My Book About Me. It’s the title of the book I was handed when I was still begging my parents to take me to "Toys Is Us." Back when I was promising to be a good big sister, to feed the baby milk, and change diapers, all for "only one dollar." I filled out the book in pencil because at that age, you didn’t use pen, not even an Erasermate. I walked to school, and checked the appropriate box beside the illustration of shoes. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Dwyer. My hair, unfortunately, was orange. Then I grew up, and things stopped being so simple.
All About Us. It’s the title of the book I began to fill out with the Wasband on February 12, 2000, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s a book designed to bring people closer, to feel more connected, to really air it all, so you feel there’s nothing that stands between you. It’s red and makes for a thoughtful, whimsical, gift. For the new couple, the engaged couple, the couple who’ve become parents and forgotten they were even a couple, for your parents, even. For anyone in a relationship. Since the introduction is only a page, I for once didn’t skip it. "This book, through its many questions–some playful, some serious–attempts to break this mysterious code as it draws us into a deeper understanding of who we are and how we love." The "mysterious code" being that illusive component in relationships: what’s unspoken, the unconscious and what draws us to others. Why do we come together, why specifically, and why do we stay together? What would break us apart? Where exactly are our Do Not Cross lines?
"It will be fun," I reasoned, bouncing onto the bed, ready with two pens, cozying up to my fiance. Women feel closer when we do things like this, whereas men feel closer when you’re having fun (sex) together. I was sure it would be fun for us both. It didn’t take much coaxing. I’d already gone ahead and purchased the book for us, so really, what’s the harm?
To begin, we filled out the "warm-up" section. "Which of the seven choices best describes your reason for going through this book?
You communicate in silence
It’s your anniversary
You are drunk
You are curious
You are suspicious
Whatever happened to sex?
The Wasband ticked of the "You are curious" option, while I made an X beside "Don’t ask." You know where this is going. The night ended in silence, both our arms crossed, our mouths tight, eyebrows pinched. He was angry that I’d revealed that I believed it was possible to romantically love two people, equally, at the same time. He was upset that I responded "yes" to the statement, "Sometimes you worry that you are missing out on something by staying in this relationship." Don’t we all wonder that at some point? We don’t ever really know how good–and far more disturbing, how bad–we have it when we’re knee-deep in a relationship.We both disagreed with the statement, "Your partner is the more interesting person," thinking quite highly of ourselves, yet we weren’t interesting, or brave, enough to get through the whole book. I didn’t want to know the most expensive gift he ever gave to an ex. In fact, the whole "before us" section was something I wanted to skip outright. But what really upset me were my own answers. Yes, I take verbal and emotional abuse from my partner once a week. It got to the point where when answering "If you had a garage sale, what item of your partner’s would you hope to sell first?" I responded "HIM!"
We were married three months later. Hence, I strongly recommend this book to anyone in a relationship, not only for what you’ll learn of your partner but what you’ll learn about yourself. Does what we know make us stronger, or is ignorance really bliss?