Monday, 15th of February, 2016
Despite conscious efforts to sail the uncertain seas in a positive manner, Cam and I had a fight. It seems valuable to share so you know what fighting is for us. I consider arguing, bickering, disagreeing with raised voices, or any conversations that includes tears or door slamming, as fighting. Fighting can be related to in varying degrees amongst couples, measured in depth and quantity. Some couples don’t fight at all, and some couples fight a lot. Some couples fight but would not ever admit it. Some couples can’t fight and probably should be more fully and freely expressive.
Cam and I are in the now and then we fight category. When we do have a fight, it measures up as a very intense loud conversation, within which, maybe sometimes I will cry. Something good can usually come of it, so I am open to a little fighting if it is for positive growth, but I am conscious of what too much fighting is and what nonsense fighting is, and so I make a mental note of our fights. This was our first fight for 2016, and last year we had only a few full feeling fights. As I said, fights come in various degrees, and can be the result of various external pressures, or a need for personal growth, so I think one must be sensible when one draws personal lines. A few fights a year is enough for me.
Our fight this morning began when I started a conversation about wanting to do a Ted Talk. I was feeling empowered to verbalize some of my grander life ideas, one of which is to do a Ted Talk. It is funny that I should have to feel especially empowered to utter this out loud, but I do because regular me just does the laundry and the cooking. Being a speaker at Ted is dreaming big! I mean, to present at Ted, people must want to listen to you. Anyway, I was sharing my inspiration with Cam, while he was making breakfast.
“I want to do a Ted talk, actually, I might want to do lots of Ted talks, but I should start with just one.”
My affirmative blabbering continued on with what I would do a Ted talk about, “My first Ted talk would have to be about celebrating motherhood and the power of parental love, and how the role of parents should be celebrated in a greater way in America, because really it is the love we raise our children with that shapes the world we live in. Love rules the world, and we need more of it, starting first with mothering!”
I was very excited, and feeling a little FF>> Family First I suppose, and despite it being a very innocent moment of sharing my truth with Cam, it somehow smoldered into a warm debate and then a hot fight. My exuberance and seemingly loose grip on reality must have been annoying and in hindsight I can see I was dreaming too big at an inappropriate juncture of our life, because suddenly my own husband was arguing with me that it isn’t love that rules the world, it is money and politics.
The kettle of water on the stove was echoing our temperament. The blue flame beneath was changing the molecules of water, steam was rising and billowing out the spout. The water was very close to boiling point and the kettle was about to spit. “Banks have the power Kirsten.” Cam said with a sharp tone as he poured hot water into his coffee beaker. Instantly, I felt provoked. “That’s not true!” I said. “Yes, banks are powerful, but even beneath banks there is an energetic force and it can and should be love!” You must know I am that low burning flame so easy to flare up. It made me so mad when he said that. Heresy in my own home!
So there I was in the kitchen in the midst of a spiel about love, explaining that all those bankers were children once, raised by mothers, “The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world” sort of stuff, and Cam was debating me, and so I made a huge leap in the conversation to dispute the only reason money prevails as a superpower is because of war, and if there was more love there would not be war and people’s relationship to money as a ruler of life would change. This seemed like a tangent to him, it was over simplified, but sometimes I am like that… and this flabbergasted him. “You are all over the place. I can’t discuss this with you, always with the drama!” and he started waving his arms around in the air to indicate my eccentricities.
Now the moment I feel criticized for my intellect, passions or connection to the cosmic forces I get very defensive. To me, it was not that I was “All over the place” it was actually that he was not willing to make that mental leap, and he wasn’t being my proper husband, you know, the husband that I want him to be. He chose then instead to make the conversation about me being illogical. It is a common strategy in political debates these days, don’t answer questions or explain, just tell the opponent they are dumb.
I screwed up my face and flames burst out of my eyes. Which does not sound very pretty, I know. Cam had poked at me personally, I felt I had to remind him that isn’t ok, and that is when our debate turned into a fight.
“You know, instead of telling me I am all over the place, you could sculpt me into a better debater! I said with a raised voice. “Instead of quelling me, so I will shut up, you could choose instead to direct me positively. Imagine if you were thinking me smarter instead of thinking me dumb!” I snapped at him.
My passions can be volatile and I should have been more mindful to enter such a conversation while the bread-winner of our family wasn’t winning bread. I was feeling flamboyant and that, “I should do a Ted talk to cultivate more love in the world” and Cam was feeling flat beneath the pressure that, “I need to get a job to cultivate more money in our home.” I was jabbering away about grandiose dreams, and he was being present with our reality. Oh the irony of this fight!
