Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Crazy (in that Patsy Cline Kind of Way)

We moved into our house five years ago. For five long years, we've been hiding a dirty little secret in the basement...

...boxes upon boxes of STUFF that we never unpacked.

I know. I'm so ashamed.

For the past few weeks we've been taking advantage of the boys' bedtime to go through these boxes and purge, big time. The next morning, Jete takes as much as he can to the Goodwill on his way to work. It's sad, but healthy. There are books and trinkets and bobbles that are semi-sentimental, and looking through them brings back memories. But really? They're just clutter.

(Besides, if we haven't had the urge to look for something in the past FIVE YEARS, we probably don't need it.)

The other night, Jete brought a box over for me to go through. "You'll enjoy this." I opened it up to find dozens of old letters and cards that I gave him when we were first dating. After almost an hour, I'd only gotten through a handful of them. (Note to self: my wordiness and rambling is a bad habit. And definitely not a new one.)

It was strange reading them, like I had discovered someone else's diary. They were written almost ten years ago. I'm so far removed from the moment that I've forgotten what little references and jokes meant. In hindsight, some of what I wrote as we got closer to the wedding was slightly prophetic. "I know we've been through a lot so far, and I'm sure it will only get harder."

The underlying theme in most of the cards was the same: "I love you. I am sorry I do ___ (insert crazy thing). But I can't help it. Because I love you."

Most of the "crazy things" were related to my insecurities. I'd keep him on the phone for hours, even though he was falling asleep, because I couldn't bear to hang up with him. I'd cry when we parted, because I wanted to be with him all. the. time. I'd tell him over and over that I didn't believe he could really love me.

I know. I'm a real gem.

In our first year of dating, he worked for his uncle, doing physical labor for long (12 hour) days. I was in college, and worked weekends, so our time was pretty much limited to evenings. Most nights, we'd hang out on my parents' couch and talk. Within an hour, he'd fall asleep. Sometimes he was too tired to even leave his house after work, so we'd just talk on the phone.

Reading these letters reminded me how crazy I was back then. (Well. Crazier than usual.) He was like a drug. I was high when I was with him, and miserable when he was gone. If I couldn't see him for a few days, I was depressed. I ached for him. When I finally saw him again, I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

My obsession led to tension with Sete and some of my friends. I was a lifelong goody-goody, but suddenly, I was ignoring my friends, neglecting my studies (a little) and disobeying my parents. But I didn't care. He was like air. It was a matter of survival; I just didn't feel alive without him. If I had to alienate people to stay alive, so be it.

I read an article recently in National Geographic about the way the brain of a person in love works. It was pretty interesting, especially the way they compared being in love to OCD. This quote sums it up: "Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness." Looking at my flowerly, rambling letters from those early days, I can totally see their point.

The article explained that the body can only handle that kind of stress for a limited time. That's why the Crazy Love usually only lasts a year or two. The initial spark fades; the mad feeling that you are flying, out-of-control with happiness goes away. You either move on completely, or settle into something else: a steady, slow-burning love.

It may be hard to believe, but I'm not nearly as crazy as I once was. I still love Jete completely, but as they say, the honeymoon is over.

I'm lucky that my friends and family loved me enough to forgive me for my myopia. They could have held a grudge for all the times I snubbed them, took his phone call instead of theirs, or chose to spend time with him instead of them. I wouldn't blame them if they did. Although I think I could make a pretty good case for temporary insanity.

And really? I don't regret a minute of it. I'm a little sad that it's over. And even if it all ended right now, I wouldn't give up those Crazy days for anything. I'd go back and do it all again in a heartbeat.

You just haven't lived until you've gone Crazy.


The Fuz said...

Wow. That was exactly how the beginning of my relationship with my boyfriend began. We spent a lot of time together and I ignored a lot of the friends and family in my life. I am lucky enough to have good friends though, who were able to talk to me about it and work through it. I learned to balance and taking time away from my boyfriend, having my own life, helps us to be stonger and enjoy each other more when we do spend time together.

Gwensarah said...

Wow. I haven't fallen in love in 8 years and reading that brought it all back and although it didn't end well, the remembering made me smile and deep down wish to fall in love again.

Sank said...

Great posting. Make sure you forward where ever you move your blog too. I'd miss it.

rajdiver said...

As I was reading the first part I was thinking that I should tell you about an article I just read about that very subject...and then I should have known... you're as nerdy as me and you'd aleady read the NG article.