That’s What She Said He Said- Better To Have Loved and Lost
In this new weekly 'Blog,' Yours Truly and my best friend in the entire world, Sara LeeAnn, will offer stories, experiences, anecdotes,and advice(what little we have) about the topics of love, life, sex, food-really whatever interests us. Chances are, you've experienced some of the same things we have. Chances also probably are that you've loved more, lost more, had more/better sex, are funnier, smarter, nicer than us. Good! This isn't a lecture. It's a conversation, a dance even, between you and us. We want to hear from you. We want your experiences, your anecdotes, your questions, and your advice too! Email them to us at Westernrebellion@live.com and/or email@example.com. And be sure to leave a comment on the Kiss Facebook Page. But for now, let's talk about love. Let's dance. May we have the pleasure?
It’s midnight. I’m tired. I’m finally able to tune out the world, and I’m well on my way to doing just that, when my phone rings. Tentatively, I answer: “Hello?”
“He dumped me.”
And, so it begins. I listen to the story. I empathize with the heartache. I offer the typical-to-the-point-of-being-cliché advice:
“You’re too good for him, anyway.”
“You’ll meet someone who will love you for you.”
“He probably has a small penis.”
In the midst of offering what little advice I have to, um, offer, I’m remembering exactly why I hate relationships. (And, for the record, I’m probably the last person in the world to take relationship advice from. I f*cked my own up years ago and still have yet to fully recover).
As I was saying, listening to my heartbroken friend pour out her emotions through a variety of sobs, screams, and swear words fully reinforced my utter distaste for “relationships.” And by relationships, I mean love. It sucks.
It f*cking sucks.
Lesbihonest, most of us have no idea what we’re doing. We don’t know what the “right” and the “wrong” things to do in a relationship are. So we scrape by, have mediocre sex for two years, try not to cheat on each other, then lather rinse repeat with the next person. In the midst of all of this, we hopewewishwepraywepraywepray that we’ll meet Mr. or Ms. Right and get the happily ever after that, despite our cynicism, we all desperately want to have.
The problem with this, and the reason why I despise that bitch Rachel McAdams so much, is that happily ever afters usually exist only in the movies, or so it seems. This is our fault. We get so caught up in wanting the “perfect” relationship, that we focus on creating the “image,” an image that we’ve been taught, by books and movies, will make a relationship look “perfect.” These perceptions and misconceptions are what lead to our downfall, because we live in reality.
Perception is that the first kiss between you and your counterpart comes at the perfect time. You say something funny, she smiles. You make eye-contact that seems to linger longer than usual. She bites her lip, you lean in, and your future is cemented with a kiss. Reality is you’re both drunk and the movie you’re watching is boring.
Perception says that perfect kiss will lead to that perfect relationship. Reality says that kiss will lead to a fate worse than death.
Perception is that your first fight will end with him on your doorstep, with the rain pouring down onto both of you while he tells you he was wrong he’s sorry he loves you. Reality is a text message saying, “Sorry, babe. Applebees tonight?”
Perception is, that as long as you really, really want it, you’re Kate Hudson and he’s Matthew Mchoweveryouspell it, and everything will turn out ok. Reality is she’s Zooey Deschanel and you’re Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
We all want that picture-perfect ending with that never-ending love. All we want is forever.
Some of us are so in love with the idea of being in love, that the other person just becomes a bit player in a constant tragedy in which we are the lead. The names change but the situation doesn’t. It becomes not about the person, but about the idea. This is why many relationships don’t last. Because we’re so focused on the idea, on the image, as soon as it starts to look different than The Notebook, we freak out, and bail. Rarely will we find someone that wants to stick it out with us, that wants to be our teammate, that loves us more than they love ‘Love.’
With my last relationship, I always said that as long as the pros outweighed the cons, I’d stick it out. But as soon as the cons started winning, it was time to bail. I quit. I gave up on her, on myself, and on us. What I know now is that love isn’t about pros and cons. Love takes the pros and the cons together and uses both of them to make that love stronger, if you let it. This is what I’ve learned, among other things. Was it too late? Perhaps but, as they say, it was better late than never.
That notwithstanding, there are times, like when I got off the phone with my heartbroken friend, that I want to just give up. I’ve seen too much pain, too many tears. I’ve heard, and made, too many broken promises. I’ve seen too many people hurt. I’ve hurt people, and I’ve been hurt myself. So I tell myself that it’s not worth it, that it’s not important. That love is just a fallacy that sets people up for failure. I’m done. I don’t want it anymore, I don’t need it anymore. I give up.
…but then I don’t.
