A long time ago, my counselor challenged me to imagine if I would really be that much happier if I lost those bothersome 10/15 lbs and got into a relationship, the two ever allusive goals. He said those ten pounds wouldn’t really make me that much happier, and as far as a relationship, I just had to trust the process and no, I would not end up alone because I was a wonderful person and like attracts like.
As far as the ten pounds, I may well be ten ish pounds less than I was at that visit, although especially after living in America with my family over the holidays, I feel like I could still lose 10-15 pounds, so maybe at the time it was a bit more. Still, I think he was right, and looking at other women who are really happy, not all of them are thin. I don’t think one is necessary for the other, and more likely as I’ve observed in my case, being thinner and healthier also comes with being happier. Helps not to have as many reasons to shove cake into your mouth, live in Europe where portion sizes are more humane, have things in your life that make you so excited you forget to eat and your pleasure comes from elsewhere, and yes, you have better people and coping mechanisms in your life to support you.
Well that was kind of a digression, but not really. Always looking for perfection, always looking for fulfillment, it can be hard to stop and smell the roses where you are, for fear you are neglecting to plant them in the right stop, or you aren’t maximizing the amount of rose bushes given the amount of sunlight, land, time, and quality of soil. Leaning to be a little bit satisfied, and being happy for the rosebud and your healthy, young body and your wonderful friends and family instead of always looking for that soul mate, best friend or boyfriend who will assuage all loneliness.
[Ironically, it’s my old boyfriend from high school, whom I thought I would marry,’s birthday today. It’s also the birthday of one of my best friends from high school, who will shortly be married and is a great friend I can pick up right where I left off with but not really in touch when I’m out of town.]
Just wondering about what happens when you are actually in a relationship. Does that maximize romance? connection? intimacy? personal growth? I think it all depends, and a lot depends on having the right person. I’ve head it’s all about the right time, and the right season of life, but sometimes I think it’s just a matter of finding a person worth fighting for, or taking a chance on. But I don’t think we ever know that ahead of time, we just trick ourselves into thinking we do by analyzing past patterns and falling in love with an image of a person. So much of that counts as romance, but it’s really delusion. For me romance is more about thoughtfulness, intimacy, emotional generosity, and taking chances. As much as I love to plan, I’m really pretty spontaneous and resist structure, especially structure for no reason.
But as I’ve learned with my dude who I hope to soon be having a serious conversation with, who every so often makes me think to myself, “Je t’aime, I think, almost, maybe someday, a little bit..,” and with whom I have not really settled into a routine, things were really just starting out, things are changing constantly. Love is not about planning. I think it has something to do with commitment, but more than anything else it is about openess and courage. And living in the moment. Which you can’t do if you are planning.
Maybe love is as individual as the people in it, and it’s really not the same date for a while, get married, have kids, get old. Which these days, I’m not feeling in any rush for.
What I do want, au fond, is something real that is sustainable. I want to get to know someone, inside and out, and feel close to them. I want to trust somebody, and make talking to them a part of my day. I want to be with someone who makes me happy, safe, and loved- maybe even over a distance.
At this point, the love that I can give can’t be based on promises of a relatively certain future. I want to have love and marriage and even kids creep up on me as plot points in a rich life, not as the climax of the feminine monomyth. Even though I want my relationships to be the number 1 most important priority in my life, I don’t want to lose my idenitty in them or make being a mommy someday a substitute for being Megan, a role taken on occluding my true self. Instead, I want my relationships to be the ultimate expression of my values, tattoos taken on in the course of a rich and meaningful life. I want to be subversively emotionally and physically healthy and enough of a feminist in touch with my inner self to admit that I do want a man, and sometimes roses too.
And maybe to find that kind of love that grows and changes and transforms and gets richer with time like wine, I’m going to have to take some risks and love too much to let go sometimes and too much not to let someone go their own way if that’s the work time is going to bring. I’m going to have to love myself more than any guy, and not listen to what “society” says about love and relationships and what my knight in shining armor is supposed to look like and the white picket fence destination I’m taught to want. Maybe you can have marriage, motherhood, and even a healthy serious kind of relationship without losing yourself, though the one thing that’s for sure is that you’ll change and be changed by it.
So when I get there, in ten pounds and a meaningful relationship, I don’t think that will be the end of the story, It will just be the beginning of a newer and brighter one, and the middle of another intersecting narrative.No matter what happens with my talk today, the end is not near [we survived 12 21 12 after all].
I leave you in media res, righting from the sidelines or the trenches or what have you with no resolution to the big questions, not expecting to get any any time soon, throwing away my pad with the spaces for the checkmarks, and with a heart that is full of love and secretly replete with wisdom. I hope, grin.