I can’t go on a vacation, away from you, soon enough. I want to travel alone without being told what to do, who to call, how to live. "I’m a big girl" I remind you, but then you use it against me in a mocking tone when I later ask for help with the door, or reaching for something on a top shelf. "Help me choose between these two outfits" turns into, "well you know best, don’t you, so just tell me what to wear because it’s plain to all how much you hate my scarves, my taste, my choices and decisions." You say you’re afraid you’ll end up playing the father role to me, having to take care of me. You put me in that role, handing me the script, when you treat me the way you do, when you send notes dictating the things I should be doing. Call this one. Follow up with her. Remind him. All behind the "I love you" subject line, in your head thinking it’s just your gentle way of reminding me. You make me play the part, because I was accustomed to doing it in my youth. I don’t have a sweet tooth anymore. I won’t go from one puppeteer to the next.
Maggie Carpenter in Runaway Bride doesn’t know how she likes her eggs. She absorbs the likes and dislikes, the opinions of each new suitor, in part, because each one allows it. Then there’s no friction, no arguments. It’s better for everyone, until it’s not. I like my eggs soft boiled and smeared onto white toast. I’m a user of whole wheat because the books say so. It’s compromise most of the time, with what I want and what my body wants for me. I battle it daily, just as I do with you. Because I don’t want to return to the wooden state of being and doing just as you command. Lifting my little joints, pulling them for your delight. Maggie made light at the end. This is mine.
"I have other duties equally sacred. Duties to myself . . I believe that, before all else, I am a human being, no less than you– or anyway, I ought to try to become one. I know the majority thinks you’re right, Torvald, and plenty of books agree with you, too. But I can’t go on believing what the majority says, or what’s written in books. I have to think over these things myself and try to understand them." –Ibsen, A Doll’s House
I think power struggles happen, especially now, because we both want to set the guidelines of how we want to be treated, how we see a good relationship working. You want me to do things for myself, yet you send pestering notes telling me what to do when I have a chance. It’s not the notes, alone. It’s the tone you take when you say it in person. Sweet but even-tempered, like my father. You talk to me as if I’m a little girl. Little Nora, doing as Torvald wishes. I’m not a child anymore. I have choices, and I choose not to be treated like your doll living in your house of tangled strings and attachments.