Posts Tagged ‘community’

From Black and White to Shades of “Grey”: Does being left at the altar mean the end of a relationship?

Wedding Bouquet by Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wedding Bouquet by Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A certain popular television series got me thinking tonight. When do you know it’s right to join your life to another? To add him or her to your hub of your community? To allow him or her access to your other communities?

When do you know it’s right to become married?

I say “become married” rather than “get married” because I do not believe that marriage is something you acquire. Achieve, perhaps, grow into, most certainly, but pick up like eggs and milk from the corner store? No.

Also, I believe it is possible to become married without having a wedding. If you throw the law out of it (which it should be), and if you throw out definitions using variations of the same word (sloppy), then we see the third definition in Merriam-Webster as being:

An intimate or close union

Which is entirely possible to develop without celebrating it, without publicly stated vows, without rings or things or kitchen sinks…

Now, I am not discounting the importance of weddings. I do not believe that in general they are frivolous affairs which change nothing in any relationship. I believe they can be quite transformative, but that every wedding may not necessarily be so.

I’m simply questioning the all-encompassing significance our society places on the altar. Is it truly necessary to have a wedding in order to enter that state of intimate union with another?

And, as in the case of our fine characters who inspired this line of thought, can a relationship survive one of the two not making it to the altar? How devastating to the relationship must it be?

I can understand that to the individual left waiting it must be a tremendous blow to the ego, and to your faith and trust in the other person, and that latter part necessitates that it must affect the relationship – but must it be devastating?

An intimate or close union. Union. That requires two people, two wants, two needs, two schedules, and two perspectives to consider.

And I believe one can be entirely ready for a marriage, for an intimate union, for a partnership of that magnitude, and yet, not be ready for a wedding.

Obviously communication is key, but if you are planning a wedding (and hopefully the after-wedding) with a person, and you show up on the day, brimming with certainty and anticipation and a certain amount of trepidation… and that person simply doesn’t arrive… Does it change who he or she is? Does it change who he or she is to you? Does it change what you want from/with him or her? Do you stop loving him and wanting her and needing him or her?

Or can you accept that it happened and move on and still be with him or her?

Is that too much? Is it an act devoid of self-respect to stay on? To continue the relationship after inconsideration and perceived rejection and (typically) intimate public humiliation?

Obviously, one cannot know until one is in such a position, but I can tell you what I hope from myself, and my partners:

Perhaps I am too romantic. Perhaps I was raised by parents who demonstrated such unconditional love that I can’t imagine any singular act on it’s own changing that type of bond.

But that’s just it.

“I love you forever” doesn’t come with caveats. Unless you put them there.

Perhaps it’s the divorced child in me, but I’ve had enough of secrets and ifs and situational relationships. A marriage is not the place for them. Not for me, anyhow. By the time I’m looking down an aisle (or trail, or path, or ribbon, or slip’n’slide – whatever we set up), I would hope that I am already considering that person waiting for me to be my partner, and for I to be his or hers. We would already be family. Our marriage would already have begun, and would not be solely dependent on a wedding happening that hour, that day, or at all.

You shouldn’t have to say “I’ll have an intimate union with you, only after we sign documents/speak vows/party with family,” it should be a process. An ongoing ever-evolving process. I hope I wake up everyday from the moment I know that person to be part of my family and think to myself “Today, I marry you” whether there’s a wedding or not.

What do you hope for in such an experience? Please share your story below.

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From Quantity to Quality: How To Make Friends Part III

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes you have to mine a lot of coal before you find a diamond. So if you are bent on expanding your community, or if you find yourself building from scratch, the fastest way to meet the widest range of people is probably what you’re looking for. The final frontier, so to speak.

Speed dating and Social Mixers.

Seriously. I’m not joking. You don’t have to be looking to date anyone, or maybe you are and that’s OK, too. But Speed Dating and Mixers are going to get you in touch with the most number of new people the most quickly.

We’ve talked about doing things you enjoy, and we’ve talked about getting over fear – and frankly, both will help you if you go this route, the former by providing you with subjects on which to converse, and the latter, because, well, you got to have some chutzpah to put yourself out there like that.

