serpentsky: (Default)
serpentsky ([personal profile] serpentsky) wrote2008-04-16 10:12 am
Entry tags:

Thoughts on Relationships

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but it still pertains. Possibly to remind MYSELF to stop making things so fucking hard, as well, I'm posting it here.

I've realized I am sick of hearing people say how hard relationships are. There are only two reasons they're ever hard:

- you're with the wrong person
- you're using the past [wrong people] as a yardstick to judge how hard a relationship should be. [If the past relationships were right, or how they should be, you'd still be in them!]

In other words, we're doing it to ourselves. I truly believe this. I've talked to a few people over the past few days about the nature of relationships, and an astute friend's two words made it all click in my head: "romantic comedies." I spent a good part of my wait for a band interview on Saturday night talking to a friend about that, because she's the sort of friend who points me in the direction of the truths I seek; my reality check, in many ways.

So let's think about the romantic comedy for a bit, keeping in mind just how much of an impact pop culture has on our society at large. The romantic comedy is formulaic – they all pretty much are based off the same basic premise.

Boy and girl meet -> boy and girl fall in love -> something happens to tear them apart [jealousy, deceit, ghosts from the past, misunderstandings, meddling friends, lack of communication, etc.] -> something happens to bring them back together after a chance happening. This chance happening usually occurs when the female is leaving a grocery store in an unexpected place, with a brown paper bag, a French loaf sticking out of the right side, some fresh carrots with their green leaves sticking out of the left. She may or may not drop the bag, but they have an awkward moment, possibly some harsh words, then kiss and walk off into the sunset together, ostensibly [or visibly] to spend the rest of their lives together.

And here’s the thing: that’s not how it goes. It’s just not. But we’ve grown up considering that the norm; we practically expect – and wait – for the drama to pop up. And when it doesn’t, we – most likely inadvertently – create the drama for ourselves because in our subconscious, it doesn’t feel like love/potential love/a proper relationship to us if it’s actually easy.

Why are we torturing ourselves so?

I propose that when two people gel near-perfectly, it’s not a cause for concern or alarm, it’s cause for celebration. Those two people are the lucky ones… they’ve managed to overcome the wrong person, the past, the right person [maybe], wrong time… they’ve just landed in each other’s laps and should be grateful that the benevolent forces in the world aligned just so, in order for that to happen.

Instead, though, fear ends up ruling the minds of the parties. They start actively looking for flaws and excuses and reasons to not take the plunge. In a way, it’s hard to blame them. After all, it’s scary to put yourself on the line like that. It’s taking a risk, and who likes to do that? The words, “I could get my heart broken” run through your mind like an illuminated screen in Times Square, because the past shows you, and swears to you, that’s what happens when you fall.

But you know what? It doesn’t always happen. Think of the couples who make the news, celebrating 60th anniversaries. Your grandparents, and their enduring love. They took the risk and found everything they wanted – and didn’t get their hearts broken, for once. For always. Their hearts remain intact and they have a partner, a companion, a support system, and someone who loves them. It’s rare, but beautiful.

I, personally, am willing to take the risk, if I think it’s worth it. Perhaps my slight masochistic streak makes this easier for me than for others, but I refuse to let myself become nothing but a mass of scars that I wear all too proudly, using them to shield me from ever moving forward. I refuse to take all my baggage – stamped, well-worn, and tattered – and carry it through life, building walls, bag by bag, that nobody can see around. I’ve done this before, and I know this much: it’s against everything I believe in… particularly personal growth and discovering new things. I will not sleep with ghosts.

I think we’ve all become far too comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to wear our scars and our damage on our sleeves. Not that I think we should be ashamed of, or hide, our pasts. They’re part of who we are – they helped shape us into the people we are now. They taught us lessons, they showed us what we don’t want, as well as what we want. Good and bad, we ideally grasped new ideas about ourselves and our place in the world. Where we belong and how we relate.

…But we can’t use them as a crutch, or as a defense mechanism. Love, like anything worth having, requires some risk. You might get hurt. You might not. You won’t know, either way, if you don’t give it a chance.

It’s easy to just walk away, to go back to old ways. To hide your feelings behind stone walls that people may or may not see through; to try and trick them with things like sex or random conversation or simple avoidance. Stop dwelling on the past! It’s the past for a reason, or myriad reasons. But you’re not being true with yourself when you do that, you’re hurting someone else, but even more so, you’re also hurting yourself.
We need to start thinking about life like this: it’s not a romantic comedy… it’s an adventure. It’s opportunities. It’s learning. It’s taking massive risks, knowing that one day, something will happen that makes you sit back and think, “I can’t believe it… it was worth the risk.”

And if it wasn’t? Well, add that to the life experience column. You’ll still learn, you’ll still walk away with a better understanding of yourself and your place in this world, especially in relation to others.

