marriage

I Could Not Fall In Love Again If I Tried...

This is not a desperate statement or one that should bring about sympathy from anyone. I do not need "saving."

Listen:

I've fallen in love three times. I'm 33. What is the significance of the number 3? I have no clue, but if you know feel free to comment. 

The first time I fell in love, I was blind. Not due to injury or literal loss of sight. But I was blind to myself and blind to him. One cannot love another if they don't love themselves first, just as one cannot know another if they do not first know oneself. 
We got caught up in physical attraction and very late night debates on the back of a ship in the middle of the ocean. One night we slept outside under the stars, hands to ourselves, but with untrained hearts.

When I moved to Atlanta to be with him, he all of a sudden "didn't want anything serious." As if a move across the country isn't already a serious thing, but I digress. 
It is not healthy to start a relationship with an ultimatum. I know that now but 24 year old me was fed up. So I said, "I'm not going with you to this event if you're going to introduce me as your friend." And I was prepared to not go. He chose to take me and so i became his "girlfriend." Kind of a stressful way to proclaim "relationship" but we need to ask for what we want. And so I did.

Two years of good followed by two years of awful leaves a lot of wreckage in the heart. And the body. My chest, a harbor full of broken ships, planks, shapnel. Could not see the ocean floor through the remains of what we were trying to build. And so I left. In order to rebuild myself.

The second time I fell in love I was just ripe for sky flying souls meeting in the clouds to make love. We free wrote to each other. For months. Now if that won't do it to a poet, I dunno what will. But there was no editing, no deletions allowed, just full and open words. We wrote until we were finished and hit 'send.' Talk about cultivating intimacy! I now know to not do that with anyone who isn't committed to sticking around for whatever is to come. 

I learned the pain of falling in love with someone who wasn't in love with me. What a tragedy. A writhing ache, snaking its way through your body, til it makes you sick. And contemplative. Depressed and alone. Til it turns you into a yogi. 
This is what happens when you grow love and intimacy without legs. Or a ground. It is a cloud, just waiting to burst or become fog and rain away. 
Don't do this. I really wouldn't recommend it.

The third time I fell in love I was legs but no feet. No ground underneath me. Walking like that is wobbly. Carrying the dried out wood and straw, the old news chronicles of pain in your chest leaves you susceptible to fire. You can burn wildly like that. But that doesn't mean you should.

I fell without realizing the fall. My heart an upturned smile, the hopeful face of a child. His too. 
At least this time it was mutual, but it didn't last. We had both been burned before meeting each other, so we were both pretty easy to lift. This time at least it felt like ascendance but we showed up with no ground, so when we fell out:  there was nothing there. No front steps to rest our shoes on. No welcome mat. Not even a door. 

***

I think falling in love, in how we talk about it, in how we see it on TV and portrayed in the media is an accidental, decision-less thing. This is not the kind of beginning that anyone can expect to build on. And while occasionally we hear stories of those who did, who could, who were successful at that - they are rare, are they not? How many of us actually know a real story of two people we actually know who have been successful at that. Who's relationship survived?

Those stories belong mostly to our grandparents. Perhaps a few of our parents too, but not many. Our grandparent's generation was one with more patience, more time, less distraction. Having most likely not grown up with TV, or color TV for that matter, which proliferated in the 60's and 70's, they would have relied more upon learning about relationships and love through conversation. Or watching their family members and friends trials and tribulations. 

TV really does us an injustice with it's fantastical, romantic, whirlwind romance portrayals with little to no substance. These are not places we can build from. In this storyline we can fall - in love - we can feel like we're flying, we can let our hearts go but when they come back to us what do we have left? Reality? Which may or may not feel like love.

Love is a way. Not a thing out of reach that escapes us. We can cultivate love in our lives every day with the people around us. By being responsible friends, by practicing kindness, generosity, honesty, integrity and by practicing these things also with ourselves. We do not have to lack love just because we are not in love. We can build a solid ground beneath us. A foundation with which to rest on and walk and grow from. 

If we do this it becomes our source of life and from which we can grow. When we do this we will realize that falling makes no sense. It is a risk not worth taking. We have too much beneath us now to be so frivolous with our hearts. 

It is form this place that I write and from this place that falling makes no sense. 
I prefer to build.

 

 

 

 

It's Not That Difficult, You're Just Doing It Wrong

Originally penned/published:  April 29, 2013

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ll begin with a bit of dialogue between myself and a colleague on Friday:

“Marriage is difficult.”

