Skip to main content

Vote For Andy! Not Me!

Not long ago, Andy told me he wanted to run for local political office and I cringed. When we married we became a pair. A dynamic duo. Decisions that Andy makes impact me and decisions I make impact him. For better. For worse. When Andy told me he wanted to run for the position, I felt bad for him and I felt bad for myself.

I crafted a quick list of reasons why Andy should not make this decision which started with considerable time away from the family and ended with being in the public eye....with me. I felt like he should know better because he knows me. Apparently not. I have vivid memories of being a kid and my mom telling me, "Don't do that! Don't say that!" Of course, most moms say something like this to their child at some point. Kids have no filter and are naturally curious. They make a little too loud observations about others, they wear funny outfits, and pick their noses in public. Somewhere along the way, kids learn that they aren't to ask a stranger why they have a funky eye, no longer wear mismatched socks, or clothes backwards or pick their nose in public. Somewhere along the way we learn to follow the rules and stop being weird.

The challenge with me is that I can't always follow the rules, I am weird, and I'm an extrovert. This makes for a dangerous trifecta. I learned in college that these characteristics made those around me nervous. I was fun at a party, and the entertainment during a study session, but my friends hoped I had to go home for the weekend when their families came to visit. Nobody wanted me at dinner with grandma. Same went for my boyfriends. Looking back, I give them some serious credit for introducing me to their parents. You just never knew what I was going to say. At a time when someone was looking for choice reinforcement from a parent, presenting me as the love prospect was a bit like playing with fire.

The Mom: "We're Catholic. Would you like to come to church with us tomorrow?"

Normal Person: "That sounds great. What time should I be ready? Can I bring anything for the coffee hour?

Me: "I was raised a Catholic but I can no longer follow a religion that doesn't support gays and harbors pedophiles.

The Dad: "Wow! So, you go to an all girls' college, huh? What do you study?"

Normal Person: "I sure do! We have a bunch of fun there! I'm taking all the foundation building courses so that I can get a good job when I graduate!"

Me: "Well, right now I'm taking a women studies course and am reading the book, Transforming a Rape Culture. It's a collection of essays examining a society that daily demeans and circumscribes women with the threat of rape. I'm really questioning patriarchy. Next up is The Bell Jar!"

Andy made a bold move the day he invited me to fly to Minnesota over Christmas break. His parents never even had the chance for a toe dipper moment with me over dinner or coffee. I moved right in for the week. Me, my feminist attitude, profanity and all. Sweet, wholesome Andy brought home a bad girl. I didn't want to talk about crafting or how my studies would lead me to an impressive career of helping others. I couldn't talk about summers at the country club or church camp. I was rough around the edges. I went home after that break but I never left their family. Over time, Andy's family has acclimated to my weirdness, my crassness, and my diarrhea of the mouth. Plus, my edges are a little more polished and I've proved that I am able, in most situations, to behave. You can even ask my college friends! I've had a nice conversation with a grandma or two and look! I hold down a job and they let me educate people! Oh, and I have children. I teach them values and morals. (They might not be yours but they are right for us.)

I feel comfortable with myself. I have figured out the right mix of Weirdo and Normal Person- that is in my private life. Andy and I have a nice groove that not everybody understands and frankly, I don't care if they do. Or, I didn't until now. Whether or not we like it, we are an extension of our loved ones. Andy is often in a public sphere (remember 20 under 40) and I have been able to hide in the shadows, at home, on mom duty, or surrounded by my friends- my amazing non-judgmental friends. It works really well. He's out shaking hands and I'm underwear-less, in my PJ's, sending dirty joke text messages.

When Andy told me he wanted to run for public office, he didn't ask me if I was ready to do this with him. Yet, I asked him if he was ready to do this with me. I don't wear pearls. I don't go to church. I tried to read his letter in the paper but I got side tracked because one of the kids farted and that was more entertaining. I have a semi-public persona that I share on social media. I express, what can be considered, very specific political beliefs. I swear. People send me links about articles of phallic figures found in nature because when they saw it, "they thought of me." When he first started his campaign, I told Andy he couldn't include photos of me on his website. He thought I was crazy. As election time nears, he has asked me not to tag him in any of my posts. Beats me what is incriminating about a cat dressed as a cowboy, but I oblige.

Andy is apple pie. He is red, white, and blue. He is hard working and loves supporting the community. I am a sour cherry tart. I am black and blue. I like to read books in my PJ's and I live in a community. Don't judge a book by its cover and please don't judge a candidate by his wife.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I Love Otsego but I Love Andy More

Growing up, my big brother was your typical older brother. He loved to torture me and his favorite hobby was making me mad or making me cry. He took my own stuff and made me buy it back from him at a yard sale. He put dog crap in my socks and sneakers. He threw spit balls at me, pinched me and never let me win at any games. Despite his daily doses of teasing and displeasing me, I did notice that he wasn't particularly interested in other people making me mad or making me cry. I'm not saying he was ready to fight on my behalf, or ride up on a white horse to protect me, but he was pretty firm in his position as the number one bane of my existence. Despite the fact that he no longer tortures me quite like he used to, our relationship has left a lasting impression on me, long into adulthood. As a self proclaimed arm chair therapist, I take note that I have been trying to work through that relationship for years-with Andy. Poor Andy had no idea that, when we started dating, I'…

Holiday Letters- in Two Versions!

I don’t know about you but I love a good holiday letter. Nothing sends me into a tailspin of self doubt and depression like reading the carefully crafted story of the highs and accomplishments of those in my life. As the letters flow in, alongside the photos of the beautiful smiling faces of my loved ones, I curl up under a warm blanket, look out at the bleak, gray winter skies and think: what the fu#k is wrong with me?We are so fortunate, due to modern technological advances, to be able to experience this self doubt an average of 20-50 times per day as we addictively scroll a variety of social media channels. Yet nothing truly confirms our own personal inadequacies like a yearly summary of others’ successes and happiness neatly packed in an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper, folded in thirds and slipped into an envelope alongside a card collage of beach shots, matching sweaters and smiling, happy faces. I, too, have sent along such letters to accompany our smiling happy faces, providing thos…

An Open "PM" to Polly

Hey Polly, it’s me- Melissa. Can I call you Polly? Because I feel like I know you. Do I know you? We’ve been in the same social media circles for many months now.I see from your profile that you went to Cornell. I have a lot of friends that graduated from there. It’s an awesome school. What year did you graduate? I also see that you’re self-employed. I really respect entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs. What’s your business? Are you a photographer because your Facebook profile picture of Doubleday Field is fantastic.I see that you don’t have any Facebook friends, Polly. I understand that. Are you lonely? It can be really lonely around here. Listen Polly, this election got really nasty but at the end of the day are all neighbors right? Do you want to meet, do you want to talk about it? Haven’t seen you on social media since the election. I totally get where you’re coming from, Polly. It’s been hard for me, too. When you put yourself out there with really strong opinions pe…