As such, I say, just breathe. Remember life isn’t a romantic comedy. And be glad that it isn’t, because you know as well as I do… those movies usually suck.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 02:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I am so glad to see you in this space. So glad for you to see that chaos and pain aren't necessarily indicators of how much someone cares for you. That peace and ease can finally bring you joy.

I think all too often, we believe there has to be a "perfect fit" that has NO disagreements/ arguments/ hard times - and that's not good, either, 'cos then every teensy thing is a reason to end the relationship. I shoot for an 80/20 balance in my relationships - it's not always going to be perfect, but I expect for it to bring me peace/ joy at least 80% of the time I devote to it. If I spend more than 20% of my time being miserable or feeling like I suck, or trying to "fix" myself -- well, that fucker's outta here, 'cos I AM better than that and I deserve more than to feel like I am the fucked up loser.

But I think we're also conditioned that pain and suffering and hurt and loss are part of the accepable package. Which... is kinda fucked up, you know? On the one hand: "If it's not a fairy tale all the time, get out! It sucks!" but on the other: "Endure the pain and hurt and that man is the only reason you have worth, so don't let him go and suck it up."

Fucking society. Lordisa forbid we try to find balance in that warped mash up of a message.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 02:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks, hon. :) You and I have known each other for a while, and you've definitely seen me in some fucked-up headspace. The funny thing is, a lot of this came after I stopped going to therapy... I suppose some people are the sort who need to find the answers in their own heads, and I'm one of them. I don't think I would have come to all of this if someone was still holding my hand and listening to my fleeting thoughts. I pretty much am forced to take them all and put the pieces together, and it's actually much healthier for how my brain works.

And yes, I agree... there's a balance. Nobody can be 100% happy as a couple, because no person is 100% happy all the time. That was a problem I had with Matt -- he expected, and pretty much demanded -- that I was never anything but smiles and sunshine. I think he wanted me to shit rainbows. And he'd get angry/abusive if I wasn't, even with good reason. I never should have taken that for the time I did.

A degree of hurt is always a part of the package... you put your heart in someone else's hands, you will inevitably get stung once in a while. And that's okay... scrapes and scratches and bee stings are all part of growing up, and a couple is essentially two people growing up, but together, and in a different direction. In my head, anyway.

Our society is all about black and white; total extremes. I also wrote something to that effect around the time I wrote this -- people forget the shades of grey and the myriad colors all too often, even though they're what we see more than anything, while seeking the absolutes of the extreme ends of the spectrum.

I wonder if that will ever change.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 03:37 pm (UTC)(link)
We have known each other for a while - and there was a bit there where I was scared for you pretty much always. I cannot begin to tell you how much it does my soul good to see you in THIS place instead of where you've been for the past few years.

And I am stupid-thrilled to maybe, possibly have the opportunity to meet you next month.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww. Thank you. It's funny, because I think I really did need those bad times to get to where I was even capable of having the good. Or recognizing it. I had to really focus on myself to get the clarity and general peace of mind I have now. It's a good thing.

I really hope we can swing meeting up next month! At the very least, a quick "ohmygodhihowareyouyou'reawesome!!" and a hug should be do-able, even with your high-falootin' schedule. :P

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
This made my day. Thanks!

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 02:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Really? Well, thank you, as well. :)

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 03:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Mind if I link to it in my journal?

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Sure! I'll make it public, since I'm actually proud of it as a whole piece. Thanks a lot. :)
witchchild: (Gunnlod and Odin)

[personal profile] witchchild 2008-04-16 03:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm going to link this too. good points.
Many years ago I heard a woman say that the problem is not teens having sex, but teens "falling in love," because the idea of love is so out of whack and causes a lot more pain than just having sex. Plus, most people never get out of that pseudo-ideal image as they grow older. They just get bitter.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)

I think that's interesting... you're right, and that woman was right. Culturally, we're throwing everything out of whack and people are looking to the wrong places for inspiration and ideas. Depressing, really.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 05:06 pm (UTC)(link)
i remember you saying you like alain de botton-- have you ever read 'on love' by him (i think it also goes by the name 'essays on love' or something. something with essays.)? i feel like that book, while sometimes totally bogus, agrees with you in some ways. since you like him, if you've never read it, you might want to check it out! (though i feel like you must have--everyone i know who has even heard of him definitely have that on their past reads list)

i took a class when i was in school called 'love and other technologies' (claiming that love is just like a technology, i know, don't you love the lang-ness in that one?) and i actually got a lot out of it, the readings were awesome, and flirted with a lot of the questions/issues you raise.

i think my final summation on love after that class is that people have it all wrong: we hold love in a really high, unrealistic, unattainable (ie: soulmate, perfect fit), unnatural (why love? why not something else!) light, nitpicking at minor details while the pure aspects of love get defiled. i'm not sure what these pure aspects are yet. i'm not even fully functional right now. but there must be something good and pure about love and romance for it to still have such an important and longlasting presence.

