What's new with Janey
12 April 2008

Marriage isn’t what I expected

Husband and I are nearly 30 years together now. I lay awake this morning and thought all about that. I have no idea why the idea of our marriage made me stay awake when I really needed some sleep, but it did.

Maybe it’s because Ashley will 22 years old next week and I have been thinking all about middle age and motherhood or maybe I just go through these periods of self reflection…I am not sure.

Either way, there I was staring at him at 5am.

He sleeps so peacefully and I wanted to wake him up to ask him thousands of questions but I didn’t.

Husband was 16 years old when we met back in the late 70s and since then this relationship has suffered at least three civil wars, constant mental warfare, fifteen near peasant revolts and one Armageddon. Still we are together.

It doesn’t make sense but then what does?

We were always so different and so completely opposite in our outlooks.

I recall when husband was my boss for fifteen years when we owned a bar together in the 80s and early 90s.

He was the manager and I was his wife. I looked to him for all direction and business sense and did what I was told. I cooked, cleaned, ran the pub, cared for a new baby and starved myself to look good in hot pink leggings and carefully maintained my big curly hair-do. (Forgive my fashion sins but it was the 80s). I taught myself how to make chicken Kiev embraced aubergines, garlic bread and ratatouille (again…new fashion in food in the 80s) I was a perfectly good wife.

Now the tables are completely turned and I own the business and do all the wheeling and dealing and he makes the dinner. Life is strange, if you could go back twenty years ago to 1988 and predicted I would leave that bar, become a stand up comedian, author and newspaper columnist and husband would be following me around the world, I would have probably think you had overdosed on infected heroin.

Nowhere in my wildest imagination (and believe me I even had a wild imagination back then) could I have even perused the idea of being who I am now. Not ever!

It takes some believing at times. When I do the bigger one woman shows and watch all of these people whom I have never met before, buy tickets to hear me talk, I have to do a reality check in my brain. Somewhere in my consciousness a wee voice whispers “Janey, tell these people you need to go and get the bar ready for opening time, stop fooling folk into thinking you are a comedian, now go boof your hair up and change the Guinness barrel”

My deepest insecurities creep up on me and for a second I get scared, then the lights go down and my name is announced and people applaud as I grab the microphone and the scared little voice in my head that berates me admits defeat, pulls on Lycra leggings and sits down in the back of my brain. It is joined with fear, shame and uncertainty. They all squeeze their tired little personalities into one dark hovel and listen to me be funny and they hear a crowd laugh at my stories. I have quietened the beasts in my psyche for one more night.

Husband never questioned my ability to do what I wanted, not even years ago when I would moan that I wanted to be a writer. He always encouraged me and pushed me to do what I wanted. I suppose I never believed that he believed in me.

Now, he is not in the least bit amazed at anything I do. He simply smiles and puts on the dinner and waits for me to come home. Where did he get such confidence in me?

What if I fail spectacularly? Will he still love me?

I never woke him up to ask, I let him sleep, he has a washing to do, shopping to get in, packing to organise and breakfast to cook, so I let him snooze more._