20 January, 2014
One of my resolutions this year was to "dare to love."
What does that even mean?
Yes, I meant it as a general form of love...to open my heart to friends and family and even strangers; to accept love as much as give it. But, of course, I also meant love in its romantic form.
Which is even more terrifying, to me.
It's been a while. And I've often felt through the years that not only was it not meant for me, but that I wasn't really capable of it.
Do I still think that's true?
Maybe. But I put it on my list so that I'd stay open-minded about it, so that maybe I'd find out for sure if that's true...or if it's something I just tell myself, because I haven't yet found it in a way that was meant for me.
And maybe I just wasn't ready.
Therein lies the problem. Are any of us really, truly ready for something like that? I don't think so. I've spent the past couple of years NOT searching for love and keeping myself out of the whole relationship game...searching instead for myself and where I belong in this crazy ol' world.
That's a search and a journey that will continue to my dying day, and I'm fine with that.
But I think I've reached a point where I can maybe accept romance and relationships in my life.
I have an interesting view of relationships...it's grown and changed and morphed through the years. My views, when starting out in the dating world, skewed towards the right-wing Christian way: submissive female, the man is in charge, etc., etc., etc.
These days, I am VERY MUCH in favour of a relationship of complete equals. In everything from housework, child-rearing, errands, love, respect, hobbies, etc. Equal yet independent, mind you. We both need our own lives outside of each other (AND outside of a family we might have together). Everybody needs that, or you'll just completely lose your self . And why the f*** would anyone want to do that? (Pardon my French.)
I am very much in agreement with the ancient Brehon laws of Ireland. They were rather progressive with their treatment of marriage, and women. If you want to know what I think a near-perfect relationship looks like, it comes from the Brehon laws. Here are vows translated by Morgan Llewelyn:
You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself.
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me, for I am a free person.
But I shall serve you in those ways you require,
And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night*,
And the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite of my meat
And the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and my dying, equally in your care.
I shall be a shield for your back and you for mine.
I shall not slander you, nor you me.
I shall honour you above all others
And when we quarrel, we shall do so in private
And tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you.
This is a marriage of equals.
*Please note this is the only sexual reference. The meat and the cup are just those: meat and cups. The honeycomb reference, however, is up for interpretation. ;)
But it's still so important to grow together, and there's where, I think, many people tend to mess up. I know I do, anyway. There's such a thing as too much independence in a relationship, and that's where maybe I've gone wrong in the past.
I recently saw the movie HER, and in watching the flashbacks of Theo with his ex-wife, I had maybe a mini-panic attack. Tiny, tiny, tiny little thing, but enough to realize that I'm terrified.
Of love. Of doing this again. Possibly getting hurt, hurting someone else, having my heart ripped out, or doing the ripping myself...reverting to my bad habits.
God. Am I strong enough or brave enough to face all that, to know any of that could happen? To say, "screw it" and just dive in?
I don't know.
You may or may not know that I've recently started seeing a Gentleman, which is probably why all these thoughts had been at the forefront of my mind for a bit. When I started dating again last year, I did not want to commit. I did not want a relationship. I just wanted to be casual and date occasionally.
And so I did.
And it was fun.
Until it wasn't.
And when it stopped being fun, I stopped dating. I realized that I was ready to possibly commit to someone...to the right person. And I was patient about waiting for the right person. (Do I mean Mr. Right? Good golly, NO. There's no such thing, and I hate that expression.)
When I met The Gentleman, I knew. I liked this guy. I'm not at all saying I'm in love with him, but I am at least aware that it's a possibility that I could fall in love with him.
If I allow it.
Can I do that?
Not now...too early for that nonsense.
Should I allow it? I'm not very good at it. Or haven't been, anyway.
Be brave. Say 'yes.' HA.
But I must admit, I'm enjoying things. Other than the brief little panic, I've stopped thinking of falling in love or what ifs. For once.
It's nice living in the moment.
And maybe I shouldn't be so terrified. After all, good things happen when you stop letting fear control your life.