I’ve never done it but I’ve definitely thought about it, and actually it seems like such an awesome idea. A public forum to meet new people and hopefully create platonic, romantic, or even business relationships from there. It’s like networking on steroids.

Guaranteed if you live near a major city there are several companies devoted to this kind of event – but your local church, college, or community centre might host them, too. Double check whether you need to be a member to attend.

I know some people laugh at this kind of thing, or think it’s weird, or only for desperate people – but really, what’s so wrong with it? And if you try it, what have you got to lose?

Here’s what I would do to prepare for an event like this:

1. Get dolled up. Not because you’re looking to lure a man or woman, but because when you look good, you feel good. When you are putting your best image out there, it’s so much easier to feel confident. But be wise about it. Don’t wear 3 inch heels if you’re a flats girl, don’t buy a blazer you found on the pages of GQ if you’re a sweater vest type of guy (sweater vest are hot, by the way).  Be comfortable, be you, but be the type of you that feels beautiful.

2. Pack appropriately – mints, anyone? Chapstick, some cash, business cards if you have ’em. Makeup if you’re into touching up. A lucky charm. If you’re really nervous you might jot down some topics to bring up, or a quotation or mantra that you find soothing or inspirational. Bring a pen and some paper for info exchanges – just in case nobody else brought business cards…

3. Bring a Friend – yes, yes, I know you’re here to meet new people. But it’s always nice to have some back up, someone to laugh with on the way home if the night went horribly awry, and especially for women, there is safety in numbers. Generally these events are held in brightly lit (streetwise) public areas, but it may be a section of town with which you’re not familiar. Or parking could be a few blocks away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and having a friend along when you’re lost, or not sure if that guy is following you, or just headed to the same lot as you will be a huge asset.

4. Be open to the experience. Try not to have preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy. That’s the only way you get anything out of anything – just see what happens. Be present in the moment.

You may not meet your soulmate, or your BFF, but you might have fun. You might have fantastic conversations with people you might never have looked twice at if you’d passed them on the street. You might find someone who can help you with that furniture restoration, or squealing belt in your car’s engine, or who can set you up with an interview for a better job. Or, you might be able to help someone else out. How cool would that be?

Whatever happens, it would be an experience.

What do you think? Is speed dating still too weird? Or is it passé now? What about mixers? Are they just conventions in miniature? Or a house party gone corporate? Would you ever try one of these?

Communal Musings

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

So what is a community? Why do we seek it out? Why do we spend all this energy cultivating it? Why do we need it?

Well, I believe a community is a collection of people or things with a relationship to one another; usually with the aspiration of being greater than the sum of its parts. Two people can form a community, a very intimate one, albeit. And one person alone can have a community of the mind or of passion or of achievement – by collecting and experiencing art, literature, and sport.

When we are born we rely on our family, our first community to provide for us, to keep us alive. We are dependent.

As we grow, our independence grows, too, and I think as adults we have a hard time balancing that desire and pride in providing for oneself, in achieving goals without the assistance of others and yet allowing ourselves to find those on whom we can depend. Why should we? Especially in this day and age of technology and superstores we ought to be self-sufficient, yes?

No.

That need of others is still there, sometimes deep within. And the fact is, we are stronger in numbers. Emotionally, physically, and mentally we grow more in relation to our experiences, and the more people, activities, and geography we include in our communities, the more experience we cultivate, the stronger we become.

I say “more” but I mean it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. A man might visit all seven continents in a year while another has spent a lifetime studying in minute detail the 10 square miles surrounding his home – who has seen more of the world? I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

This begins to explain why we seek out and cultivate communities, and I’ve begun to speak of several definitions of what a community might include.

But what about you? Why do you seek out a community? Do you seek one out at all? How do you define it? What do you include in it? Please, let me know, I’m curious to hear what others think on this.

Give and Take

Give and Take

A gift courtesy david.orban, Creative Commons License

Alright, I took a week. I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you and didn’t tell you why or give you a heads up. We good?

