Valarie is from Georgia. No, she doesn't have an accent. No one in metro-Atlanta really does. You can read her thoughts, using non-regional diction, at thinkingaboutdoing.tumblr.com.
The path to commitment is littered with the corpses of relationships that just didn’t work. Sometimes the people were wrong for each other, sometimes the timing was off, but if you look really closely, the strange thing you’ll notice about the path is that there is only one body present. Occasionally, a relationship ends because one person just loses their way. They stop at some point to smell a flower, and then they see a butterfly, and then they see a waterfall in the woods, and they just walk off. Nothing was wrong with the relationship, necessarily, but the people involved did not realize that they were on the same path to begin with. They sort of bumped into each other and enjoyed walking together so they just kept going. They never really discussed the path they were on because you know, they didn’t want to mess up the good thing they had. It just worked.
The other day, my boyfriend and I were just generally chatting about nonsense, and, as it often happens, a series of Lord of The Rings refs commenced. He said something about their being “one ring to rule them all,” and I followed up with something about throwing it into the fires of Mount Doom. AND THEN SOMETHING INSANE HAPPENED. He laughed, and said, “No, it’s Mordor!” I can’t really describe my reaction to something like this (I’m a little obsessed with LOTR so for him to deign to correct me on this point was beyond comprehension.) Nevertheless, I was like, no, MY LOVE – it’s obvi that the ring can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom – the volcano from which it was forged. DUH! (Thank god we found each other, right?) He continued to challenge me, and a quick Google search was necessary to end it.
For those of us who grew up with the images of the princesses telling us that we should wait for our “Prince Charming” to come along, the reference to dreams and wishes is commonplace in reference to relationships. Snow White wished into her well, Cinderella informed us that a dream is a wish your heart makes, and Ariel’s heart-wrenching desire to be part of our world all led us to believe that if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. And, for the princesses, a man was all they ever really wanted. They really are bad role models, aren’t they?
For the princesses, finding a man was the solution to all your problems: Prince Charming was the white knight: gallantly riding his brave steed to rescue us from our evil father/mother/sister/brother – whatever. And, for the princesses, that was the end of the story. You got a man, now your life was perfect. But, we were instead raised to be intelligent, self-sufficient women who don’t need rescuing and want more than just a man – we want to have it all (to the best of our abilities).
Herein lies the dilemma: we grew up believing in “happily ever after.” You meet the man, you walk down the aisle, and everything, as far as you know, just works. We never see Cinderella or Snow White negotiating the intricacies of daily life with Prince Charming. Real life and real relationships require a lot of work. As happy as I am about getting the boy, I can’t say I always know how to put everything else in context. How are we supposed to deal with everything that comes after?
So, here’s the thing. Clearly, I like talking about my life. I have numerous different ways of expressing myself to a mass audience. But, I am starting to realize that, in order to have a successful relationship, there are some things that are better left unsaid. Sometimes that means you keep things to yourself (more on that below), but it mostly means that you shouldn’t always talk about all the problems you’re having.
Now, in terms of the things that you keep to yourself: I’m NOT advocating lying or deliberately concealing information from your significant other. Honesty is clear THE best policy and it absolutely necessary to developing a strong relationship. However, that being said, I think that there are thoughts and things you sometimes just have to let go. For instance, here are a few things that you just don’t need to mention on any regular basis:
Mon petit ami went to a wedding in Quebec last weekend so I was chilling hard by myself. And, it was AWESOME. I did a little work, made some good food, had brunch with friends, and cleaned up around the apartment. Well, I cleaned everything except the dishes. I hate doing dishes. And, technically it’s not my job. It’s DISHMAN’s.
Who is DISHMAN, you may ask? Well, I don’t know his exact origin, but he’s my superhero. I believe that he showed up after a particularly ambitious dinner party that I hosted, which used most, if not all, of the dishes, utensils, and cookware that I owned at the time. As a good host, I certainly couldn’t ask my guests to do it, but I was feeling an increasing sense of dread as the dishes began to pile up next to the sink. I was ready to admit defeat and just throw everything in the trash when DISHMAN appeared. It may not be the stuff Hollywood blockbusters are made of, but it was nothing short of a miracle at the time.
Obviously, not in the literal sense – I mean, all it really requires is that you never leave your significant other’s apartment (although, you should definitely be upfront about the fact that you’re homeless, RAY). But, in general, it seems people tend to spend time planning a life together because, you know, IT’S A BIG DEAL. I suppose the more accurate thing to say is, then, that the psychological and emotional process of preparing to move in with someone is incredibly difficult – at least for me.
There’s no way Beyoncé could have known the impact she had when Destiny’s Child released Independent Women, but it’s very difficult for me to imagine relying on anyone else, for anything – let alone sharing my life with them. I haven’t had room-mates for the last two years and even when I had room-mates who I liked very much, I was really glad when those arrangements came to an end.
This is your brain. This is your brain in love.
When you’re in love it’s easy to forget that, unlike some people, you have a brain. Or that you are capable of exercising rational judgement. Or that you were once a sassy, independent, irreverent bitch and you didn’t care what anybody else thought (well, perhaps that’s just me).
However, the earth-shattering, mind-blowing, roller-coaster existence of being in love with someone ain’t got nothin’ on the reality of learning to love someone when you see them being a real human every fucking day, and falling far short of the 100% grade-A hunk you thought you had when you were SO in love (BT dubs, do you think they serve hunk at this weird, lady-themed steakhouse? Gross.)
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