I am in a very good mood today. I slept well, watched some good television, had a lovely conversation earlier, and finished things up with a pretty good rehearsal. When I am in a good mood, I am able to think clearly and realistically about a lot of different things.
I watched Monday night’s episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER today. I always enjoy it and truly feel that it is this era’s closest replication of FRIENDS. One thing I appreciate about HIMYM is that I can always find some thread in each season that I relate to.
A few seasons back, Lily and Marshall (played by Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel) talked about their marriage and how in every relationship there is a reacher and a settler. The reacher is the person who is dating way out of their league. Somehow they have managed to snare someone that is better looking, more intelligent, or more successful than they are or ever will be. Meanwhile, the settler is the person that can definitely do better, but found something about a lesser person and decided that they are the best out there for them.
I don’t know if I truly believe in these terms. I try so very hard to be cynical about the notions of love and relationships, but it is hard for me to do that. I want to believe that love — not the storybook kind, but real love in whatever capacity — exists. When two people fall for each other, there’s something special there that balances them out. The idea that one is better than another should fall by the wayside.
When this episode aired, I was married. My wife turned to me and asked me, “What do you think you are?” Before I could respond, she said that she was obviously the settler and pinched my cheeks while saying, “But I’m glad I settled for you.” No one, no matter how cutesy it is said, wants to hear that they were settled for. I didn’t like that she said that, but, of course, didn’t say anything. Eventually, I guess the notion that she had settled caught up with her and she left.
It took me some time to think this through, but I don’t want to be “settled for.” I don’t deserve to be a last chance or a last option. I deserve someone that will think of me the way I think of them: as a loved equal. But this segment here is a discussion for another day. I’m not here to talk about what I deserve and will work for in any future relationship.
In last night’s episode of HIMYM, Robin (played by Cobie Smulders) was proposed to by her boyfriend. She had to really consider the question and tell him that she is unable to get pregnant. He mentioned adoption or surrogacy and she said that was not something she was interested in. She did not want to have children. Ever. With that on the table, did he still want to marry her. For awhile, he did, until she stressed that this was something she was committed to. That her stance would never change. She also stressed that his idea of being a father was something so very important to him and that she couldn’t carry the idea of being the one to rob him of that opportunity on her shoulders. They ended their relationship. (Then other things happened that irked me, but, again, that is not the point of this.)
My marriage started with an iffy, non-committal to the idea of having kids. There were times when she said she didn’t want them and times she said she did. We had a pregnancy scare that turned into a mixture of relief and disappoint for both of us. We played the naming game, picking out names for our future sons and daughters. Somewhere, the discussion of possibility turned into a discussion of “later.” A sensible conversation, I might add. Upon getting married, neither one of us were in a position of automatically being ready to have kids. We needed to take care of ourselves first before even starting to think about a family. That conversation changed to one of not having kids. All the while, what was important to me was her.
In my anger over the year and a half of being divorced, I often forget the fact that I really loved her. Deeply. She wasn’t always nice to me and said some really mean things to me as time went on, but early on… dating, engaged, newlyweds, and through the first year of being married… I loved her and she treated me like she loved me. Us not having kids didn’t matter to me. What mattered to me was that she was a part of my life. But maybe, maybe I settled. Maybe I didn’t seek out someone who truly shared the same convictions that I did. I think about what I want to do with my life. What I WANTED to do with my life. Had I not gotten married, I would have gone on multiple auditions to attempt to act professionally right out of school. I would live somewhere other than South Dakota. Maybe I settled because it was comfortable. Maybe it seemed easier.
Since the divorce, I have felt that part of me that wants to be a dad yelling in my ears. I would like to be a father. I would be very good at it. I love kids and would be great at taking care of one of my own. I know that I am still not in a place where I want to be responsible for one tomorrow. I am fat. Oh lord, am I fat. It takes a lot of energy to take care of and entertain a kid. I knew this before but working with kids in this play, it gets pounded into my head on a daily basis. Our assistant stage manager can’t be more than twelve years old. She practical joked me today (I will get my revenge… don’t you worry), by stealing my Mountain Dew and putting it in the women’s public restroom (while another show was rehearsing and another show was in progress). She told me I had to go in and get it. There’s this feeling I got in my head of undeniable fear when this happened. You know, I could just run in and get my Mountain Dew with no problems if the restroom was empty. She could play lookout for me and there would be no problem. I’m a 6’8” burly, bearded man with long hair that I wear, during rehearsals, in pigtails. Me going into a women’s public restroom can be taken the wrong way. I asked her to play lookout. She agreed and said my Mountain Dew was in the last stall. I called out to see if the restroom was empty. It was, so I ran in, right to the last stall. Nothing. No Mountain Dew. Panicked, I opened every stall. No Mountain Dew. Suddenly, the director appeared at the restroom door. My head instantly dropped in shame and I walked out. I was absolutely mortified. Beside me, the assistant stage manager appeared, my Mountain Dew in hand.
“I didn’t put it in the bathroom.”
Later in the evening, she stole a page of my script and made me chase her for a moment. Well… she attempted to make me chase her for a long time, but my being so fat made me run out of steam pretty quickly. It ended up with one of the other kid chasing her until I got over to her and hoisted her above my head. When in doubt, lift a tiny person high above your head. They will be at least 8 feet in the air. I got my script back.
I love kids and would love to be a dad just so I could go through these shenanigans on a regular basis, but I am concerned that I’ll never get that chance. I do have more of a chance now that I am not with H. It’s up to me to fix my problems so that I can better my odds. I need to lose weight. I need to be financially stable. I need, well, a partner that cares about me and shares my interest in bringing another life into the world. I do want to pursue things for me first. I want to chase my dreams of acting and writing, but fatherhood is a dream, too. I want that.
Some of this feels like something I typed before, but sometimes I get to thinking. Some of my deepest thoughts are repeated. Some of my best thinking comes when I am happy.
I’m in a good mood today, so I decided to do some thinking.