If only it were that simple, right?

It comes back to this today. At work I am a Giver, with my friends, currently, I am a Giver, and with Dashing, I am equal parts Giver and Cleaner.

Even with family, especially this time of year, I am Giver/Cleaner.

I suppose we could say I use this blog to Take for myself, and it’s true, I do get something out of it (even more than this, although this was nice!). Or I wouldn’t keep doing it, right?

So when is it my turn in real life?

Well, if past experience serves, December? Not gonna be it.

See Christmas is in December, and my nearly Christian family thinks that means something…

Mini-rant: Why do we all have to celebrate holidays at the same time? I get that it makes things easier for employers and the government, but really? It’s so annoying when the shops all close down and when I was a shift-worker who didn’t get holidays with the rest of the country (hotels never close, yo. Service industry For The Win!) it was d*mn hard to keep track. Is this a holiday where I have to remember to buy groceries before the shops close, or is this a “holiday” where consumerism reigns and just the lucky government and school children stop working? I never knew until I was sitting in my car in an empty supermarket parking lot thinking “Wait… I know this… Crap, it’s that day!” And the reasoning behind specifically Christmas (which is my family’s argument every year) and that it’s not about taking the holiday with the rest of the country, it’s about that’s when it is, Baby Jesus couldn’t help being born on December 25th — EXCEPT THAT HE DID! Religious appropriation – puts Christmas right up there with Thanksgiving in my fake holiday book… End Rant. Continue: Mostly Thought Out Argument…

Add to that my birthday is in December, this past week actually. And from where I sit, birthdays rarely seem to be about the person growing older. Maybe it’s my div0rced-child roots showing but if the point is that it’s my daaaay and time for me to do whatever I want then couldn’t I forgo the party? Or by that logic, shouldn’t that be a mandated holiday every year (I had my first uni exam on my birthday, so holiday mandation could have been useful)? At the very least – could I go on a crime spree and have no repercussions? “Sorry officer, it’s my birthday and all I wanted to do today is race down the highway at 150 km/hr and invite myself inside some nice person’s home (side note: now that’s how to make friends!)… ”

It just feels like this period is all about me but not actually for me.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I get that birthdays are on the surface about surviving another year, and presumably acknowledging one’s accomplishments, and celebrating one’s mistakes, self-reflection, finding enlightenment – but they seem to end up being about how your mother was very uncomfortable once upon a time or how your ex would really like to get drunk and lock himself in your bathroom (true story) or how your community really just wants an excuse to eat, drink and be merry – which means you smiling – a lot… I get that ultimately holidays are about celebrating family and togetherness and gratitude for our communities. I understand that is an easier feat to accomplish when it’s scheduled in the communities’ collective consciousness. I get that the date is not actually important so long as the intention is preserved.

Maybe I’m a Grinch. Maybe I just resent being told what to do and when to do it.

After all, if the point is to celebrate your community and show your gratitude for how they lift you up and preserve you from harm – isn’t making it easier kinda lazy? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if you took time out and made a holiday happen instead of allowing a religious or governmental institution tell you when to do it?

Wouldn’t you appreciate one of your friends celebrating you on a day that isn’t your birthday more than having to say “It’s my birthday, let’s party, and you can buy me gifts/shots/lap dances?” If it’s not about the gift, if it’s about the thought behind the gift… then isn’t a gift “just because” better than a gift “because it’s [insert holiday]”?

One Last Mini-Rant On This Subject: And for the record, while I would really rather not get anything, if you must buy gifts, on behalf of anyone born in December or early January – Christmas themed gifts are not birthday presents! Buy some new wrapping paper – or use comic books, or newsprint, or fabric, or a dropcloth – stay away from red and green combos (unless the person you’re buying for actually likes that combination – which is cool if they do) and go for red OR green instead, and for goodness sake anything with snowflakes, Frosty, Santa, or reindeer are not welcome unless, you know, the recipient collects that stuff. I would rather you write me a poem, or make a card, or give a gift certificate, or put some thought into what I might like, versus, OK check, gift done. If you can’t find a mug/sweater/tchotchke that doesn’t have Christmas all over it for a winter birthday, you’re not really trying, and it’s kinda insulting. I’d rather not get anything at all. Seriously.

