I’ve committed to reading more. Beginning a meditation practice. And so here goes. Day 1, the 2nd day of summer. Yesterday’s bout of depression had me down too low to write, but today is sunny and I began it on a good note: happy memories in an Instagram message from my friend Ava. She shares my passion for astrology, and spent a dinner last night enlightening me to my Venus and Mars natures. She got out her phone and quickly looked up my star chart for reference, as I doubted whether I was a Taurus moon, but her mind is a steel trap — she remembered that one conversation where I shared that. And she was right. But she also confirmed my own Ms. Frizzle nature — I am a Venus in Aquarius, meaning my love language is of the Air element — I like to wear my hair differently, I am attracted and aroused by the cerebral. This is a thoroughly stumping yet not at all surprising fact about myself, and I wonder, why did I pick Stanley? My anxiety, little shoulder demon that it is, has a million negative things to say — you were just physically attracted to him, he was your way out of Christianity, you were not in a good place because you just got in a car accident and needed a “hero” (what would the start to our relationship have been like if I didn’t promptly get into a major car accident? What would the start to our relationship have been like if I hadn’t been chastised and held hostage to Christian women’s ideals and values?)….there is no way to know. No.Way.To.Know. Why do I care to know? I think of it as some roadmap back in time, but I am losing my faith in psychoanalysis because I don’t like what it does to reinforce my negative mind. My current therapist, a Cognitive Behavioral practitioner, says that our neural pathways get wired and reinforced, and therapy is about reinforcing new pathways. The pathway that is so reinforced in my mind involves leaving — I left for college when my dad preferred I stay home like my dreadfully immature cousin; I left the dorms when I couldn’t stand their noise and shallow parties; I left the Christian Missionary Alliance church for the Southern Baptist church because I craved fundamental rules in my life; I left my hometown because I hated the heat of the desert and the bleak, brown skyline; I left my first teaching job because I felt I had failed students of poverty (even though that’s who I most want to teach now); I left the school district that hired me in the recession after 8 years because I couldn’t stand for being paid less than another district would pay me, and I hated the anti-tax culture that made asking for things a crime; and now, I sit with the horrible question of leaving my marriage because it isn’t … what? Isn’t intellectual enough? I said I don’t like psychoanalysis, but I guess I just did that to myself. I pride myself on the length of my relationships — those have stood the test of time. So where is this obsession with leaving my marriage coming from? I think it’s coming from those damned ingrained neural pathways my therapist is talking about. I have an internal culture of leaving if something isn’t what I want it to be. Granted, some of the things in my leaving list have been healthy for me — I don’t miss the desert, and I don’t miss Christianity. In fact, I rage against Christianity. But that isn’t necessarily healthy. Christianity and Christians are all aiming for the same thing I am…personal security. Happiness. Answers to life’s eternal questions. Deep intellectual discussions about God were always my favorite part of having a religion. But my job….that hasn’t produced more happiness. I like getting paid more, I like who I work with. But I don’t necessarily enjoy teaching itself more. And I have regrets about how I left Christianity. I slunk away, tail between my legs, hoping no one would notice, shamed by the women in my household, instead of facing them head on with a, Shut the Fuck Up kind of attitude. I would still have needed to move out, but I could very well have made a scene over how they were treating me, in the name of feminism, instead of becoming a victim. So there it is then….the narrative of the victim. I think I’m addicted to being a victim of circumstance. I had to leave my darling second teaching job, because it was a one year only contract. I had to leave that house of women, who I had found because I had to leave my apartment because my roommate was moving to Hawaii. Where is the language of empowerment in my marriage? I did not have to marry, although my inner Christian norms made it seem like I did. I still wanted to wait til engagement to have sex, so that seemed necessary. So how can I honor that I was operating under an old school of thought, while still enjoying my choice to be married now? I think I’m really hard on myself. I don’t see myself as the idea teacher, because I felt like I had to pick teaching, and so it feels like wearing an itchy suit sometimes. And yet, I get beyond thrilled at science teacher conferences, talking shop, and I thoroughly love and admire and aspire to be so many teachers. It’s a noble profession. Why do I treat myself like a sham? I think I am doing the same thing to my marriage. One just, gets married, that’s a thing of your 20s, so I aimed for it, and I did it, and mental health issues STILL struck me and strike me, and I was looking for a savior, a way out of them. So now for proper labeling. This sinking feeling in my chest — this is anxiety. If I just say it enough, if I just write it enough, will I believe it? It’s anxiety — about an uncertain future, an uncertainty of love, an uncertainty of anything. Can I embrace this uncertainty, call it mine, love it, kindly embrace it, and move through marriage? That is my goal.