I have a desk in the middle of my bedroom. Not a desk…a half built desk. There are boards piled on top of my nightstand, screwdrivers and a hammer laying next to the bed, and the screws have been scattered around a little by the kittens. The desk was supposed to take two hours to build…it’s been four days. “I promise I’ll finish it tomorrow,” is starting to sound like a chant, or mantra, or some sort of song lyric and I’m starting to hear it in my sleep. This desk is on my ‘honey-do’ list and at this point, I’m pretty sure it’s never going to get done.
It’s not that I can’t finish the desk myself. Well, in a way I can’t – the next few steps take two people to finish. Still, it’d be way easy for me to start nagging and micromanaging and freaking out about the desk. I’ve been there before with other uncompleted projects…freaking out never fixed them.
Right now that desk is a non-living reminder of everything that is frustrating about relationships: those expectations that are never quite met.
Everything always starts out so perfect, doesn’t it? I mean, that first date is so exciting. Those butterflies in your belly, that excitement of that slight touch when you both reach for the pepper at the same time. Everyone is on their best behavior, and acting like the selves we all wish we could be if we were perfect…
Second date, third date – those first few meetings are always so magical.
Eventually, though, we slide from the point of new acquaintances into some sort of relationship status and the masks we’ve so carefully constructed for ourselves begin to fall away.
For me, it’s usually the make-up that goes first. When I first start dating someone, I wear make-up every day. I fix my hair so pretty, make sure I always wear my favorite perfume. And then, after we’ve been dating a while, the make-up becomes not as big a deal. Small at first, I pull back on the lipstick maybe. Then the blush. “I’ll just do my eyes tonight,” I say, thinking that’s totally enough. And then pretty soon I’m wandering through the store looking like I’m one of the People of Wal-Mart and the person I’m in a relationship with is just the person who is stuck walking next to me.
That’s why I feel like I can’t nag about the desk. I know we’re both slipping. If I’d bought this desk at the beginning, it’d be built already and there would be fresh flowers sitting on top of it and probably a sweet little sticky note that has a heart hand-drawn on it.
But now. I’m not wearing make-up and he’s slow about building desks and finishing the other things on the ‘honey-do’ list.
We’re both slipping.
Know what, though? I’m comfortable not having to wear make-up anymore. And I’m guessing he’s happy that he can take four days to build a desk without having to feel bad.
So maybe this isn’t so bad?