How to Keep Friends: A Social Experiment, Part II

Friends courtesy HaPe_Gera, Creative Commons License

So here’s how I’m doing in my little social experiment. I’ve alluded to it here, and here. Let’s get specific.

I have fallen behind on my Facebooking, but I should remedy that with putting some time in this weekend.

I went out last Friday, but to a concert, and I ducked out early, so I really didn’t get to spend much time actually interfacing with people. In my defense, I had to work overtime the next day… I know. It’s lame.

I have put an effort in to keeping in touch, via text and phone call, but I can feel it starting to slip. Now is the time to redouble my efforts, yes?

I haven’t organized any events though…

With the holidays coming up, everyone’s time is precious, and money is earmarked for other things: gifts, travel, rent, feasting, therapy…

So I’m trying to generate some quick, painless, cheap get-together ideas. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Movie Marathon: Whether you watch Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, movie marathons are always fun, and if cheap if you already own them. Pop some popcorn, let your DVD (or VCR) machine do the real work, and have people BYOB. Done.

2. Bowling: At less than $20 per game, four people can have a lot of fun pretty cheaply. Plus competition – I hear you athlete types chomping at the bit already. And a plus against the movie marathon is that you can actually engage in conversation – more than just reciting everyone’s favourite lines as they come up that is.

3. Pub: A local watering hole to which people can walk or easily carpool can be cheap – it can also be pricey. It depends on how much people end up drinking, really. But at least the onus isn’t on the host, but each individual, so if they got the cash, and a safe way home, let ’em enjoy!

4. Potluck Party: I love potlucks. You get to try new things sometimes, and everyone takes home leftovers, and recipes are exchanged – it’s a great ice breaker and conversation starter, too! “Oh, you put green apple in your mashed potatoes – how interesting!” Plus, food, ‘nuf said.

And that’s all I got so far.

The problem with these is that they really depend on people being able to get together at the same time, which for my friends is pretty much a miracle. You throw corporate nine-to-fiver me in with shift working single moms and musicians and bartender/students and well, I guess Monday at 6:00 am might work for us all… But baby steps, right? So maybe I employ these with two or three people to start…

Or maybe I find a way to make that early Monday morning thing work… Wouldn’t that be cool, starting your day off bright and early with some straight-up friend time?

Any suggestions on cheap evenings (or mornings – seriously, I think I could be on to something here!) to spend with friends? What’s your go to get-together? Do you game? Video-thon? Evening walks? Organized sports? Let me know below, I could use the help!

Family: Who Makes the Cut

Happy Family
Happy Family Taking Self Portrait courtesy photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As I write out my Christmas Cards, I can’t help but think of who I consider to be family.

I am part of many families, you see. There’s my mother’s family, and my father’s family with whom I share a common lineage (adoptively speaking), and my father’s created family (those who have standing invitations to our home), and my created family, which includes a few of my friends, and members of each of my other families, and Dashing and a few of his biological family.

It’s a little like this:

FAMILY CHART

FAMILY CHART – BY MISS HAPP

But how do we get there? When you’re little, your family are those people who take care of you, and by extension any whom they call family.

Over years one develops those existing relationships, growing closer to some, learning to tolerate (or not) others… and as one grows and meets new people one adds to the base from which to draw familial relationships.

That’s fairly simple, and common, thinking.

But when is it that someone goes from being a friend, to being family?

For me, it is that line where I would protect them from themselves. I love my friends, yes, but somehow I know they manage without me. I know they can take care of their own stuff, and I trust them to ask for help if they need it. I feel comfortable telling them when I think their behaving poorly, or when they’ve made a poor choice, but if they choose to disagree, well, that’s up to them.

Family though, family is so much more complicated.

Because somehow, in the idea that my life would be truly altered if this person were to leave or be in hardship, there’s the self-protective reaction that says I should do all I can to prevent it.