It was too late though, I already felt some kind of sting that my husband wasn’t being cool and new age enough, but I was most annoyed that Cam thought my response was nonsense. To me, it was very smart. To me, WAR is the problem, and LOVE is the answer, and how and where the money flows can be either a symptom or a cure, and it is the impulse of either love or war, that directs the money.
War is not just guns and ammunition, war is depression, and disease, excess detached consumerism and environmental degradation. Eating food that hurts your body is war. Healthy children being put on drugs so they will sit still is war. Sitting in the hairdressers chair and having chemicals put on your roots, while the excess washes off and pollutes water, that is war.
See, I really am of deep belief that love is what makes the world go round, and it is the ability for each of us to balance and cultivate self-love and love for all living things that counts the most. And I think we learn and inherit this from our parents, from family. I truly think my husband really knows this too, but sometimes he gets stuck in the old paradigm. Love is what should govern people’s lives, and the problems start when it is actually money and fear governing people’s lives. I am not sure why Cam was even arguing with me about this. I mean I understand that money has an incredible tight grip on us and we need to be released from money, or lack of money controlling our lives, but how do we make that happen? How can we avoid being ruled by money? I think everyone knows the answer to this, isn’t it by doing what we love?
Without a resolution Cam left the kitchen and I went about my day with the girls. Elle went over to a friend’s house to play and Maya and I did school work. Not surprisingly, Maya seemed to be feeling some internal tension and she was struggling to do her work. Maybe it was just the kinetic energy of the day, or maybe it was residue tension from Cam and I fighting? Parents fighting is not fun.
Cam and I are very conscious that the children can hear us if we fight, and over the years we have developed fighting etiquette, which is basically no swearing or breaking anything, and no leaving the house or car in a rage or going to sleep angry. We also make a point to set aside egos for conscious and timely apologies, that are hopefully as memorable and emotive as the actual fight. Even though I don’t like fighting and don’t even want to have to think about fighting, we do try to set a good standard so that the girls understand that adults can disagree and need to express emotions and or opinions at times. To balance this, we have also taught the girls how important it is to say sorry, and that apologies feel great.
As we sat at the table together, Maya was getting cross with her drawing, this is not unusual, as she likes to get her lines just right, but today her frustration was exacerbated. In a huff she threw her pencil down and stomped up the stairs muttering to herself. I gave her a moment alone and then I went up to console her. Her bedroom door was closed which was rare and so I opened it slowly to peak inside. Maya was laying face down on her bed. Sitting next her in a gentle voice I said “Maya, I know it is hard, but sometimes you have to try to find happiness and acceptance in yourself. Some days you just have to decide you are going to be peaceful instead of peace just happening naturally. When you grow up, you sometimes have to remind yourself, I am happy in this space, I am happy doing this work. You have to be patient with yourself. That is part of living life, and part of being a person.”
Maya rolled over, sat up and without missing a beat she replied. “Well then I wish I was an owl.” A big smile spread across my face and I grabbed her into a hug and we fell back onto the bed together. “Yes! I wish you were an owl too. Let’s both be owls, can we? Wonderful wise owls.” My heart was bursting with Maya love. “Sometimes, I suppose we need to get cross too, but you can’t constantly be at war with your drawings, you have to love and appreciate yourself, even on the days your drawings turn out different than you had hoped.”
Elle came home from playing at her friend’s house a little while later. It had only been a short outing but she was full of chatter and wanted to tell me every little detail. There was one snippet which involved her friend climbing up on the bathroom bench and getting nail polish from the medicine cabinet and the two of them painting their nails in secret. The technique left a little to be desired and so prior to her being dropped back home, the nail polish had been removed and Elle came home with removed nail polish specks on her fingers.
“Oh dear” I said! So you did not ask permission to paint your nails first?” I queried. Elle shook her head and in defense she said. “It was not my idea!” I understood it was not her place to ask permission but I reminded her that she still should have suggested to her friend that they ask first. “Would you have painted your nails here without asking?” Elle shook her head no. “I wouldn’t have to because you don’t like nail polish and we don’t have any!” Elle was absolutely right. It was a perfect example of how we each create our own lives.
