His hands were opening jars for me weekly. I watched with fascination, or maybe it was frustration, not sure my weakness was good or bad. Either way, I was slowly devoting myself to him, adopting his speech patterns, dropping the g’s off all my gerunds, devising ways in which Mark might have to touch me even though every time he brushed against me, I felt my whole body empty, all of the heat leaving my body for his. By August, I was nearly empty inside, and I began to understand what my father meant when he whispered quietly and harshly to my mother in the stairwell when they both thought I was out, ‘Gloria, I have lost myself in this marriage.’

The Adults | Alison Espach

I actually attack the concept of happiness. I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.