If a family member has an addiction, it affects me in ways a friend’s addiction might not, and it’s so much harder to tell them “You have a problem, and I need you to get help” because it’s like telling part of yourself that you’ve been let down by it.

If a friend has financial hardship – I might give them some money to help out, but probably not that much, and I might expect it paid back someday. I can understand that a friend might fall on hard times. And I understand that they will get back up on their own eventually.

If I see a family member heading towards financial hardship, I do all I can – lecturing, giving of funds, subtle and not-so-subtle hints about job applications or savings accounts – because underneath it all, I feel responsible for their well-being.

I recognize that, like my friends, my family is mostly full of capable adults, who manage to feed themselves, and clothe themselves, and get to and from work daily without my constant assistance or supervision – but I still feel connected to them in a way where if they fail, I fail. If they succeed, I am proud of their accomplishment, and happy to have helped in any small way. But when family hits a rough spot, for me, it’s an all hands on deck kind of time.

At least, that is the gut, knee-jerk reaction.

But I’ve come to learn that even family, sometimes have to fail on their own.

After all, it’s through failing that we learn our greatest lessons, right?

But even when it’s a hands off – let-em-fall-down kinda time, there’s still that instinct, that basic desire to come between them and the cold, hard ground, because when they hurt, I hurt.

And that’s how I know who’s my family.

Where’s the line for you? Are you more protective of friends, trusting your family to speak up more? What do you think? Let me know below!

How To Make Friends: Part 1

Friends

Successful friends courtesy stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As promised…

I don’t know much about keeping friends, but I do know a very little about making friends.

See I spent my childhood with only one or two friends at a time. I had a lot of time to observe.

Then I blossomed. I discovered drama, and theatre people, and figured out how to make friends.

You see, theatre people are a whole other species. Really. Anyone who has been or knows someone who has been a theatre person, knows this.

The actors spend their time observing humanity from the outside in, and performing to feel it from the inside out.

The writers observe and deliberate over nuance and context, seeing plot in every sentence.

The directors find relationship dynamics and power shifts in every movement, every volume level, feeling to pull those strings at the right time to form the right message.

The stage managers see everything. They know all. And they are everywhere.

The tech crew work harder than anyone gives them credit, creating art out of nothing, out of negative space, and for the most part, they do it smiling.

It was here I found my niche. You don’t become a theatre person. You just are one. Even after you sell out to corporate life for drugs and money.

So what are you?

What activity turns you on? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

Because if you’re looking to attract new friends, that is where I would start. With something that, even if you don’t make a lasting people connection straight off the bat, at least you’ll have fun swinging.

My father played in a recreational baseball league until he was 50. My sister continues to play volleyball after college. My mother travels. Her spouse joins the Rotary club.

I read, and swim lengths, and go for walks and movies – all things that can be done in groups, but I usually end up solo.

Why? I don’t know.

I think that acting is my thing. I am an actor. Even though it’s not lucrative (for me), and it’s time consuming (like you wouldn’t believe, unless, you know… you know), theatre people, they are my people. That is the one social circle I’ve ever felt like I fit into.

Who are your people?

If you don’t know, if you’ve never had that “Aha, click” moment of just sliding into place, start with an activity you’ve always wanted to try.

But mostly, I’d think of the things you remember doing as a kid. My sister, and father, and mother, and stepmom all played sports – competition is their thing.

I’ve liked reading and imagining myself in stories and imagining stories around me since I could read. Having an audience’s attention without having them staring at me, myself, is all I could ever ask for out of life. It just is. But I would go nuts if I had to talk about fouls and technicalities and scoring averages. I just don’t care about winning or losing in that sense. I see the beauty of sport, but the competition part just misses me.

So – do you like talking sports? See if you can join an adult recreation league in your area. Or hang out on game night at your local watering hole instead of in your own den.

Enjoy the arts? Join your local community theatre, or volunteer to usher at performances.

Is food or cooking what gets you going? Take some classes in a cuisine that’s unfamiliar to you, or learn how to frost cakes with all those flowers and leaves.