I nod my head, “So I hear.”

“No, it’s really, REALLY DIFFICULT.”

Nod head some more, “Okay.”

I have never been married. Fair enough. But I have a very close example in my life of two people who are married and who are gloriously happy. Granted, it’s not perfect. Nothing ever is. It is not a dream-sequence. But its good, damnit. REALLY good. And I’m sure it took work. Still TAKES work. But growing takes work. And I definitely know all about that.

My concern here was the tone in his voice and the persistence in his speech. Yeah, I get it. Marriage is hard. So I’ve heard. Yep. But we all know that. You knew that going in! Anyway, he proceeds to tell me about his schedule. How he used to travel twice a month and since he’s been married (which, I believe is somewhere between 9-12 months) he’s only been away twice. I, personally, think that’s striking and I wonder why he hasn’t been away more.

He continues with, “It takes compromise. Sacrifice”

I nod. I know this.

But he says these like they’re REALLY SERIOUS things. Like… like maybe he’s compromising or sacrificing too much. Perhaps he is? I think about the travel. Sure, I imagine when one marries they may need to make changes. You lose a little bit of the freedom you once had. And especially when there’s a child involved. But, generally speaking, I think as individuals we ought to watch HOW MUCH we compromise and what things. There are some things you must maintain for your sanity. Emotional health. For your overall well-being. Those things, I would argue, are not really compromise-able. A healthy and happy Joe Black, single, is better than an unstable, overworked, exhausted, and stressed-beyond-belief Joe Black, married.

I would also argue that we’ve gotta watch out for our people. Our friends, family, and most definitely lovers or partners, to ensure that they’re still healthy post-whatever life changes they’ve made. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re unhappy until we’re already there. But as friends, family members, and yes, even as someone’s lover or partner, we can realize when they’re not happy. And we have to have the confidence and the trust and the better judgement, and damnit, the maturity to share our observations. And then the willingness to RE-compromise, renegotiate really, if things aren’t working well for both parties. And be okay with it. Use it as a growth opportunity.

Growing is good. It hurts. But it’s good.

You cannot compromise the things you love. They must be incorporated.

 

And sooooooo you all know how I feel about dating. I think it’s f*cking stupid. At least the typical American style of dating.

It’s dumb. Really. No, no really. It’s really, really dumb.

lol

And here’s why. It’s because it has “roles.” And people actually subscribe to that and then become them, own them… I mean, are we in a play now? Is this a movie? You = doorholder/payer (sometimes) and your role is to impress me. Be kind, seem strong, give the impression that you’re financially stable or perhaps “well-off” if you so feel. You should be reasonable and even tempered…

And then here’s me: I’m sweet. Docile. I wear a dress. I let you open doors. I am agreeable, supportive, pretty….

Ugh.

Have you ever heard of anything SO BORING????

Are we supposed to just pretend like we’d be the perfect wife or husband??? Give me a break. No wonder why there’s this “honeymoon period” in so many American relationships. BECAUSE EVERYONE’S PRETENDING!!!

F*ck that.

So why am I bringing this up again?

So I recently started “seeing someone” – you could say – orrrrr however you wanna say that. It’s new, there is no title, but we shared that we’re not seeing anyone else… and so yeah. And I kinda don’t want to see anyone else. At least not at this time.

So anyway… so yesterday a friend texted me to see if I wanted to go to brunch. Or, at least I thought he was a friend. I replied that I would love to (I love going to brunch btw) but I was cooking brunch for someone already. Then I followed with the whole I’m-seeing-someone-now-so-any-future-outings-must-be-strictly-platonic…. And honestly… I liked this person. And previous outings hadn’t really been overly non-platonic. I think we kissed once. When we were drunk. Lol. But I was hoping for a strictly platonic future outing. I value this person. And I have many male friends. The male-female friend thing is not impossible at all to me, it’s quite a good reality actually. Most women make me crazy. But anyway, I was surprised to receive a message back saying, “My bad. I won’t bother you anymore.”

Jesus.

Really?

  1. You’re not a bother. If you were, I would’ve told you long ago to leave me alone, but more importantly

  2. You really have no interest in being my friend. Geez…. Wow. Thanks. (<— note the sarcasm)

So here’s my sadness to all this. When meeting people, as a single woman, I honestly approach everyone as a potential friend. (if I find out they’re legitimately crazy or just do awful, awful things… Then no. We won’t be friends.) But I approach everyone with the concept of finding out what they’re about: their visions/dreams, their goals, values, their work, integrity, their peace…. I’m always curious to learn something from someone. And so…. Man… I guess I become sad when I find out later that they did not have the same approach as I. They weren’t genuinely interested in knowing me.

