I recently wrote a little "exposé" about my past relationships. Here's why:
The air was heavy. Four days previously I had broken up from the best relationship I had been in. A relationship that had walked with me through one of the most challenging and life changing (for the better) years of my life. For months now, I had a dam of emotions and ideas that I'd been unable to put thought or even words to. I felt stuck, each day weighing heavier and heavier. This night though, there was something different in the air. It felt like precipice. So pen to paper, and in classic Hemmingway fashion (except with a glass of wine vs a glass of whiskey), I started writing. I didn't re-read or look back until I had finished. Until, finally, the last period drawn, I looked up. I could breathe.
What I had written surprised me. There was no reasoning in it or attempts to thoughtfully explain like is my usual m.o. No minute by minute recordings. Rather, in it's place were brief sentences, moments in time that somehow had signified and locked each turning point in my brain. It truly is, as one friend referred to it as, a "kiss and tell". But really, more a kiss and tell of my heart and it's total peace with my journey then of the relationships. There is no malice behind it. I love my life, my heart and my mind, and l love the journey that I've been on with each one of it's odd little, for better or worse, turns and hills.
You see, I grew up thinking that the entirety of a relationship was pretty much like a disney movie. No, I kid you not. I thought girl meets boy (and, because I was a Christian, I thought he would also automatically be a "Christian" -there would simply be no attraction to anyone else). The girl and the boy have a mutual crush. If that crush continues for more then a year (and it will), you call it love and you get married the following year. Now, a little bit after the wedding, that crush will wear off. Being in a relationship will be hard, but that's why you made the commitment of marriage. So with a lot of hard work and perseverance you will get through and then you will be in love again. And somewhere in the mix of that you will also achieve your dreams, have a few kids and make great friends. Done and done. Put a bow on it and put it under the Christmas tree.
Really not a bad way... IF that's how it worked. Don't get me wrong... I knew friends that it did work EXACTLY like that for. And I'm so so happy for them. That's just not how it worked for me.
You can imagine my shock and horror when my first mutual crush no longer wanted to be with me. It shook me. And I'm not being dramatic here... I had truly thought, "this is it". I didn't love him, he didn't love me; we hadn't even spent much time together, really. But when he called it off, I was floored. What to do? This isn't how it works.
I called it a fluke and picked myself up and continued on. My next mutual crush was with a guy who didn't call himself a Christian. Again, I was bewildered. Suddenly, and without warning, two of my ideals/truths were clashing.
Girl meets boy. Check. Boy and girl have a mutual crush. Check. Boy is not a Christian. Wait. What??
The relationship ideals kept spiraling. What I knew as truth kept sinking. Relationship with a Christian that I didn't like, but he was Christian, so everyone told me it was great. Relationship with a non-Christian that lasted for years, but wasn't healthy. More relationships. More heart break. Good and bad. All mixed.
Maybe you guys are different from me. Maybe you never held ideals as solid truths. Maybe you've always had more of a natural understanding of the ebb and flow of relationships and how they work. Good on you. I think deep down, though, we all hold certain ideals as truth. When in reality, it's simply what we see, in the moment, as "ideal", and it's not truth at all. This, my friends, is so so very harmful. Not only to self and our view of life, but also to our relationships (both romantic and platonic).
What's more important then focusing on those funny little "ideals" that we've created for relationships, is, to instead, focus on what is most important to you. In what sort of environment do you thrive and allow others to thrive? What attributes do you value? What makes your soul sing? Demonstrate and seek this in relationships. Don't force it. If it's not there, it's not going to be there. Let go. Finally, once you have found this, then you can work on communications, commitment and being intentional.
Finally, I'm not living an "ideal" life, no one is, don't fool yourself. Instead, we are each living a life far far better. A journey with beautiful, stunning moments in it. (Side note: that's why I love photography... it sees the entire picture, the mess, the crazy, and it chooses to focus on one small thing that creates glorious moment). Let's move, and make mistakes. Let's share. Let's let go and laugh out loud.
Let's be better then the ideal.
(Below. A few details I shot from a recent wedding in Nevada)