Love languages? There’s usually “X” as a second language courses at your local college or university.

Whatever it is, once you’re there, find one person who you find approachable, and strike up a conversation. It may be difficult at first. But just start with one person. Listen, and share your thoughts. It will get easier.

There is something about surviving something – even something as small as a play, a season, an exam – that bonds people together. You stop being a collection of individuals and become Mme. Leclerc’s 6:00 class. Or the cast of Footloose. Or the Flaming Weasels, most improved team of the season…

Whatever it is, as long as it’s an activity you enjoy, and you can do it with others who enjoy it, you will find a community, and you will find that you belong.

Breaking Out: Getting Over Yourself

Time to Break Out

Jail courtesy Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t know if it’s natural, but it seems fairly common with myself and those around me to put up these walls around ourselves. These fences, and signs that say “Private! Keep Out”

Now, in my gregarious days of excessive flirtation I was a natural at knocking these down. Dashing used to say that it didn’t matter how much he would barricade the entry to something, I’d come in through a window or the chimney or something and kick down the door from within.

These days, it seems I am a natural at putting them up.

It sneaks up on you. You think you’re doing it to protect others, to keep the dangerous parts of yourself, the messy emotions, the things they don’t want to hear from them. Or maybe you’re just hiding the white-hot pain to keep people from tracking their muddy work-boots all over it. Maybe it’s self-preservation. Maybe it’s to try to preserve them.

It doesn’t really matter. Because eventually you realize you’re alone, in a house with concrete walls, barbed wire fences, boarded windows, and seventeen locks on the doors, and you don’t know where you put the keys. You’re trapped.

What was your refuge, your safety zone, is now your prison.

And you start to hate them for abandoning you there.

Nevermind that the “Stay Away” “Electrified Fencing” and “Trespassers will be prosecuted” signs are all in your handwriting… You are trapped, and alone, and you hate them for not noticing, or for not staying, for not pushing back. For not wedging their work-boot in the doorway. For not coming down the chimney to join you.

Well, I hate to tell ya, sweetie, but it’s rough all over.

They have their own prisons they’re building. Or maybe they’re building a house o’ dreams, but you nixed the neighbourhood barbecue because they wanted to host it on your lawn, and now they have fences, white picket fences to be sure, but fences none-the-less keeping you out.

But you can’t stay alone, trapped in your fortress forever. You know it. But maybe you need to hear it. You cannot stay alone.

Because eventually you would die, and if the only people to notice your death are Revenue Services, well, that is so much scarier than reaching out.

So you break off the boards covering your windows. You look out and see your very safe lawn for the first time in eons. You struggle to wrench up the screeching window, as it protests the entire time. You climb out. And breathe. And reach out between the links on your electrified fence, hoping to touch someone passing by. Eventually, you get brave and climb over the barbed wire topping. Your body armour snags on the top and you have to leave it behind.

You land, vulnerable, on the sidewalk. And realize, from this side of your fortress, those picket fences keeping you out of your friends’ yards? Well, they’re ankle-high. Not insurmountable like you’d thought. But still, you have to be the one to get over them.

This is the hardest part. Telling people what you need, and trusting them to help you get it. Reaching out so that they can have the opportunity to reach back. You can’t just fall, and trust that they’ll catch you. You have to let them know that you are falling, and that you need them to catch you.

Shame is the biggest obstacle here. No one likes being the one falling. No one likes doing it in front of an audience. It is so easy to curl in on yourself and dig a hole to hide in, but that hole just becomes a tunnel heading back to your fortress of solitude. Death and taxes. That is all that is waiting there for you.

So to the walls, and the fences, and the pride, and the shame, I say…

Get over it already.

Sometimes you gotta un-plug to recharge…

hmmm, new ideas for recharging looking at that pair of double As...

AA Battery courtesy sscreations/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So the difficulty in having a blog that is not event based is that you can’t draw on a wealth of topics and feedback.

