Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sharing - It's harder than it seems

My husband is a yoga teacher and not just any yoga teacher, he is a great yoga teacher.  Yoga is his passion.  He loves it and it shows.  He knows his stuff.

He also has technical talents working with computers.  And while his dream is to be able to teach yoga full time, right now his job as an IT programmer is what pays the bills.

Yoga has changed my husband. He is not the same man that I married. In fact he goes by a completely different name in the yogic community and even on Facebook.  This change did not happen over night.  Sometimes the changes came in monumental leaps and other times they came in whispers and tugs.  This change has not been a bad thing.  It has been good.  Difficult but good.

This change and with him immersing himself ever deeper into yoga has brought with it another aspect.  One that isn't as good.  One that isn't easy.  It's one that involves sharing my husband.

And I have found out that I'm not very good at this.  Not good at all.

2 1/2 years ago he, along with one of his students opened up a yoga studio.
Last week just before we celebrated our 20th Wedding anniversary the decision was made to close the studio.

He wrote and posted this, Closing the Studio, the morning of our anniversary and then we left for four days.  Upon our return I guess there had been some fallout from this announcement.  A comment was made about a worry that there had been some "outside pressure" to close and that my husband wasn't being truthful.

First of all, my husband is nothing if not truthful.  Ask him to tell you the story of when he decided to skip a class at the U of U while we were engaged and I found out, if you really want to know.

And second of all because I am human and because it is all about me. (<-------sarcasm .="" i="" nbsp="">know
it's not all about me.  In fact I struggled with even writing this post and I may not even publicly post it but I needed to get this out.)
I felt attacked.
Where would the most "outside pressure" come from if not his wife?

I have tried to be supportive and to be honest we have had multiple discussions where he asked me if I thought he should quit teaching because I was struggling with the amount of time his teaching and being there for his students was eating up.  Each time my answer was, absolutely not.  Until the last time, which was a couple of months ago, and then I was silent.  The decision for him to close the studio was completely his and his partners.  I had no voice.  It wasn't my studio.  It wasn't my decision.

 Let me explain something. For 2 1/2 years (actually longer than that if you count the teaching he did before he opened up the studio) I have been "sharing" the time that I have with my husband. And, damn, it's been hard.

Because, as I said at the very beginning, that while yoga is his passion, unfortunately right now it does not pay well (monetarily).  So he has been working two jobs.  He works four, ten hour days at his computer job, Monday through Thursday.  Waking up at 4:00 in the morning and leaving at 5.   He would get home at around 5:30 depending on traffic.  There were some days because of traffic that he only had time to come home and quickly change or I would take workout clothes to the studio for him to change into. (I think one time he even taught in his street clothes.)  Our family,specifically the kids, saw him for maybe one hour, four days out of the week.   Even his days off were preoccupied with time spent discussing the studio with his business partner or working on the website or teaching plans.  They had workshops and other classes that were held on Saturdays, not every Saturday but they were a regular occurance.  Yoga in the Park on Saturday mornings in the summer.

On the nights that he taught, his classes would "end" at 8 or 9 pm and I would wait for another two or three hours for him to come home because someone else wanted or needed his listening ear. That is another thing my husband is good at, listening and I love that about him.  There were many nights I would just climb into bed and fall asleep before he would ever get home.

When a crisis would arise, as they tend to do, it felt that more often than not he was away at the studio and it was difficult to get a hold of him. And for whatever reason in the past 2 1/2 years it feels like we have had our fair share of crises.  When the kids would come home from school and announce that they had a concert or a play that they were performing in, the tension would rise as the dates and times were announced.  If it was on a night that he was teaching it the tension would break into frustration.  It was frustrating for him because he wanted to be there to support his kids and he also wanted to teach. Frustrating for me because, struggling as I was, it felt that he was irritated to even be informed about these performances.

Planning time together either as a family or as a couple was difficult because I would see something that sounded like it would be fun and it would end up being on a night where he was teaching.  And then there was the aspect that since he was never really home the time that he was able to spend at home he wanted to be at home instead of going out and doing something.

 Phone calls would come from someone needing his support or a listening ear when it was supposed to be "our time" together.  Emails would be sent and if they weren't immediately answered he was "ignoring" or "avoiding" people, feathers would be ruffled and feelings would be hurt and then extra time away (physically or emotionally) would be needed to smooth things over.  As a couple we discussed boundaries. He has such a big heart and wants to help and love everyone that he can have a difficult time setting boundaries.  Boundaries were attempted to be put in place and they kept being tested.  To say the least was difficult.

All of this is a very abbreviated version of what has gone on the past 2 1/2 years. His birthday was almost breaking point because he celebrated with his "yoga family" not with me or the kids.  I almost went to his class that night.  I have to say that I'm glad that I didn't.

I do feel that I could have voiced an opinion that was for him quitting and closing the studio, and I feel that I would have been highly justified in doing so.  And I never did.

I want to say now, I don't want him to stop teaching. It's what he's good at and it's what he loves. The studio will remain closed and right now he will continue to teach in our local parks on Wednesday evening and Saturday mornings.

It's not the teaching that I struggle with.  It's the sharing. I used to think I was good at sharing.  Now I'm not so sure.

I'm working on it though.


Diana said...

It is only sharing if you get some too. It sounds mostly like you weren't sharing but just giving your husband. Good Luck!

Erin said...

I agree with Diana. What a difficult situation all the way around. I'm glad he will be able to spend more time with his family!

wendy said...

sounds to me like you are a lot more patient then I would have been under those circumstances.
You have been a reall trooper through this I think.
Hard to have your husband spread so thin.
Wouldn't it be nice in life if we could "quit" those things we "have to do" (to pay the bills etc) and focus on our passions !!! And have those passions support us and our families.

wendy said...

sounds to me like you are a lot more patient then I would have been under those circumstances.
You have been a reall trooper through this I think.
Hard to have your husband spread so thin.
Wouldn't it be nice in life if we could "quit" those things we "have to do" (to pay the bills etc) and focus on our passions !!! And have those passions support us and our families.

Funky Kim said...

Shanna, I have often wondered how you were handling all of this stuff. I couldn't have done it for as long as you guys did with any sort of grace. And no one would be "wondering" if I had applied outside pressure!

Just remember that you have the best guy in the whole world to be with for eternity.

the fowlers said...

I'm with Kim, I had wondered and knew I couldn't possibly imagine how you guys were managing to do so much! Especially with teenagers - it seems like their lives almost swallow yours up with activities. I just know how hard it was to share my dad when he was bishop or scoutmaster and I'm not very good at it, either.

I've never heard you be anything but supportive, positive, and cheerful (I'm sure that's partly just the public face, but you know).

I hope that you're able to find more balance in the next little while. :) Love ya!