I guess, though, there’s really not much of a reason to be sad, there’s just a reason to grow:  know that not everyone is or even wants to be your friend. And that the people who really want to be in your life, and the people who belong there, will be present and will stay. Everyone else…..??? They’re probably not the best for you. Have faith in that.

Okay, maybe it’s not typical American dating that I’m so frustrated with but perhaps the typical American…

So in reflection on my colleague – this morning I was thinking about his comments and his conclusion:  he whisked off to Costa Rica for 4 days, against the wishes of his wife, to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate… I also wondered why she didn’t want him to go. The man is visibly exhausted. Shoot, I wanted him to go. It’s clear he needed to get away.

And while eating breakfast this morning and listening to my best friend/roommate’s phone conversation with a supervisor, and her subsequent complaints after…. Which were a little irritating to me first thing in the morning but I listened… I thought, “maybe it’s not so difficult at all…. Maybe you’re just doing it wrong.”

I finished my coffee, breathed the irritability out and re-found my peace.

So in reflection:

Breath in.

(finish your coffee)

Breath out.

Re-find your peace.

And keep friendship first.

Be good, good people.

<3

Your Seashell Sound

Originally penned/published:  February 1, 2013

My stepmother loves the sound of my father’s voice. “It’s soothing” she says.

For a while I wondered if it had become soothing to her over time, or if it just was outright from the beginning. I never asked her. But I’ve thought lots about this as, in my singledom, I’ve spoken with a few men whose voices I would say the same about. I could listen to them aaallllll daaayyyyyy… like, “just tell me stories please. I’ll just lay here on the couch and listen to you.” 

:)  Like that.

 

I’ve also noticed myself talking to a few, in a very calm but very, very assured and confident manner – a way I take note of. A way that I talk with my Dad when we have our conversations about life, philosophy, society… whatever we tend to go in on at the time. Sometimes I speak SOOO ELOQUENTLY when I’m talking to him. It made me wonder, like, “why the F??” Why does that only happen with him and so very few others? I think in some ways it’s the topic, but I also think it’s something else too…

 

But anyways, I’ve thought a lot about the ole adage that women look for their fathers when the look for a partner. And, my Dad is like, remarkable. Pretty, ridiculously, life-altering-ly remarkable. Soooo I’m kinda screwed there… jk. But I do think it’ll take a while. Perhaps. We shall see… 

But anyways, there’s this poem that I LOVE, called, or referred to as “Last Love” by Rachel McKibbens (youtube that. It’s incredible!) in which she says, “look for your father. And not the one you can point to on a map but that one that is here” and she points to her heart/chest.  

To me – that’s a place where sound reverberates. And feeling.

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to that space lately.

A LOT.

To know it better.  And to learn what each sensation means. It’s been a good but difficult process, but I know it’s working. :)

And so I pay attention to that place when I listen to people, or just when I’m around them. Sometimes it shivers, sometimes it trembles, but sometimes, every once in while, it will lie still or feel so full I think I might burst with joy. Sometimes it just smiles too.

There are some people I LOVE to listen to. And there are some whom make me nervous or uncomfortable. And I do believe that some of it is because of their sound, and also their rhythm.  And sure, the things they say most definitely matter too, but my goal is to point out the importance of sound and rhythm.

 

So I’ve been reading a wide variety of things since I left grad school. I read like 10-12 books at once, it takes me forever to finish one usually but I just like variety in that realm. One of the things I stumbled upon in the last year was an article on NPR about children’s tantrum’s – their patterns and rhythms:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/05/143062378/whats-behind-a-temper-tantrum-scientists-deconstruct-the-screams

“scientists found that different toddler sounds – or “vocalizations” – emerge and fade in a definite rhythm in the course of a tantrum. “

Hmmmmm…..

“tantrums are no different than thunderstorms or other natural phenomena.”

Fascinating!!

 

So what am I getting at???

Welp, if the inside of you sounds like thunder, then it will comes out in the way you speak.

And if you try to mask or strangle it – we will know, for some of us are attuned to the maskings and stranglings…

 

And if your inside is easy and calm like a river – we will hear that too…

 

We hear you.

 

In all you sounds and rhythms, intentions and emotions,

 

We hear you.

 

Be good.

 

And be loved.

 

<3