(god i hope that all makes sense!)

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 06:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I love Alain de Botton -- that was the second book I read by him, actually, after "The Art of Travel." I suspect he managed to influence a lot of my beliefs and whole self, actually -- between those two books and "How Proust Can Change Your Life."

I wish I could write prose as elegantly as he does, though I can imagine his style would be alienating for a lot of people.

The technology thing is... interesting, but I don't know that I agree. Definitely sounds like Lang, though. "Let's give our course the wackiest name and premise possible!" Outside of the feminist theory classes, though, I usually liked the reading the teachers put together.


[identity profile] 2008-04-16 06:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Here, here. I've been spending the last few years realizing that life isn't like it is portrayed in tne movies. This post couldn't be more appropriate for that sentiment.

I always feel empty after movies. I've been on an emotional roller coaster, especially if there is love involved. But when you step out of the theater, into the sunlight, reality takes hold. Life is NOT like that. Your examples are perfect.

Though, I do say, when you gel and when you are happy with someone some of those false expectations disappear. That super-imposed-inhuman-thoughtfulness that occurs in the movies is too much to want, but you are NOT settling if you find someone who even does something near that to sweep you off your feet.

But agreed. The past has made you what you are today, but not what you can become tomorrow. Some people will never outlive that gnawing history. I, for one, gladly file it away as experience, for better and for worse.

Re: Ramble.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 07:35 pm (UTC)(link)
You're so right. It's funny what perspective and time can give you. A year ago, I'd never have been able to understand these ideas, much less write about them. You know that because we even exchanged some thoughts on the nature of love and relationships that were polar opposites.

I think we're both in better places and that is really a good thing.
(deleted comment)

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 07:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, your wife happens to be the sage friend who set me on the path to this whole thing [in case you didn't already know that] so it's not shocking that you would agree. You guys have one of the sweetest relationships I've ever known of... and I think it's because you guys never fought it, and just let yourselves be in love, no matter how illogical or "strange" it may have seemed. Good for you. :)

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 07:29 pm (UTC)(link)
This is an awesome entry, and I'm going to mark it at a memory, because there is always someone in my life who needs to read what you just wrote.

[identity profile] 2008-04-16 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you. <3

[identity profile] 2008-04-17 01:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Some great thoughts on the subject Pixie and man I have to tell you hearing you talk like this ... well it was just amazing. You've come a long way in the past year, and man I can't wait to see where you are in another year.

So happy for you.

[identity profile] 2008-04-17 02:10 pm (UTC)(link)
*hug* Thank you. You've been one of my biggest supporters and always there, even when you didn't really understand [which is more than fair enough, from where I stand.] Thanks for that, and thanks for all the encouragement.

[identity profile] 2008-04-19 02:11 am (UTC)(link)

Just happy that things are finally coming around for you, you so deserve it.

[identity profile] 2008-04-17 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
You are a truly a prolific and insightful writer and I just wanted to thank you for the above - I really enjoy reading your thoughts and comments. You say what you mean and it’s very refreshing.
Thank you ~

[identity profile] 2008-04-18 02:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Very well put.
My own relationship is an illustration of yout point.
8 years ago when I started dating Ant, I was just out of an abusive relationship, righting my own wrongs through therapy and proper pharmaceuticals, and when things seemed to perfect to be true, I panic-ed.
Luckily Ant talked me down from the ceiling and here we are,still happily married seven years later.
I still can't believe my luck in finding him.
It feels like we've known each other forever and met just yesterday simultaniously.

I wish you all the happiness we have...

[identity profile] 2008-05-27 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Your comments on Darkrose's Lj led me here, I'm so glad for that. If anything on the inside of this journal is as inspirational as this post I would really appreciate being added as a friend, Thank you.


[identity profile] 2008-05-31 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
I was reading through my old journal entries to see how I sounded...and found a comment from you...and wondered how you're doing. I like this place that you're in as of April, and I agree with it very much now here in almost-June.

Best non-rainbow-shitting thoughts :).

[identity profile] 2008-09-24 02:40 am (UTC)(link)

Is it cool if I add you?



I'm sorry to intrude

[identity profile] 2008-10-14 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
are you the same SS from Fark?

Re: I'm sorry to intrude

[identity profile] 2008-10-14 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Indeed, I am. I keep this name pretty much locked down. I'm possessive of it. ^_^

Re: I'm sorry to intrude

[identity profile] 2008-10-14 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
It's good to see you again. i always enjoyed your posts.

Re: I'm sorry to intrude

[identity profile] 2008-10-14 04:43 pm (UTC)(link)
:) Thanks! I still post on Fark, just lately, it's been all politics, all the time. Once the election dies down, I'm sure things will be a bit more fun over there.

I can usually be found mocking Sarah Palin, for what that's worth.

[identity profile] 2009-01-21 06:01 am (UTC)(link)
I think relationships aren't hard, it's getting into one that's tricky.