, his protector.

Then there was Steve. He was gorgeous and strong, sweet and caring, fun and hilarious, talented and charming. Steve took my tiny son in his strong arms and promised him the world. He was the one I needed to accomplish my dream, and once I knew that, there would be no turning back. When we went out together, people would say, "Oh, what a cute baby! He looks just like his daddy!" Steve was not his father, but he glowed and gave a genuine "Thank you" anyway. He was proud of my son.

The day I married Steve I didn't hear a word of the vows. I didn't see a single face in the audience. I remember my father's face just before he walked me down the aisle, and after that there was nothing but Steve's face, Steve's hand in mine, and the vision of our life together spreading out before us. It was not going to be perfect, and I knew that. I have never had delusions of a perfect marriage; one doesn't exist. But it was going to be ours, and my son would not know life without a complete, loving family.

Then came Asher, a new face to gaze into and dream of possibilities and teaching and loving.

What happened after that is a very long, complicated story that bores most of you by now. It's old news to my lifelong friends and family, and to newcomers it would certainly be long-winded and confusing. But here we are, about to celebrate our seven year wedding anniversary, in shock.

Lying in the dark, staring at the ceiling with only "The life you planned isn't real" to fill the silence.

When did I let the fairytale consume me, the fiercely independent spirit? And how did the fairytale go SO far off course along the way?

I don't believe in fairytales. But surely an expectation or two should come true?



38 comments:

  1. I have a feeling that life never turns out like we expect it to. If everything happened like we dreamed when we were young, that means we wouldn't change either...
    The good news is though - there is always movement, always change and everything is possible. There may be some adjustments, but it can still be fulfilling.
    My husband always says the same thing to me:"What you want doesn't exist, can't you ever be satisfied with what you have accomplished?"
    The answer is no, I can't.
    I don't think anybody is, for some it's just harder to come to terms with... in the end, we'll be fine ;)

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  2. I'm new here! Fill me in, or perhaps I should take a look around. I don't know your situation, but maybe you could write a new fairytale?

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  3. If you let go of all your expectations, then what do you have to strive for? Sure some goals might need to be edited along the way but it never hurts to dream.

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  4. Hmmm. . .like Sarcasm Goddess, I'm in the dark about what went wrong. But I do know that guys are very practical and sometimes their annoying-but-practical answers hold untold wisdom. What your husband said is probably exactly what my husband would have said in the same situation. And I would have been annoyed. But if I were married to someone who's as dreamy and flighty as I am, we'd have a problem, Houston!

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  5. Oh, I am like you too. Expectations are things that still upset me when they are not worked out as I expected. Something I am learning to let go of...sink into the where I am now. You are not alone, even if living something other than your ideal.

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  6. I hope you get the happily ever after, whatever it looks like. And I think they tend to happen when you let go of what you think SHOULD happen... <3

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  7. The life you planned isn't real<<love this...also I am desperate to know what you planned.

    i don't believe in fairy tales either but a few things going my way would make a world of difference for me. It sounds like it would do the same for you...here's hoping life doesn't continue to disappoint.

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  8. i hate when people's blog headers say "living my happily ever after". BULL. hahahah some people are living in oblivion while you and i can be realistic. i don't think that's a bad thing though. you are easy to relate to. BUT you can make the best of what you have and you can choose to focus on the positive like you said in a previous post. your life is what you make of it and in the end i really doubt you'll have any regrets based on the way you are living it now.

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  9. Now I'm curious! Off to try to unravel the crypto-city...

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  10. Hmm..interesting. I agree with a previous commenter - nothing is ever as it is planned in life..

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  11. As others have noted this is not a stand alone post for us newcomers. I looked around. Maybe you're talking about your PPD? Must be. Speaking strictly about expectations - yeah, that can knock us around pretty seriously. It's tricky to let go of all that, and look around to see what you've got, not what you've always expected to have. Sounds like you've got a practical husband. That alone is worth a lot. And supportive friends and family.

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  12. PPD has definitely thrown a wrench in things. Husband and I are simply mis-matched, so we struggle. A lot. Each day we have together is a day we weren't sure we would get - and sometimes a day we aren't sure we even want anymore. More explanation can be found at http://www.waytoomuchaubrey.com/p/my-family.html. Marriage is just hard, raising kids jointly is difficult, being a human is difficult. This post isn't about one thing, but many.

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  13. I definitely had certain expectations of my life...none of which have turned out exactly as planned. I don't know where my plans changed, but I'm happy some of my expectations didn't come true. Sometimes life has something better in mind than even you did to begin with...and then sometimes, it all just falls apart.

    Very well written and thought-provoking post. I hope happily ever after finds you soon.

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  14. I recently married... again... and I forgot how hard the first year is... reading this helped.

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  15. I relate to this even though I don't know the backstory. I went down a very dark and ugly road with PPD and psychosis. I've come out the other side a changed person and I'm not sure who I am anymore. Sometimes I feel like I'm floundering and just hoping for some lifeline to pull me out. I love the statement--'the life you planned isn't real' because I feel like I'm living that right now.

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  16. I don't know that anybody ever really gets the life they expected. Trust me when I say that my life has been NOTHING like what I dreamed it would be growing up. I guess the point is to keep forming new expectations and strive to reach them. An endless cycle that will be filled with both joy and, unfortunately, disappointment!