For example, if this were a wedding blog I could track my progress to the date, all the to-dos and not to-dos, the stress, the joy, the journey – and people similarly progressing to nuptials might join in and offer up their bits of sage wisdom or differing opinions. If this were a mommy blog I could discuss the many amazing things my kids do, the insanity that is advice from others, the headaches of dealing with schools, and other parents might tune in to commiserate and offer new perspectives.

But this is a community blog about my ongoing search for, maintenance of, and philosophy surrounding community.

So tonight I’m a little stuck for inspiration. After all, nobody really wants to read about Dashing ALL the time, and I really don’t want to write about him ALL the time. Also, midweek, slow time on the friend front, but I should have something for tomorrow or Friday.

I guess for tonight I’ll have to settle for this, a good book, and saying congratulations to President Obama on his re-election!

Here’s wishing everyone out there a happy recharge-your-batteries night!

What do you do to unwind?

The Benefits of Friendship

I'm totally the one pulling the other out into the beyond!

My Friend courtesy Dino De Luca/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today was a good day. And not just a happy car ride ego boost either. It was  good.

Dashing and I had lunch on Sunday, the first time we had seen each other since our final date night, and it was nice, awkward, and hard, and fun, and nice.

Yesterday was rough. But I managed to reach out to my best girl friend and cry on her shoulder (on a weeknight, just call me Miss Social!), and this morning I woke up and just knew that I was going to rock the sh*t out of being Dashing’s friend.

I love him, yes. I am head over heels in love with him, true. But that was also true back when we were “just friends,” I was just fortunate enough to be in denial then.

So today instead of suppressing all my love and raw nerve-y emotions, I just, well, let them live and breathe outside of me. It sounds like such crap, but I really just focused on being his friend and remembering what that was like.

And it was good. I didn’t burst into tears when he called. I was genuinely excited to text and talk to him. I was hungry for the first time in a month.

I look forward to seeing him again. And hearing about his plans, and letting him know when I come across things that interest him.

I don’t know what it is about many long-term romantic relationships that I’ve seen or been a part of, but it seems like we forget how to just enjoy our partners. How to take an interest in a day that was exactly the same as the one before, how to make plans without taking the other for granted, how to talk about things outside of “where do we stand, where are we going, and who’s going to clean the dishes along the way.”

And the flirting! Dashing and I aren’t quite there yet, but I am really looking forward to it, because for the first time, I think it might happen. Again.

Love can be a really heavy thing. It is serious and huge, but it can also be light and freeing. I think I forgot that, and then I tried to force it to be light and fun, and wow, did that not work! I was so excited to have found the serious and huge love that I wanted to revel in the solemnity. Dashing, wise man that he is, and this being his second crack at the huge seriousness that is forever tried to tell me to just enjoy.

I have a hard time living in the now.

I would look back wistfully on our very passionate beginning, and then look forward to our mysterious, exciting, daring future. And I just wanted to get there. To find out what is was going to be. Or go back, to the sex all hours of the night and day, and passionate kisses hello and goodbye, when everything is new and marvelous.

I’m a go-getter. I set my sights on something and I go for it, whole-heartedly. Sometimes I trip and land on my face, or walk into a wall, sometimes I get lost along the way. But it is always entertaining, and I’m always moving towards something.

So you know what? He needs me to be his friend right now, I can do that. Because I never stopped being his friend. I just forgot how to let the friendship shine, because I was so excited by how much I loved him. I didn’t know I could love someone this much. Honestly, I kinda always thought those ingenues were lying or exaggerating or brain damaged or something.

Because “You are my everything?” How loaded is that? Also, how sad?? He is your EVERYTHING? Like your job and your family and your friends and your hobby and everything???

But I kind of get it now. Because while I wouldn’t build a life around Dashing, I really want to build a life with Dashing. Around what’s best for each of us, and both of us together.

This journey is going to be tough. And rocky. But it will be worth it, because no matter how it ends up, I’m going to learn and grow, and I’m going to get to do a fair chunk of that with him, and for him, and because of him. And isn’t that really essentially what I asked for when I said I wanted to live with him?

Student living and me.

Just life. But through the eyes of a Blue-eyed History student.

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