So Please Do Tell … What Exactly Keeps A Couple In Love?

Last night after a few too many glasses of wine (who me?) and a lovely sunset boat cruise with an old friend, I asked this same old friend about his marriage.

“How long have you two been blissfully wedded?” queried I.

He replied “38 years.”

“And are you still blissfully and lovingly entwined?” continued my interrogation.

He smiled and responded happily “Indeed we are. Still in love after all these years.”

I paused to consider my next question. I’m not exactly shy when it comes to … well … pretty much anything … but sometimes I know I do ask too many questions and I do get kinda nosy. I took a deep breath and jumped in yet again.

“Okay then, tell me kind sir, what are the three things that have kept you and your beautiful bride in love all these years?”

“THREE things?” he countered, the wheels already spinning.

“Yes,” I affirmed. “I’d like to know the three biggest things that have kept you IN your relationship 100%. Not just sorta, kinda. Not just when you feel like it or it suits you. Full-fledged IN LOVE after 38 years.

He paused to sip his wine and ponder. But not for too long because this intelligent and astute gentleman had already figured it out. he had already figured it out because he was living it. And had been for 38 years.

“We like being together. We like doing the same things. And we have great sex.”

BAM!

There you have it, dear readers. The three simple yet complicated, easy yet difficult, succinct yet SO open to interpretation reasons why a couple can make love last.

1. They like being together.

Makes sense, right? You really should want to hang out with your beloved if you expect the union to flourish, no?

Well, I know many couples who hang out very little. I know some couples who lead virtually separate lives. I know couples who bicker all the time (leading me to believe they don’t actually enjoy one another’s company) and I know couples who “fake” partnership when in truth they are truly just in it for the money, the status, the religion or the kids.

But really LIKING your partner’s company? THAT is a big fat blessing. But a blessing that needs to be considered and remembered and nurtured and cultivated. Because I do believe that like most blessings, it is not always delivered by a unicorn. Rarely, in fact (unless you know something about unicorns that I don’t). The blessing may have arrived at some magical point all tied up in a pretty bow but as time wears on even pretty sparkly blessings need nourishment. They need attention. They need work!

So yeah … WORK on being together. WORK on liking to be together. Which leads to the next step:

2. They like doing the same things.

Yes, I can certainly surmise that a couple that shares similar interests will enjoy each other’s company more frequently than two people with completely diverse pastimes. That said, I do also believe that you do not have to share EVERY hobby with your partner. If he likes to climb mountains and you like to make music, go for it.

On occasion.

I just believe that the scales should tip far more in favour of the things you like to do together. Because if they don’t, he’ll soon be climbing a mountain and sharing a tent with his cute climbing partner while you fall in love with the guitar player in your band.
Now I’m not saying that has ever happened. I’m just saying that the MORE separate hobbies you enjoy, the more likelihood you will find yourself enjoying them with someone like-minded. Who is not your partner.

So yeah … WORK on finding things you like to do together. Then WORK on doing them. Together.

3. And then there is this final sweet little kicker. GREAT SEX.

Do you really NEED to have a lifetime of great sex to remain contentedly mated?

I know couples who after several decades of wedded bliss rarely have sex. I mean rarely as in once a year. Once every two years. REALLY rarely.

And yet they stay together because they like doing the same things. They like being together. They have children together, they own real estate together, they share a bank account, several scrapbooks full of memories and just a huge history of BEING together. So even if the whole sex thing is no longer a biggie, they stay together and seemingly flourish.

I guess.

I mean I guess it’s possible. And do-able.

I guess. But my guess is it is only possible and do-able if they are BOTH exactly on the same page. Because if one of them is totally fine (relieved, in fact) with the lack of physical intimacy and the other pretends to be a-okay too but is secretly boinking outside the union, how can that union flourish? I mean, it might survive and it might endure but flourish? I don’t think so. because flourishing involves intimacy. And intimacy comes from really and truly being on the same page. Honestly. Openly.