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  17. I just read some of the backstory, and even in light of this post, it doesn't change the love and resolve here. I love how you looked up shock (I am a dictionary dork too) and how you related what you found there to your experience. Part of why we write is to find a way to frame a situation and wrestle it into some kind of clear picture. That's clearly what you are doing---successfully, honestly, gracefully. Nice, Erin

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  18. Every now and again I look up from my daily comings and goings and say to myself "How did we end up HERE?"

    I don't think my own expectations were too much to ask for, and yet they are still so out of reach, 8 years later, that it sometimes seems impossible that we'll ever climb out of this hole. And the feeling is stretched across multiple aspects of our life. Sometimes I feel like we haven't done ANYTHING right.

    But we keep going forward, hoping that we're at least facing the right direction.

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  19. There is a lot of truth in Dorrie's advice: "Just keep swimming . . . just keep swimming" Then one day, you too will be saying, "Look! Turtles!" (or some other great discovery will present itself.)

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  20. I'm intrigued by your plans and by what actually happened (even though I'm fully aware it's probably not my business). I suspect that you could find a way to write it as well as you've written this and your other posts. Whatever's going on, I hope you can hang in there.

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  21. You are such. an. amazing. writer.
    I love your blog.
    You are at 7 years - there's a reason people invented the phrase "7 year itch." One thing that helped me was when someone explained to me that all marriages (and lives) go thru 3 phases - first phase is the "in love" phase - easy. 2nd is where it gets REAL (sounds like this might be where you are). This is the phase where most people give up, throw their hands up in the air and stomp off - they leave a relationship, divorce, act out, quit their job, get depressed, take up drinking etc. - but there is opportunity in this phase...to evolve. Hidden under all the mundane crap. And, if you get through it - to the other side - you get to "real" - to the real life you were meant to have, which probably looks nothing like what you "expected."
    I hope that helps. It sure helped me when I heard it.

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  22. marriage IS hard. i admire your courage in not only recognizing but embracing that fact and working so hard every day to make a successful happy family. my life is most certainly not what i or anyone else expected, but that's part of what makes it so unexpectedly magic. wonderful post.

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  23. Such an honest, clear post. If you would have told me twenty years ago that I would be where I am, I probably would have tried to by weed from you.

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  24. It might be that the fairy tale is closer to what you have than what you imagined.

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  25. This woman;s observations seem like they are relevant here: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=19753032&nid=1010

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  26. Marriage is hard. It can never be a fairytale, but it can be YOUR story. Which means you write it the way you want. The 'ending' is yours to decide. It seems to be that you have love, you have resolve - it can still be a happy story. Good luck Aubrey.

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  27. Marriage is damn hard and you're brave to write so honestly about it. I think we're all done a diservice growing up with this prince charming narrative. It's a total fiction. Partnership is work. I don't think there's a single human being I could live with and not get annoyed with sometimes. None of this is to belittle or pretend to know your struggles. I just very much relate to your disillusionment.

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  28. As someone who lived with the grief of unmet expectations - and as a daughter who regularly fails to meet her mothers expectations - I understand what you're saying. I do. In fact I recently quoted blogger Jon Acuff on To Write a Better Story about expectations: "Expectations are a funny thing. The tighter we hold on to an expectation, the more it shapes the actual experience. When you think something is going to go a certain way, you tend to judge how it actually went by your preconceived expectations. They become your measuring stick, filter and scoring system. What was ultimately just an idea in your head can strongly impact the reality in your life" Not that that statment makes anything better, I just thought since you put your words out there to the universe that I, one reader, gets it. Live on!

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  29. I'm like you. I don't believe in the fairy tale. But, I do believe in dreams and expectations. Not all of them come true, but some should. Like you said, at least one or two.
    This is so well-written and unflinchingly honest. Also, I would love to hear your story. :)

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  30. I'm new here too, but look forward to digging through the history.

    As far as fairy tales are concerned, they don't exist. But in my opinion, normalcy or lack thereof is a much better alternative.

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  31. I can so relate to this. After almost ten years of marriage I looked at myself and my life and didn´t like what I saw. It´s hard to put it in to words, but I think the feeling was exactly what you just described. It´s almost two years after feeling that way. I discovered that I had had ppd 3 times and began my road to recovery. In therapy I also started working on problems that had to do with my childhood. It has been a long year for me, and I not there yet, but I realize that my take on life has changed,dramatically. Nothing in my life has changed, I have changed, and it makes all the difference in the world.
    You will not always feel this way.
    I admire you for being so honest! Lots of love.

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  32. Oh, I want to know what happened, too!

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  33. Maybe I can find a way to tell my story for the next yeah write session... I will work on it! If Robbie can tell her story, anyone can.

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  34. Awesome post! I love how your story unfolded. Beautifully written.

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  35. Oh wow, tell me more!!!!

    ~The G is Silent

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. New reader here. I also never dreamed of the perfect marriage...is there one? And I never had the tick tock of a biological clock. I love being a mom though (most days) and some days I actually have to pinch myself 'cuz I wasn't sure I would ever be. Great post.

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  38. 7 years is when my hubby and I had the hardest time in our marriage. It has gotten so much better than then! I think the most important thing is that both people want to make each other happy.

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