Because despite it all, despite the tears and the screams and the anger and the bitterness and the sadness and the emptiness and the lies and the pain, the pain, the pain, I will not give up. I still believe in love. I still believe in happy endings. I still believe that there is someone out there who was made specifically for me to love with every fiber of my being. I still believe that when I’m finally able to love someone in the way that she deserves, I’ll be able to. I have a lot of work to do. I still have a lot of growing up to do. I probably still even have some heartbreaks coming my way. But I’ll take it. I’ll take it all because I know that, in the end, I’ll get my forever.
I love. I have loved. I will love.
My first gay boyfriend (“first,” because I’ve had several. Yeah. I have sort of knack for unwittingly dating homosexuals, then nurturing them until they’re ready to come out. Yay, me.) didn’t want to touch my boobs. Or look at them, even. He was a good, Christian boy. Perfect for dating after having been molested for 3 years by my grade-school teacher. I was sure once he married me, he’d take as much of an interest in my C+-cups as all the other boys at my school… as much of an interest as he took in interior design and his mission to locate the perfect, double-breasted suit jacket. He used to write me sugary-sweet love letters in the most perfect, swooping penmanship I’ve ever seen, excepting my grandmother’s. He liked to hold my hand at church, and when we cuddled up with the youth group to watch a movie, he would bury his face in my hair for the longest time, like he just couldn’t get enough of me. Or my Pantene hair conditioner.
Then there was the semi-pro basketball player I took up with at 21 years old – during the time I mourned the sudden death of my mother. He was far more infatuated with his own reflection in passing by shiny surfaces than he ever was with me, and made me face away from him when I gave him blow jobs, because “I’ve seen you cry too many times to be attracted to you anymore.” But. He once surprised me by moving my antique piano 500 miles to our apartment because he knew it would make me smile. He played Scrabble with my grandpa. He taught me how to surf in the Pacific Ocean and took me to Ruth Chris Steakhouse in San Diego because I’d never been to a restaurant where the entrees were sold separately from the sides, and you had to wear stockings and high heels.
That second of my ex-husbands – the one who saved my life from cancer by marrying me to provide health insurance, then knocked me up, moved me to Fucking Nowhere, started seeing a pretty blonde, professional who wore pearls and not enough eye-liner, agreed way-too-readily to a divorce, then legally kidnapped my only daughter – used to sing “Something In The Way She Moves” to me in the wrong key at bedtime when I couldn’t fall asleep. He made my vodka tonic with two limes, because that’s just the way I liked it. He danced me around the living room to Frank Sinatra. He rubbed almond oil on my pregnant belly.
I was on again-off again for two years with the long-haired boy 7 years my junior, and even after all the obscenities he screamed my way, after he cornered me, grabbed me by the throat, shoved me into a dresser, I can look back and recall with fondness the way he patiently instructed me in rock climbing, the way he raved about my cooking after every meal, the way he picked me wildflowers and left them on my pillowcase in the spring.
People are flawed. People are fallible. People are constantly evolving.
Be wary of the boy who speaks in love song, who tells you in sincerity, “I’ll never, ever hurt you,” or “you complete me.” Be wary of the girl who says, “All I want is you,” or “I can’t live without you.”
Do you really want (or want to be) a person who doesn’t understand that hurting is inevitable, that hurting another unintentionally is a natural occurrence, that this offers opportunity for growth and deeper intimacy? A person who is incomplete alone so seeks another for fulfillment? A person who has no desire or passion greater than the proximity of another? A person whose success or failure in life is dependent upon someone else?
These romantics may not know it yet, but they have a long, arduous journey ahead before they’re fit to partner in catalytic, healthy relationship built on understanding and awareness. I know from experience. I know that searching in every bar, in every Facebook message, in every interaction for your other half,’ believing there is another person out there who has the power to make you happy and whole, is futile. I hate to stick a pin in your bubble by sharing a lesson hard learned, but perhaps you’ll thank me later:
Two half-people don’t make a whole. Read that again. Seriously. Read it again, then say it out loud if you have to. I know, we were taught ½ + ½ = 1, but I promise you that doesn’t translate to people attempting to build a lasting relationship.
Know who you are, and be such. (Pindar said that, not me, but it’s relevant and profound in practice.) Quit trying to find your soul-mate and try to find your soul. If enough of us are on this quest for self, out there in the world Becoming, doing the next right thing, growing, forgiving and healing, our odds have increase ten-fold that we’ll eventually stumble upon one another, and form an imperfectly perfect-for-us union. A union of 1+1 = 2. Two in love, on an adventure together. Two. Whole. People. In. Love. Together.
I’m working toward that. And on growing long, flowing hair a’ la Zooey Deschanel.
Be sure to check out the That's What She Said He Said website, to hear even more from Nick and Sara.