The Accidental Power of the Written Word

January 18, 2011

Yesterday, I was scrounging around the house looking for some kind of notebook I could use as a running log. As much as I love the online options, there's just something about a good old fashioned paper and pen that lures me in.

I logged all my training miles for my first two marathons in cheap little notebooks from CVS, my next two marathons I logged online. These days, I do both. I like the graphs and fancy crap on The Daily Mile, but c'mon now, I also like the stickers I give myself on long run days--can't do that on the ol' internet, now can ya?

So anyway, we have a whole bunch of built in book shelves in our super-seventies basement, and they really are lined with books--old college text books, empty baby books (I swear I love my kids), paperbacks, phone books, I dunno. I scanned the collection and spotted a spiral bound journal that I didn't quite recognize.

"Perfect," I thought. "I'll just rip out any of the pages that are written on." I figured I'd find another failed attempt at keeping a personal journal. You know, two entries and then never again? Don't you dare pretend that you haven't done it, too. The blog is so much easier--we'll just have to see if my posterity believes all the lies in the 23rd century.

Anyhoo, I opened up the journal, and sure enough, the first [and only formal] entry was about a month after we moved to Texas. It talked about how lonely I was, how I had no friends, how I was ready to hop a plane to anywhere in New England and never look back. Honestly, it was really sad to me since there's nothing in the world I hate more than loneliness, and that entry was nothing but sob, sob, sob, lonely, lonely, lonely. I just wanted to rewind time, give my 23-year-old self a big hug and say something encouraging like, "Appreciate your boobs, Amy. They won't be so perky when you're 30."

But I don't have a time machine, so I just kept looking through.

There were some random notes for my graduate thesis, some happy little love notes back and forth between me and the J-man, there were a few things that I'll purposely fail to mention, and then, the real piece-de-resistance, there was a six page marital spat completely written out.

There's no other alternative, we must have done it during sacrament meeting at church. Seriously.

As far as I can tell, sometime back in 2005, we sat in church, writing out all manner of curse words, unpleasantries, and lines starting with phrases like, "You're wronger than wrong because....." I was pregnant with James, Jared was working at a dog food store, and it was his first semester of chiropractic school. Definitely not the good old days...not by a long stretch.

I ripped up the fight pages before I showed the rest of the journal to Jared--actually, I didn't read it from start to finish either. I think it would have been totally humiliating for both of us to read. Definitely not constructive.

But you know, it got me to thinking. If my life depended on it, there's no way I could even begin to remember what that fight was about. Six years later, the subject matter of that squabble couldn't be more inconsequential. But the words I wrote to him. The words he wrote to me. I wonder if any of those have stuck with us.

Deep down, does he really think  that I think he's an idiot, because once-upon-a-time I told him he was?

Oh man I hope not.

Instead, I hope he remembers the fights when I yell things like, "Make your own damn sandwich! The ham is in the DELI MEAT DRAWER! Right where it's SUPPOSED TO BE!" Or, "If you don't learn how to sweep up the dog hair, I swear I'll SHAVE YOUR LEGS IN THE NIGHT!"

Those are the words I hope he remembers, because those are the words I really, truly mean. Well, those words, and things like "I love you, but I'll love you more if you take me on a vacation."

In the grand scheme of things, none of us will remember the Great Tax Bill of 2010, or that time he got that speeding ticket. We probably won't even remember the secret purchases I possibly made during those secret trips to TJ Maxx.

My point is, the stress fades, but the lasting effect of the stressed-out words might not.

Today I pledge to be a nicer wife to Jared. And then maybe he'll finally take me to Aruba.


funderson said...

Very very nice... It's a lot harder to be "water" when the yucky is written down.

GeorgiaSnail said...

Having only ever been married once, I try to tell my wife daily, "You're the best wife i've ever had!"

Pam said...

This kind of struck a chord with me today. I may or may not have been an unappreciative bitch the past few days...

Thanks for posting this.

David said...

Neat post. I really dig the unconditional lov...

Wait, did you say "Aruba"?

joolee said...

Just thought you should know that I tell all my female friends to take photos of their boobies before they get pregnant.....or at least before nursing.

Thanks for the hilarious and yet totally time worthy post. I'm going to go apologize to my husband for telling him he looks like he has a girl-ass in his new bikini underwear, cuz that might stick with him awhile.

Karen said...

This post struck a chord with me too. I pride myself on never saying anything to make my Hubby feel bad, but apparently I do. The other day I asked him why he went a certain way when driving, and he said, "Cause if I'd gone the other way, I would have gotten in trouble too". Oops! gotta try harder!

Adam said...

See, this is why I don't keep a journal. I don't want to know how springy my man bits were back then.

What is that you say? A blog IS a journal? Shit.

Grandma said...

Maybe I should journal that your father just asked me if I was losing it since I temporarily forgot which day I mailed a certain bill. nice....