My pal D tells me that sex no longer plays any significant role in his 40 year marriage. At least not for him and his wife. She has lost interest and he has lost motivation. With HER. He just gets his sex elsewhere. He has no intention of abandoning his wife nor does he feel the need to seek a full-on soulmate in other climes. Like an amputee missing a leg, he has accepted that his marriage will always be lacking. So he has learned to walk on crutches. Maybe even dance on occasion. Just not with his wife. She is not invited to the dance, she doesn’t even know about the dance and she is quite possibly contentedly oblivious to the dance.

They have somehow achieved a lop-sided, discombobulated detente. She doesn’t know, he doesn’t tell and onward they go in blissfully ignorant incorporation. They stay married, they stay family, they have moments and they make memories.

They just don’t make love.

Or have great sex.

So the question now begs … how many of these three elements do you absolutely NEED to achieve long-lasting love?

If you like to go downhill skiing and bake bread and plant gardens and you like doing those things together, will that off-set your inability to get jiggy with one another in the bedroom. If you have rip-snorting, bodice-ripping coitus but you actually can’t stand hanging out at the dinner table, does your union have a chance? If you like being together over dinner or Netflix but you actually have no common hobbies or a satisfactory sex life, do you have a hope in hell of surviving?

Honestly, I have no fucking clue.

I do believe that IF you are so fortunate to have all three (like my friend) you should thank your lucky stars and keep doing the WORK to keep these things alive. Do not take it for granted and do not assume it will always be there. We are ALL one step away from screwing something up ROYALLY.

If two of these are in your account please see above and then start working on #3. Yes. That is what I said. Start working on #3.

I would like to believe that if you are still together it is because you actually DO like being together (on some level) and you will be able to move directly to figuring out things you like to DO together. And then doing them. You know. Together.

So now it’s all about sex.

With each other.

How do you fix that when it is so much easier to ignore the problem and carry on in blissful ignorance?

The only answer I can come up with is BE HONEST. With your partner, not your secret lover. Put sex back ON the table (or the piano or the kitchen counter or even the bed!). Unless you are truly willing to live life as an amputee when you STILL have ALL your limbs, do the WORK.

Yeah. It always comes back to the WORK. Not the easy route. Not the quick fix or the simple solution.

The work.

I could be wrong but my guess is my old friend who so succinctly answered my question has been doing the work for 38 years. Solidly. Happily.

Either that or there really is a unicorn up his ass.

I do LOVE his three components to a “loving” partnership. I love that he shared them with me and i got to share them with you.

I would also love to hear form you if you think there are more.

Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Sabotage: Are You Guilty?

