I'm glad that my wife reads this blog, or did once last week, at least.
Here's my list of things I'd like to change in my life but seemingly cannot, because of external situations. This causes what you see in the title above.
1) I saved $3,000 before I came to graduate school, then, as a wedding present, my parents gave my new wife and I a lump sum a little bit larger than that. I planned to save this money, and not work the following summer. The money I saved really meant something to me, because it was earned scooping hog shit, killing genetically malformed baby pigs, and in an Omaha insurace office bearing a strong environmental similarity to the one depicted in the NBC show "The Office." It turned out that my wife's appetites burned through all of this money. I was idiot enough to give her money. From May 2004 to May 2005 my wife did not have a full-time job and made an absurdly small amount of money, yet made only cosmetic changes to her expenses, driving me crazy with money worries and helping to ruin my first year of graduate school.
2) Now I am in a similar situation for this upcoming summer. Obviously, as a graduate student and future professor, or future professional-class member no matter what I choose to do, I would just as soon manage my money and not work again over the summer, and read my master's exam reading list and write my planned-for Novel of Hate. This "dream," which would be an easy reality if I was independent and in control of my life, is now absurd. Not only do I have to worry about money this summer, I'm placed in an embarrassing situation at my current place of work. I am a graduate student and teacher of English, yet I have failed in getting promoted at my job, and am unwilling to beg and plead for a promotion from small-fry middle management assholes. What should I do? I'll try to get another job, but the only job where I could conceivably make enough money without having to sacrifice my dignity (I'm referring to a return to hogshit slinging) would be to get on as a server/waiter someplace else, the prospect of which does not interest me one bit.
The problem is that now that my wife is actually making money and working full-time, I think I should be able to not worry about money so much--maybe even use the year that Jess lived off me (a dirt-poor grad student TA) as "credit" and not work for--gasp!--two months (which is the amount of time that I do not receive pay as a TA). And another gasp!--not work two fucking jobs during the Fall and Spring semesters. (And why do I do that? I should be reading a fucking book.) Yet my wife's credit card debt, separate from her substantial student loans, has shot up to its current $14- or $15,000. Her excellent budget analysis shows that she has only $300 spare dollars a month with which to address this debt. And $300 a month? How could that not go to other expenses? And not take 900 years to pay off such a sum?
So not only do I not get to choose what I do with my time, and I don't get to control my own lifestyle, my stress is "on loan" to maintain my wife's fiscal insanity. And this has been the situation ever since I got married in August 2004. Why are things like this? I've never been more unhappy in my life, flying from anger to withdrawal to perturbation, with momentary, illusory moments of happiness: getting on fire w/ shooting in a pickup basketball game, seeing the results of months of weightlifting, getting positive feedback from a student, an interested look from an attractive female stranger, dreams about freedom and independence, cooking myself an excellent meal; these things make me happy momentarily. My life situation depresses me. Regarding school, I used to be an excellent student--that's how I got into graduate school at a major university. Now I'm facing the prospect of underachievement. Why should I go on after I get an MA? Am I passionate about any scholarly pursuits. I am not. My life is a sad and pathetic chase after the aforementioned momentary pleasures.
3) Yet for all my resentment of my wife, I miss her strongly and wish I could get along with her, and just be happy, like many of the couples that one sees out from time to time. Many coupled people my age talk about children, a prospect I can only view as an impending danger. Jess is always gone to Phoenix (like right now), making me lonely (like right now). And when she's not working, she's vegging out watching TV or sleeping, or otherwise accusing me of selfishness. She's sedentary, I work out like a fiend; imagine the just deserts of that. (Use your imagination.) I pick up after her at home and when I get in her truck, she has me sit where six days' worth of trash has accumulated: cans, bags from fast-food restaurants, political flyers, other refuse.
We love each other but have few similarities. We fell in love at college. After falling in love with someone, that particular attachment is bound to fall away, and all that's left is compatibility. Similarities in personality and how two people choose to spend their time. And Jess and I are more or less diametrically opposed when it comes to these things. Our only similarity seems to lie with political values; we're both progressive Democrats, supportive of women's rights and the LGBT community. That's not enough, my friends; doesn't take a brilliant man to know that. "Sustainability" is a word that's osmosed from economic vocabulary to the general media. The US's involvement in Iraq is not sustainable. And neither is this marriage.
4) I can't really think of much else that cause me great resentment or occasional seething anger. Other than the fact that I am not recognizable to myself--I'm not the person I want to be. I used to go to the Nebraska Zen Center with my uncle Robert and meditate. I rather enjoyed it. Now I'm in good shape if I can suppress the desire to kick down walls in anger. All this will make for decent material for Empire of Hate. --adam