I don’t think anyone ever taught me what it means to be a wife.
As my September wedding approaches, this is something I think about fairly often – maybe more often than I’d like to admit. My brain says it isn’t a question I should have to ask, isn’t something that can be taught. After all, there’s no one “right” way to be a wife. Isn’t the freedom to be anything we want – and to wife any way we want – part of what I’ve been fighting for when I shout the endless shout that is the call for women’s rights?
But the deepest parts of my heart sometimes wonder is this something I’m cut out to do?
Many, many things in my history suggest it is not. When I used to bring boys home in high school, my mom would say to them – jokingly – “Now, you know she’s messy, right? She’s messy and she can’t cook worth a lick.” Both of these things are true, and so even if I knew she was joking, they stung just the same. My mom has always been a brave woman, a tough woman, an absolute bear of a woman. She has never been afraid of doing anything wrong, of being anything wrong. And so she didn’t know the joke would sting. She didn’t understand, I think, how deeply I fear that I am constantly wrong, constantly a mis-fit for anything I try.
As a kid, I knew that I was smart. But that was the only thing I really knew about myself – smart and maybe a little stubborn. I held onto it like a shining talisman. “I’m smart. I can do anything because I’m smart. I don’t need anything else. I don’t need anyone else.” I said it to myself over and over again. But in the back of my mind were all those things I couldn’t do – the things that I thought might form a wife, might make me into someone a person could love. Because in the world where I grew up, that’s the true accomplishment for someone who is beloved – the accomplishment of becoming a wife.
I was embarrassed to want it, but somewhere deep down, it was the only thing I wanted at all.
A couple of months ago, the lovely Kate and I decided to start a website. We jumped into this endeavor with both feet because we have a passion for writing, and also because we wanted to present the world with an alternative to the obnoxious, ad-laden, content-deprived websites we seem to encounter in all directions these days.
It’s certainly been a learning experience. Butch Please is bigger than a simple blog. We want it to be bigger, but that also means it’s a lot more work. To keep things running, we’re each wearing more than one hat. And this past week has taught me that the requisite “mad computer skillz” hat is a bit too big for me.
I moved our site to a different hosting platform. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it brought us nothing but drama and heartache and a website no one could access, so yesterday, I switched us back. Your Butch Please experience should resume working as it did before. If you encounter any further weirdness, please let us know.
We’ve been running content as usual, but in case you missed it, allow me to point you to all the articles we posted during the switch:
Being loud and proud can be a tricky thing for an introvert. I’m a private person by nature, and whenever I find myself in a crowd of strangers (a scenario I actively avoid at all costs), my first instinct is to find a quiet, out of the way corner where I can sit and breathe and be left alone. In moments like this, I wish to be invisible.
Kate and I recently returned from our yearly trip to Nova Scotia. This was our first visit as wives! My family is always extremely warm to Kate (if you ask me, they could stand to tone it down a bit), but the area I’m from is rural and extremely small. I’m never confident of how non-relatives will interpret us. I don’t expect harassment, necessarily, but I do prepare myself for mild confusion and inappropriate questions.
The Mrs and I aren’t big on PDA in front of strangers. I think that’s equal parts introversion and queer nervousness. If we’re out together and we’re not holding hands or touching, I can understand someone not immediately guessing that we’re a couple. But sometimes people don’t clue in even when I’ve explicitly spelled it out. When this happens, it comes across as selective hearing, and that sort of bums me out. Continue reading “#YHZ – Spelling It Out”→
In 2006, when I was eleven, I attended a camp for young writers, and I fell hard for a boy that I met there. I had a crush on him from the first time that we spoke. One day, we walked together as all of the campers made their way down to the river. While we were walking, I remember him mentioning that he identified as bisexual. I had previously assumed that everyone was capable of having feelings for anyone, like I did. Once he corrected me, I knew that I had a new label for myself.
Being in therapy had given me other labels, already. At that time, I knew that I had clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. As the years went on, I was able to overcome my depression, but added Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the diagnosis list instead. A few years later, I gained a new diagnosis: having some of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder. My internal life has often felt like a collection of acronyms: BPD, LGBTQ+, PTSD, with a nice marinade of anxiety and dysmorphia just to keep things interesting.
I recently got back from vacationing with my wife. Among our many adventures in Nova Scotia, we stayed at the inn where she proposed to me, as is usual with our trips out east. The little inn shall remain unnamed, but they offer a small glass-door cupboard of books for guests to borrow, with a request to return for others to enjoy.
There were three or four shelves in a cupboard about two feet wide, so there weren’t a whole lot of books. It’s quite an eclectic mix, I must say. There were a few titles by L. Ron Hubbard, and several books in other languages. There was a 2006 – 2007 copy of Sunday Missal: Living with Christ and a small Lizzie McGuire chapter book.
But this immediately caught my eye: The New Illustrated Medical Encyclopedia For Home Use.
This beauty had four volumes, and looked old. I thought for sure it would be an entertaining read.
I brought it back to our room and delved in. It was published in 1959, back when having a medical encyclopedia for home use was a good idea and wouldn’t lead to chronic hypochondria.