Conversations with Elle continued, as there was further interesting news to share. “We were talking about having babies today and how babies are made!” Elle really does tell me every little thing, and I tell her every little thing too, and this was such an interesting conversation. I looked at Elle with so much love in my heart. “Do you remember what I told you, do you remember how babies are made?” Elle shook her head to indicate she did not remember. I found it hard to believe she could not remember since we have talked about it numerous times, but still, sometimes you might find something so hard to believe or so interesting that you need to hear more and more, and discuss it over and over. I was inclined to believe in this instant she was choosing not to remember so that she could have me say it again. In Elle’s talkative open manner she said that her friend’s Mother said that, “Love makes babies and that I should talk about that with you.” A smile spread across my face, and I said “Ok then shall we talk about that again?” I could see an excited look flicker behind Elle’s eyes.
Now that the girls are older they get a little giddy when we talk about sex. When they were littler I could have just been saying, “You place a clean knife into the honey jar.” But something happens around seven and suddenly, they know more about the world, they have social nuances, and talking about baby making rises to a whole new level. It crosses a line and more feelings come into play and they are both fascinated and repulsed all at once. I am not a mother effected by such a line and I just dive right in with straight talk. They were ready and waiting. “Well, a man put his penis inside a woman’s vagina, and he shoots out sperm. The sperm joins the egg that is ready and waiting inside the woman. An egg isn’t there all the time, only at special times, but if the egg is there, then a baby will grow from the egg and the sperm meeting. It is equal parts of the mother and father’s genes joining together.” The pair of them started pulling faces and Maya, who was in the kitchen, started carrying on. “Gross!” she squealed. Then once again, there I was for the second time in the day, defending love. “Well, it isn’t gross, it is very special, it is called making love, and that is how you were made!”
I have been talking to the girls about how babies are made since they could speak. Maya was at Elle’s birth, she watched Elle exit my body, and there is an intrinsic knowledge from being exposed to life on this level, then following that, in varying degrees and depth. We have had conversations about making babies, and we have studied womb anatomy, ovulation and menstruation. It has always been an open topic since they were very little, but what I have learnt is that they do forget, until they are suddenly interested to know again. Then when you tell them again, you can see they have a vague recollection, like they have not forgotten completely and you are in fact building slowly on the information, and bit by bit they want to know more. They want to hear it again, just to be sure they have it right. I mean it is basically primitive art. It is both rudimentary and sagacious all at once and ever so fascinating!
It was really pleasing to me that Elle wanted to discuss how babies are made with her friend’s mother, and that she then brought it back home to me. I think demystifying sex is really important, and what is equally important is the lesson that before sex, comes love. There is a lot of sexual stimming in society, and I wonder, you know, why? Why aren’t parent raising children with a healthier connection to sex? Sex is just like food, it involves an appetite, and it requires awareness and a sense of self. Last thing you want is to know your daughter is anorexic and your son is gluttonous. You absolutely can’t count on media to establish a healthy model. That would be like raising your children on fast food. Yep, yep, sex education needs to be dished up in wholesome measures at home.
That night, I was tucking Elle in bed, which involved me laying by her side with her under the blankets and me on top of the blankets. We lay like this for some time, and I was showering her with kisses. We each had asked and answered our “What was your favorite part of the day?” question and had moved onto other conversations. While hunkered down in this evening smooch session, Elle topped my day of mothering off. “So, where did you and Dad do it, where do you do that thing? Where did you make me?” There was a matter of factness to her tone, which was partly because her elder sister was not present to add silliness into the scene. I did my absolute best to keep a straight face, and not gobble her amazingness up. “Well you can really do it anywhere you want that feels private, but we made you in bed.” Elle pulled the bed covers up over her face. It was just too to bear. Then after a moment of composure her hands pulled the sheets back. Two bright eyes shone out, and all I could think was hearts and stars, hearts and stars. So much love.
Cam had spent all day in the attic working on finding work. Finding a job is exhausting, and I had not been the best wife on this day. I had steered clear of him, and I did not making him his lunch, and I did not share the special tidbits of the girls work and play. But this conversation I had just had with Elle was everything, it was why I live my life. It reminded me of our blessings, so up the stairs I went.
Cam was glad to see me, he stopped what he was doing and swiveled the chair out from the desk so I could sit on his lap. I sat there in his arms, sinking into our relationship and all that we have shared and created together. “My dreams will come true.” I said to Cam resting my head on his shoulder. “I just have to learn my lessons!” I said, thinking that surely I can learn the things I need to know for inner and outer world peace. Of course on this day, it was very clear what the lesson was…
Make love not war.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue