Breakfast. This morning: Eggs that my son collects each evening. And Froot Loops, the ones that have extra colored sparkle dust, just in case you didn’t remember that Froot is not Fruit for legal reasons.

The boys are absorbed in discussion about how to get me to plug in the Wii again. (“We should clean our room without her asking!”)

I look across the table to the farmer and I say, “I’m happy. I love you.”

He says, “That’s good. The kids need that. Interesting does nothing for kids.”

Then he walks over to my side of the table. He puts his arm around me and squeezes me. He says, “I love you, too,” and he goes out to the wood burning heater.

I watch him.

I’m happy

There’s something primal about a husband who literally cuts the wood to heat the house in the winter, and then keeps the fire going. And when he kisses me at lunch, his face smells like the fire.

We do not have an easy relationship. No relationship is easy. Thank goodness we know this, because marriage is starting to remind me of childbirth—it’s incredible that so many people do it when it is so painful.

But marriage is like childbirth also in that the benefits are so much.

We have had so many violent outbursts that the farmer has taken the precaution of putting the police on speed dial. This means a lot, especially when you consider that he doesn’t really know how to use his phone. It took him a long time to learn how to do speed dial.

We have been dishonest with each other. He changed his will without telling me. I found out by reading his journal. Sins galore here.

My favorite thing about us is that we are forgiving. Today, if he dropped dead, my house, and probably all the furniture in it, would go to his parents. I should hate him for changing the will without telling me.

He should hate me for going off the birth control pill, for a year, without telling him. After I had the most publicized unwanted pregnancy in the world.

The patience we have for each other is incredible. But maybe every couple is like this. Does every couple fuck each other over like we do?

I think about what might happen if I left the Farmer. Where would I go? I don’t know. There is not somewhere I want to live more than the farm. There is not someone I would rather raise my kids with than the farmer. I love the stability of him. The chores. His tractor breaks down and he pauses, fixes it, and continues.

When something goes wrong in my life, I get wildly frustrated. I have to eat 10,000 Power Bars. I am easily thrown off track.

I told the farmer about a feature on Ask Men (I can’t find the link, sorry). You can find out why men like a given woman: Face, body, intelligence, money, wild side…

I said, “Why do people like me?”

He said, “Intelligence and wild side.”

He likes that I don’t feed my goats on a schedule. He didn’t know baby animals could survive on such an erratic feeding schedule. This is my wild side, I guess.

His life was incredibly boring and lonely when he did not have me. And my life was incredibly frenetic and unpredictable when I did not have him.

Last night, in bed, when I was working hard at not yelling and not crying when I found out he changed his will, I said, “What are we doing together?”

And he said, “We are making life not lonely for each other.” And he said, “We are raising boys together.”

I want to tell you I am happy happy happy, and this is a happily ever after story. It’s not though. I don’t trust happiness. I trust interestingness. I feel like I have more control over it. I need to have a company that consumes me intellectually. And I don’t quite have that right now. I’m working on it.

But the company doesn’t make me happy. The research does not lie. A career makes an interesting life. A good marriage makes a happy life. This is so basic and simple, but it always ends up being controversial. It’s so un-PC to say that marriage is essential to happiness. And is it controversial to say kids need happiness around them, not interestingness?

I don’t have evidence to support this. I only have a bright sunny morning breakfast with two scheming boys and one squeezing husband. Hooray.

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142 replies
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  1. le@thirdontheright
    le@thirdontheright says:

    ya for you ms P – happy happy you – to me honestly is over rated …. maybe he didn’t tell you about the will change because it would make you un happy … have more froot loop days le xox

  2. jw
    jw says:

    This is one of the saddest posts I’ve read. No. Married people do not treat each other like that. I’ve been married to my farmer for 26 years. We treat each other with kindness and respect. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders in life. Is it always perfect? No. But when the hard times come, and they do, we know we have each others’ back for the long haul.

    Being a farmer’s wife, I do understand why he left the family farm to his parents in his will. I don’t understand, however, why he didn’t tell you before he did it. I also don’t understand why he wouldn’t provide for you and the kids in another kind of way (amount of insurance equal to the value of the farm?) in case he dies. That seems the least he should do.

    You don’t have a marriage. You have a PRETEND marriage. It’s not the same. I’m so sorry. If it were just the two of you, I wouldn’t blink an eye, but for God’s sake. Those kids need less drama and some kind of stability.

  3. Jonha |
    Jonha | says:

    Just when everything seems to fall apart for me, it’s nice to see you happy. No drama, just the title I’m happy, makes us all feel that you have indeed experienced something you’ve always deserved. It may not be as great as what you hoped and expected but it’s good how you appreciate the little things – like we all should.

    But I don’t know, maybe it’s just me…I tell people I am happy when I really am not, like it’s something I wanna feel and have but the situation completely isn’t and maybe I’m just on the denial stage and try to muster all the optimism and courage to show everyone I am strong enough. I really hope that you’re happy, as in really happy (but happYness varies how one perceives it, right?) So again, people can’t tell you you’re not happy because after all, it’s you who feels it, not us. :-)

    Melissa takes really simple yet meaningful photos! She’s brilliant.

  4. B
    B says:

    You burn wood to heat your house? Good lord that’s inefficient. I don’t know how it works out there. Maybe you don’t have a gas line connected to civilization. But I would imagine it’s feasible to buy a large propane tank and have propane deliveries.

    Sometimes you post things about the farmer that make me hate him.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is actually a great example of how much of a culture gap the farmer and I bridge.

      Here are things you probably never thought of, B.

      You use more energy to import food to where you live all year round than we do to heat our house. We get most of our food locally.

      We have a forest full of dead wood we have to get rid of because of fire hazards. So burning it is an effecient way to solve the problem.

      Life is so different on a farm and in a city that it’s hard to stand in judgment of one while living in the other.


      • KateNonymous
        KateNonymous says:

        I really like the way you wrote this reply. You responded to a dumb attack with information and a lack of defensiveness, which is often hard to pull off.

      • sophie
        sophie says:

        Penelope, very good response to a comment made without an understanding. Clearly B doesn’t live in a rural area and know life outside her world. A gas line?? That’s funny.

        We burn wood also. We don’t have an outdoor furnace though, ours is in the basement. I’d actually like an outdoor burner just to get the wood out of the house. Yes, a furnace inside can be dangerous if done carelessly. My husband cleans the chimney once a month (think Mary Poppins and the chimney sweep) and is meticulous about safety. He knows this because all his life, he’s burned wood for heat.

        Like you, we cut only dead and fallen wood from the woods. We do this about one weekend a month in fall and winter. It’s wonderful time together as a family and a chance to get out and enjoy nature. Who needs a gym when you can heave ho chunks of wood!

      • B
        B says:

        Well, “sophie,” first off “B” is a he, not a she. Some guys read this blog.

        Burning dead wood is an efficient use of it if you have to spend your time clearing it anyway.

        I could absolutely care less about the energy cost of shipping propane to your doorstep. That’s all factored into the price. And I’m curious if the price of heating the house on propane for say $20 a day is cheaper for the farmer to do if his time were worth $30 doing revenue generating activities on the farm.

        As an aside, the locavore movement is an asinine misunderstanding of the price mechanism. The reason we can all enjoy out-of-season fruits and vegetables from South America is because the costs are so low. Don’t deprive yourself the comforts of modern living. Eating locally won’t save the world.

      • B
        B says:

        Sorry for being snarky in my reply. It was a long week.

        Not joking about the anti-locavore stuff though. People should enjoy their favorite foods guilt free.

  5. Lestamore
    Lestamore says:

    It seems like you guys are making progress. I sometimes wonder if my optimism for my relationship is misplaced. We love each other, but each of our character flaws seem so glaring when I sit down to examine them, and I can imagine 15 ways that each of them could ruin our lives and break up the relationship. But then I remember that we aren’t together by accident (we made a choice) and that if something comes up, we will see what ways we can find to get beyond it. That makes me happy. And it sounds like you have a similar attitude. I feel proud of us.

  6. Brigitte
    Brigitte says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, but it just clicked that we struggle with the same thing.

    Before I started blogging, I spent ages trying to decide what to write about — feminism or interior design. I was gobbling up both at the time. For me, human rights issues are interesting (and important) and interior design is happy-making.

    I kept setting up blogs and killing them, until I finally settled on happiness. I unsubscribed from most of the feminist blogs that made me feel all rage-y all the time and only kept a few around. I still care about feminism and other human rights issues, but I don’t think a perpetual feeling of outrage is healthy.

    Now, of course, my blog isn’t about interior design any longer. I’m slowly settling somewhere in between the two extremes (I write about creativity and purpose), and my writing has gotten a lot more introspective. And revealing about my flaws and what I’ve learned from them.

    All this to say, maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other?

    Ps. I have a book recommendation for you: The Gifts of Imperfection. I am no stranger to blow-out fights, and in reading the book, I realized that when I lash out, it’s because I’m bumping across a deep well of shame.

  7. rb
    rb says:

    My husband and I are in the same relationship, obviously, yet most of the time I think it’s a happy relationship and I would guess most of the time he thinks it’s an unhappy relationship that needs fixing. But we are like this about everything. We have a newish car. I think it’s the best car ever – it’s so new and shiny and everything works! He keeps thinking we made a huge mistake and should have bought one of the other cars we considered. Every little thing that isn’t perfect about the car makes him think the car is 100% garbage.

    I’m an optimist. He’s a pessimist.

    I think most of happiness is just how you’re wired.

    • Helen
      Helen says:

      Oh my God, rb, are you me in disguise??? This is my marriage to a T. I feel like half of it (we’ve been married for 21 1/2 years) has been spent trying to get him to see things in a more positive light! I am the big picture positive person that lets the little irritating things in life roll of my back with little thought. He fixates on every perceived issue whether real or imagined, lol. This has caused me to question my marriage to him on many occasions, and is frankly quite draining! But I stuck it out, and you know what keeps me around? The knowledge that he just can’t help it, knows that I have the better attitude about life in general, and tries to tame those tendencies once in awhile. And bottom line, he loves me and I trust him to have my back. For us, it all goes back to how we were raised. He comes from a very dysfunctional family, and mine was drama free and easygoing. Though we are definitely born with a certain temperament, your family can definitely make it better or worse! Marriage really is about sticking it out. I think the people who describe their marriages as being easy are in the minority frankly.

      • Chris M.
        Chris M. says:

        Helen, I think you are on to something here. I’m part of the minority that thinks her marriage is easy. The fact that both my husband and I came from “functional” families (as opposed to dysfunctional ones) may be the reason.

        You see, I’m the optimist, my husband is the pessimist, but still, things were always easy in our marriage. We may have arguments, exasperate each other from time to time, but in almost 20 years, I never felt the relationship was something hard, difficult, that required work. My relationship with my parents, siblings, and friends, was always harder to maintain than my marriage ever was.

  8. Susy Flory
    Susy Flory says:

    This is my first time commenting, although I’ve followed your blog for quite a while. Love this post. I think it captures well the essence of marriage. It reminds me of my favorite book on marriage (called Sacred Marriage) based on the idea that maybe marriage is more about becoming holy than happy, something like a refining process where steel is rid of its slag through extreme heat. It hurts and it takes time but you become a better version of yourself.

  9. Dale
    Dale says:

    What is happy? And if we don’t have “it” are we then sad? I’m not so sure. The absence light is dark, but the absence of dark isn’t necessary light is it?

  10. Dana
    Dana says:

    So glad to read that you are happy! The farmer is correct of course, it does kids unimaginable good to see a happy, loving relationship. Interesting is important personally, but kids need an example of happy and loving.

    I too am interested in how the wood burning heater works by the way.

    It is wonderful that you and your partner are so forgiving and patient with one another. In answer to your question: ‘Does every couple fuck each other over like we do?’ A resounding NO. Though it does seem that way sometimes, it is absolutely not true. It is also not true that no relationship is easy.

    My husband and I have been together for six years and yes, we are happy, no, we do not fuck each other over, and yes, it is easy. We have chosen to be with one another for life so fucking each other over would really be screwing ourselves.

    We are brutally honest with each other (while still being mindful that it’s not necessary to be cruel while being truthful). We both believe that happiness is a choice and a mindset and certainly don’t expect someone outside of ourselves to make us happy.

    The farmer changing his will without telling you is certainly a breach of trust but surely he has his reasons just as you did for reading his journal. Neither is something to quake the earth over. He can change his will again if he chooses and you can choose not to read his journal again. It really is as simple as that.

    Life is about choices. Making the right or wrong ones and then taking responsibility for them. You can choose to be at peace with any given choice at any time or you can choose to correct a choice that wasn’t right for you. The choices are a large part of what makes life interesting and what you choose to be happy about.

  11. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Wow this post was depressing and filled to the brim with all the negative energy I could tolerate. There is a lot of trust issues in addition to denial. I’m really wondering the impact this relationship is having on the boys.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I love when people look for links I can’t find. It’s like sending me a present. Thank you. This wasn’t actually the link I was thinking of, but it’s a fun link. I love the AskMen site so much that I often think it’s target audience is really women.


      • Mark W.
        Mark W. says:

        Actually, I (probably along with many of your other readers), also searched the site yesterday for the applicable link. Now knowing the above link is not what you had in mind, I did another search this morning and found this article ironically titled ‘Top 10 Things That Make Men Happy’ – . Hopefully this is the applicable article/link. And you’re right about – it’s a great site and I get newsletters from them thanks to reading this blog.

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I recommend working on the trust and communication issues in your relationship first and foremost. Happiness and interesting are like by-products and the result of the above.

  13. Gabriel
    Gabriel says:

    It’s shit like this females…it’s shit like this that is the reason why men have such contempt and distrust towards women.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for not telling him you were off BC.

    People like you who manipulate and use men make me sick.

  14. vicky
    vicky says:

    “And is it controversial to say kids need happiness around them, not interestingness?”

    I have no idea. My parents used to scream at each other continuosly. Oddly, they did not hit each other, only their kids. Strange that they didn’t hit each other. I often wonder why not.

    Made me decide never to live with anyone, or to produce kids. Of course the fact that I have AS helped.

  15. Wm.
    Wm. says:

    Is this your second husband ?

    I originally came across your site due to post containing you and your husband who was a stay at home dad ?

    I have found a consistent thread amongst careerist females who have stay at home fathers and husbands that pretty much goes as-once the career is established and the children are old enough, the careerist female fires their husbands and replace them like workers who no longer serve their needs ?

    I would be interested if this is the same husband who was the stay at home or if he was replaced.


  16. Erin
    Erin says:

    I will keep this simple:

    My mother was crazy; my childhood was interesting. I was not crazy; I desperately wanted love and stability. Interesting is easy all you have to do is screw things up. Love is really, really hard.

    My husband always says, “Having character is difficult and painful, that is why most people have none.”

    You can imagine that he drives me crazy but I love him deeply.

  17. Alan Perkins
    Alan Perkins says:

    Sounds to me Penelope that what you really crave is not interestingness or happiness but belonging.

    Your aspergers probably makes that more challenging and puzzling to sort out in your mind than most people, but everything I have read from you says you are wanting to belong.

  18. jc
    jc says:

    You are a product of an unstable childhood that is where you are coming from. If you were from a stable home you would live differently. You thrive on instability because of your background. You are looking for a stable home, a family that you never had growing up.You aren’t alone. You are mentally unstable because that is the way you were brought up. If you could forget your childhood, your parents and mentally start fresh, stop living with your parents problems, move on, dont’ feel guilty about your parents issues. You are a fresh, interesting individual in a new environment away from the past.

  19. Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor
    Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor says:

    I think it’s good for kids to experience happiness and interestingness. After all, they will, God willing, have both factors in their own relationships and their experience of their own parents interestingness will assist them to navigate through their own, without feeling they’ve failed, having hit an interesting patch.

    I find it fascinating that your relationship is totally devoid of trust! Hell! You don’t even trust yourself to be happy! But you and The Farmer appear to be on the same page, so maybe it works for you. Maybe this state of interestingness is more familiar to you than happiness, so you call it happy. Many of us can only be content with familiar – happy feels strange to the point where we don;t trust it.

    I loved your post and wish you all the best.

    Live Life Happy! (or interesting if you insist!)

  20. TwistedByKnaves
    TwistedByKnaves says:

    And there was I thinking that the reasons it was Froot not Fruit were more chemical than legal. Thank you, Penelope: you have shone the light of wisdom into my benighted life.

    Your first three paragraphs lifted my spirits like gentle rain after a long drought. Happiness seems to be contagious. Thank you for that, too.

  21. K
    K says:

    I’ve been holding my breath for you and the Farmer. Happy to read that you are on speaking terms again. Hooray for you indeed!

  22. yang
    yang says:

    Hey! I discovered your blog a few months ago and have been really enjoying your writing.

    It’s kind of nice that the stories are told with pictures added. However, I find the tone of the pictures, which are beautiful and obviously thoughts have gone into taking them, don’t really complement your writing. It is as if they lack some kind of bite. Maybe for some entry (for e.g., happiness) they make the stories better. But for many others, It’s kind of obvious that the writer and the photographer are different people.

    but great job nonetheless. only saying this because I love your edge!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is a really helpful comment. Thank you. I think I need to be more confident in taking pictures. I do think the pictures need to be mine. I have not taken pictures before. It’s hard to be so confident with my writing and so unconfident with the pictures. But I guess I’ll have to do that. Thank you for the push.


  23. Dannielle Blumenthal
    Dannielle Blumenthal says:

    Hi Penelope,

    There is nothing more beautiful than love and I could tell from your writing all along that you and the farmer really love each other.

    You’ve been through a lot, and so have your kids. And you’re a great couple. I hope things continue to work out.

    Also, just want to thank you for all that you have taught me about work, writing, and life since I started reading your blog. I appreciate your radical honesty even though it sometimes disgusts me, quite frankly.

    Doesn’t matter. You’re terrific at what you do.

    Finally, as one Jewish person to another, I believe your blog represents a form of tikkun olam.

    Thank you.

    Dannielle Blumenthal

  24. BrendaH
    BrendaH says:

    You are smarter than you act. Don’t believe that you are loved when the farmer has cut you out of the most precious thing he has-the farm. If he dies has he honestly made any provision for you—or the boys he says he is raising?

  25. 650Blonde
    650Blonde says:

    Ah Penelope, your post really spoke to me. Happiness is evanescence and it appears that all of this goies back to one of the central tenets of Yoga – be here in the moment. Here’s to the moment of this post – may it be repeated many times over.

  26. Regyna Longlank
    Regyna Longlank says:

    I wanted so much to be irrevocably in love, to fall in love so hard that it was no longer a choice, but an imperative to make it work because you simply had to be together. I asked for it, and I did not know how painful it would be, how difficult navigating the deeper waters of a real connection would prove. It is still worth it, but you are right, it is like childbirth. Co-parenting a safe space to inhabit together perhaps.

    Interesting is good as long as you can count on it. I think anything’s fine if it’s consistent really, kids like routine. This is my reason for being such a curmudgeon, it is something I know I can provide consistently most of the time. Happy, not so much. Not consistently. But I sure do get into the spirit when the mood strikes. It works for us, your mileage may vary…everyone has to find their own way. I am loving hearing about yours.

    • Em
      Em says:

      I am in a relationship like you describe. I was shaking my head at your first few lines thinking hooboy she doesn’t know what kind of trouble she’s talking about. But clearly (bless your heart… bless my heart too) you do. My life has been a train wreck since I met her. I was raising my kids in as stable and loving an environment as I could. Then both she and I realized we are lesbian instead of straight and the stability that I and my husband had worked so hard to build just couldn’t hold together. No matter how desperately I wanted to hold my family together I couldn’t deny my sexuality once I understood it. I have had a crazy and tumultuous relationship with her as none of this fits with my idea of what I wanted for my life. But we are drawn toward each other, I guess until we die or until the day it finally breaks if that is possible. We are so different. We don’t agree on what we want love to look like even. But the draw between us forces us to grow into places I would never willingly go. I do what I can to smooth this difficult path for the kids. I consciously choose their needs over my relationship most of the time. But something I’m starting to suspect is that I’m not qualified to really know what is “best” when raising a kid. Maybe that is an American illusion, that there is a perfect ideal.

  27. Whosyergurl
    Whosyergurl says:

    A friend emailed this post to me and the subject line said “I don’t know what to make of this post.”
    I had never seen your blog, before. I read and read and read and hit links and hit back and hit more links. Like a train wreck, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
    I can’t decide if you are psycho or just the most honest person I’ve ever read. I make jokes about my own blog that it is the life I wish I had. Part of that is because every ounce of creativity and expression dries up when I am in angst. Perhaps I should push through. I try to write my blog for myself, but as Steve Martin says, anyone who says they are writing for themself is a liar because anyone who writes is writing to be read. I feel as if my own blog is sunshine and roses most of the time and we all know that isn’t real life. I was almost offended when someone said it was a sweet, happy blog.
    Because I have been an enabler in the past and still have enabling tendencies and because I try to see the best in people…I’m going with you are the most honest blogger I’ve ever read and even if you are psycho, you aren’t afraid to tell the world, which takes a lot of balls.
    I will keep reading and get back to you on this.

  28. Leo
    Leo says:

    This whole thing that Penelope has about the ‘Happy’ vs ‘Interesting’ life reminds me of a classic question of philosophy that one of my professors posed to his college classes:

    “Would you rather be a Miserable Socrates or a Happy Pig?”

    Of course the essence of the question is whether you think its better to know, understand, and reason about your life (even if you’re not happy) or to simply live out your life in pleasure without understanding it very well. There is no ‘right’ answer – it simply stimulates an examination process about your life and what you want out of it.

    As for me….

    Oink, Oink!

  29. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Penelope, I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad for you when I read this post. But, that’s kind of what life is about to me. It is complicated and messy and confusing at times.

    What I loved about this post was the warmth in your writing. I could feel the all snuggly inside feeling you had this morning. I love when I have that feeling.

    What I don’t like about this post is the secrets part. One of the reasons you said you don’t hide anything on this blog is because there were too many secrets in your childhood and you never wanted to have secrets again. But there are secrets all over the place in this post. Maybe you could go back and read your posts on not keeping secrets every now and then and remind yourself of your goal? Maybe the Farmer could also read those posts? Maybe that will help set the groundwork for a no secrets allowed relationship? Maybe you and the Farmer will then have more of the snuggly, happy moments? Just a thought.

  30. cari
    cari says:

    hi Penelope,

    when you say you’d rather be interesting than be happy, my perception is, to be happy still matters a lot to you, but you’re just settling for interesting.
    and every time you say that (or write that), it seems like you’re saying you’re unhappy. and perhaps the farmer thinks that too? if so, surely he can’t help but feel hurt that despite being with him you are unhappy.

    i’m just saying that there’s a difference between being unhappy, and not caring about trying to be happy.

    myself, i don’t care much for “being happy”, at least the definition society has for it. “happy” is just a feeling you have at a particular moment.
    and i really hate being asked the are-you-happy question. because it doesn’t matter to me, essentially.
    in the big picture that is called my life, i know i am blessed, and for that i am grateful and am filled with joy.
    but that doesn’t mean i never feel sad, goodness i’m constantly stressed i’m practically miserable. and then i feel worse because, since i just got married, i know people expect me to be on a high.
    but i know it is just work that’s bringing me down, which is why i’m quitting. but anyway, i’ve asked my husband to bear with me until then.

    because i don’t like the word happy, i’ll just say have fun and enjoy :)

  31. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    While reading your post, I Have just realized that there’s no perfect husband and wife in this world. Perfect family relationship is a process. A step by step process that must be work on together by each member of the family especially the presiding authority which is the Father and the Mother. I know that the greatest satisfaction you can have in life is your family. Great post! I love reading it!

  32. BrendaH
    BrendaH says:

    Just because YOU say you have Aspergers doesn’t mean you’ve been diagnosed. Just because you say you are married (without the license) doesn’t mean you are married. Just because you say you are happy doesn’t mean you are. I think you may have emotional problems-(not Aspergers) and need to see a competent professional counselor-I know you say you are in therapy but it is not working. (or, are you and the farmer just laughing together at the game you are playing with all your readers?) What you do is bait people in with dramatic prose and we can’t stop because it’s like Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen—many many others, who are wrecking their lives and the lives of everyone around them. A semi healthy person, once roped in to your drama, wants to figure out a way to help you, stop you from hurting yourself and causing pain to those around you. It’s almost like I can’t stop reading your blog because I dread so much how it’s all going to end. This is probably the case with many of your readers. It is possibly your great work of fiction.

  33. Micaela
    Micaela says:

    Have you ever considered that you might have borderline personality disorder, or BPD? Your “I hate you don’t leave me” sounds sort of familiar, and sexual abuse is a hallmark factor in BPD. I did notice you were trying dialectical behavioral therapy, which I encourage you to do. But have you ever considered reading more on BPD? There’s a biography by a woman (Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from BPD) who has it that is just riveting and may resonate with you, but more importantly, she fought very very hard to fix herself. It’s a very compelling story, and for your tastes, there’s lots of inappropriate sexual content in it.

    Just food for thought.

    • PJayBee
      PJayBee says:

      Penelope, I have read many of your blog entries. Initially I did not know you were asperger’s, but, like Micaela, I came to an independent conclusion that you have BPD and even, possibly, narcissistic personality disorder. I was raised my a woman who was diagnosed with both, and but for the fact the you are a far better writer, you and she have identical personality characteristics. The most troubling thing for me was the time you broke the lamp on your head, left the glass on the floor, and weren’t flat out worried as hell about your children hurting themselves. That’s abnormal; it’s not maternal; it’s all about YOU.

      That book, I Hate You Don’t Leave Me, describes a man’s relationship with his wife who has borderline personality disorder. Read it. It appears to be you, but I base this only on your writings.

      In my opinion, in life, if you have children, their needs always come first. Not yours.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        People with Aspergers are commonly misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. One of the biggest differences between Aspergers and Borderline Personality Disorder is if the person wants to be the center of attention.

        I know it seems impossible when you look at me through my blog, but I can’t stand being the center of attention. For example, I had a very hard time at my own wedding because I don’t like being in the spotlight. When I give a speech I almost never stay around to meet people — even though there are always lots of people who want to talk with me. And, just today, I could not even handle taking a turn at pickup sticks because I don’t want to play while everyone is watching – and that was all kids. It’s stuff like this that seems to me a clear difference between BPD and Aspergers.


  34. Tatiana
    Tatiana says:

    I think that being interesting is easier than being happy. Interesting is really just a manner of events; it’s purely external. My life has been interesting, but I’ve never experienced happiness before. But happiness requires knowing what you want, which few people do (it’s why in the States, Americans are obsessed with how to be happy) and essentially having a strong sense of self. When you know who you are, and what makes you tick, then it’s easier to be happy.

    I don’t think one experience outweighs the other. Your happiness might be interlinked with being interesting – who wants to be boring? So you deliberately do things that are different or pursue a variety of hobbies. So, I think in the end; it’s about not about picking one situation over the other, it’s about finding a mix of the two to form a balance.

  35. Angela DuBois
    Angela DuBois says:

    Yes. From kids’ POV, f**k interesting. They need to know that their essentials are taken care of; they need the parents to be in charge and give guidance. Life gives interesting. They need you to catch them when they fall.
    Glad you’re getting happy.

  36. BBell
    BBell says:

    The irresistible force and the immovable object

    That’s my relationship with the man I’ve been with for 10 years now and it sounds suspiciously familiar to many of your posts. He is my stabilizing force for those moments when I become too frenetic. Not everyone gets it, but not everyone needs to.

  37. Don Becker
    Don Becker says:

    I loved your response to the person who thought you should burn propane instead of wood based on efficiency. One inefficiency of propane that is not considered in measuring its mechanical or thermal efficiency is the amount of energy and other resources expended to get the propane out of the ground, refined, stored, shipped, stored again and then placed in a tank and trucked to your house to be burned at 83% efficiency. Yes wood might only rate 50% efficiency and less as its energy potential is used to heat water to heat the house but there is no energy consumption used to get it to you. Besides you can grow trees. You can grow some plants from which to get oil but you can’t get propane from anything except crude oil from the ground. Plus rural folks are allowed to use their cash for other things. Propane heat in Maine here this Winter would run you $25 a day.

  38. Rebuilding Credit
    Rebuilding Credit says:

    You mentioned your sons collecting eggs and it reminded me of my friend that decided she could save money on eggs by raising chickens. Three months later she had spent $240 on chickens, feed, and material to build the coup, and all she had gotten in return was 3 eggs.

    She insist that they were the best eggs she had ever eaten, and maybe they were. All I could think was, $240 is one hell of an expensive omelet.


    I find it fascinating the amount of interest that your marriage has for others (myself included). Do you think that going public with all the machinations of your marriage contributes to its complexity/pain/dysfunctionality. Did farmer know that he was signing up for an internet reality show?

    • ninthgirl
      ninthgirl says:

      He totally knew. She was already blogging when he became interested in her on the basis of what he read on her blog! It seems that the readers’ points of view really help Penelope. I see her continuously learning and expanding her mind, which isn’t bad for a family, in my opinion.

  40. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I originally thought this was a “how to make your blog better” site. It’s much more. Interesting post. Still not sure marriage is essential to happiness. Also enjoyed your “Choose a career path that makes you scared of failure” post.

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