So it wasn’t a gluten intolerance after all, you tell me. And now you have filled our kitchen with real bread, with pita chips, with French’s crispy onions. You say, Let’s get pizza, and you get the real kind, with the real crust, the kind that holds together when you pick it up. I am jealous of you and your newfound freedom, your ability to “go big” at bakeries. I am jealous of your cake. I am jealous of your biscuits. I am jealous of the crumbs delicately clinging to the surface of your chicken.
We used to be in this together.
The minute after Jack and I got married, we left our town, our family, and our support system behind. Starting new jobs in new places, we felt uprooted in so many ways. But really, this was what I had always dreamed about doing.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted the adventure of moving somewhere far away. When I was in college, I spent a summer interning in the Bay Area. I traipsed around San Francisco and marveled at all things happening around me. I remember watching a one-man band performing in the street. I remember eating the best Pad Thai of my life. It was so different from home. I loved it.
I fantasized about moving there for real. There was part of me that wanted to leave my whole life in North Carolina behind and start over. It would be so exciting. I imagined myself in the future, worldly and grey, reflecting on how I started with nothing--and now look.
Last year, I got my wish. I started grad school at Arizona State--2,000 miles from home. I knew it was going to be great. Finally...the adventure I had been craving for so long. And it has been great, but it has also been really painful.
“Jack, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. If this were a court of law, I would side with you every time. But life isn’t a court of law. And from what I see, your need to be right is killing your partner’s spirit. So it really doesn’t matter how right you are because it’s not serving the best interest of your relationship.”
I remember hearing those words during a therapy session some time ago. When I first heard this, I was ambivalent. Half of me thought: “But I’m entitled to justice! People have to follow me if I’m on the right side of things!” Though the other (more convincing) half thought: "What good is being right when you're alone?"
I, Annie Vitalsey, don’t want to talk about money. I want to watch The Great British Baking Show. I want to read a book about robots. I want to go for a walk. I want to have a cocktail. I don’t want to talk about money.
But I do talk about money. A lot. In this first year of being married to Jack, I have thought, talked, and worried about money, probably more times than all the other years of my life combined. Why is that?
Annie and I have officially been married for one year--and what a year it’s been. I can’t help but first think about what it took for us to get to this point. The good times, the bad times, and everything in between. In this first year, we've moved a total of six times, lived in three cities, and each (separately) driven across the country once. I was hired and started jobs at two different universities, Annie started her MFA program and taught English at ASU for the first time. We rode in airplanes fifteen different times, explored nine new cities and one new country (our honeymoon in Mexico). We made new friends, climbed new mountains, and performed new feats of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. This year, life stretched us farther than we could have ever imagined, but we're still smiling and hungry for more.
It seems Jack and I tend to make major life decisions at the top of mountains, usually with little to no water. This time, we were on Camelback in Phoenix, doing an unexpected amount of climbing in an unexpected level of heat. We had a one large water bottle between the two of us, and drank it fast. When we got to the top of the mountain, I was bleeding from the leg and Jack was sweating out his breakfast. The view though, the view was glorious.
People of the World,
Annie and I have been praying for you. We hurt with you, your loss is our loss, and we stand in your corner. The past few days have literally been hell on earth. We have a lot of feelings that we've been holding back, but we think it's time to muster up some courage and address it. We want to honor those who have lost their lives.
In the midst of the darkness, Annie and I have made our first rule as a married couple: we can't let fear silence us. We can't be afraid to show our political cards. We must show support for our black friends and family. We can't just continue posting wedding photos on Facebook as if nothing has happened. We need to stop hiding our sadness and dissent. We need to acknowledge that our silence is part of the problem.
So, why take a social justice stance on our marriage blog? It’s kind of weird and out of place. We get that. But for those who really know us, you'll think, "They're a couple of hippies, I totally saw this coming." As much as we hate being predictable, thank you and touché. Feminism ain't our only axe to grind, ya know.
“But think about the moment when I get on that airplane,” I said, sitting on the couch, staring at Jack, by this time a bit teary. “Won’t it just be too sad?”
Then Jack laughed. “Good Lord, you’re so dramatic. We’re not dying."
Recently, Jack and I have made some choices about our future. We’ve stopped thinking so much about bouquet tosses and started wrestling with what our married life is going to look like. We’ve spent a lot of late nights talking about how to weave our dreams together into one family. It’s been hard.
A long-held, quietly-kept dream of mine has been to get my master’s degree (MFA) in creative writing. I’ve been boiling on the inside for time, for connection, and for new adventure. Last fall, I decided that this was my year to go for it. Jack and I, already knowing we wanted to get married, decided I would pick seven schools, and Jack would look for jobs around those seven. Since Jack works in student affairs, and I would be attending a university, we thought we’d have a fairly good chance of finding something new. And boy (or girl) were we right! #inclusivity
Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.