Yes!
Pick me, pick me! I do believe that self-sabotage may well be one of my favourite hobbies. It’s not that I practice it all the time. It’s more like when I go, it’s “go BIG or go home!”
So what exactly is self-sabotage? It’s pretty simple. It’s when we do something stupid that totally interferes with what we want to achieve. You know, like eating an entire bar of chocolate when you’re truly desperate to lose 20 lbs. Or buying that new pair of shoes when your credit card is maxed out. Or getting ridiculously drunk on a Friday night when you have to work at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning. Just dumb things we do when we know better. Or at the very least SHOULD know better.
But I think these types of sabotage are fairly normal (especially in our younger years) and hopefully fix-able. Just THINK a little harder, honey, before you make THAT choice. I know it’s not always easy and repetitive sabotage could certainly be hugely detrimental to your existence, but we all do it. We all make mistakes and bad judgement calls and we all experience “lack of discipline” moments.
But what about those bigger fuck-ups? The ones that can completely derail a relationship, lose you a job or even kill you? How could we possibly be so stupid as to self-sabotage in those situations?
I just did a quick bit of Dr. Google research and apparently much of it comes down to self-esteem (I am not worthy), fear of emotional pain (I will make you leave me before you can hurt me), fear of failure (I’ll tank it myself before it can tank me) or plain old immediate gratification, as in the thrill of these awesome new shoes will offset the pain of my next credit card bill.
Fair enough.
Those “excuses” I get. Personally. Lord knows I’d love to drop 20 lbs but sometimes I love ice cream more. I know that 4th glass of wine isn’t a good idea but I have it anyway and I sure as hell don’t need that new dress and quite frankly have nowhere to wear it but God it is gorgeous and ya just never know so … cha-ching!
Yep. I’ve done it all. And I’ve beaten myself up for it all too.
But recently I started thinking about a different kind of self-sabotage. A kind that you don’t read about in Psychology Today or Dr. Google. A kind that may actually be more positive than negative … if you can believe that?
I’ve started to think you can actually self-sabotage because your GUT knows something that you don’t. Your GUT is weighing in big time. It’s your GUT making you do stupid things, say stupid things, write stupid things, sabotage the shit out of what you think you might want because your GUT knows that what you think you want is quite possibly wrong. A whole lot of wrong for a whole lot of reasons. And so subconsciously you sabotage your quest for said “thing” because your gut has taken control of the dialogue and is now in charge. And your gut is saying “Okay stupid, since you are not listening to me and you are not being reasonable I am now going to fuck you up so resoundingly you will NOT be able to pursue this folly further because you yourself personally will have fucked up that folly right off the table.”
Ha ha.
Laugh’s on me.
Gut is so clever. So astute. So noble.
Gut is also that best friend you hate because she stops you from having that 4th glass of wine. She reminds you that a new pair of shoes is not a necessity. She gently removes that tub of ice cream from your fingers and playfully tickles your flabby belly to remind you what your goals are.
Yay Gut.
Yes, I am saying that with a certain amount of sarcasm. But I am also saying that (almost begrudgingly) with a certain amount of grateful truth.
Yay Gut.
Because when Gut saves us from our selfish selves, when Gut saves us from choices born of desire or neglect (or both), when Gut chimes in and says “Obviously YOU have not got this covered so I shall now cover it for you, no matter how much it hurts” … well then yeah … she really is our best friend.
Yes. We do, say and write dumb things that derail our plans. Hurt our chances. Sabotage our deepest desires.
Yet I have come to realize that maybe … just maybe SOMETIMES … we self-sabotage for the right reasons. Good reasons. Reasons that are truer than we can possibly even know at the moment that we are implementing them.
It’s a little like the teacher who dives in front of his student to take a bullet. He doesn’t know he’s going to die. He doesn’t know the student is going to live. He probably knows it’s going to hurt like hell and he does it anyway because somewhere deep in his soul he KNOWS it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do for the future. For karma. For truth.
Yeah. It’s crazy, I know.
This is when self-sabotage is a wake-up call.
THIS is when self-sabotage is actually something GOOD.
As long as you see it. Recognize it. Own it. Accept it. Be grateful for it. Learn the damned lesson.
And don’t do it again.
Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Absolute Art Of Vulnerability

In yesterday’s blog (Is Intelligence The New Sexy?) I touched on vulnerability. Its importance in the art of being sexy. Because confidence is sexy but confidence without vulnerability can sometimes border on arrogance. And arrogance is not so sexy, right?

This morning a friend reached out to me in search or words of wisdom re: his recently broken heart. Always a tough situation no matter how young or old you are and golly if there was a rule-book for getting through it the author would be a gazillionaire and none of us would suffer. But there is one thing I know absolutely: retaining your vulnerability, in fact even building on it and expanding its scope, will help to guide you. Because the only way to heal a shattered heart is to remind yourself that it is NOT in fact shattered. Battered, maybe, and bruised. Perhaps blindsided and busted up.

But still intact.

And still available for your next romantic adventure. Whenever you are A) ready and B) it presents itself.

When the “love of my life” left me not once but FOUR times (and the last one finally stuck) I was devastated. And I would think back to some of our exquisite moments and wonder how the hell he could let that go? Let go of those exquisite moments I had never known before and neither had he (so he said). But he did. And even though TO THIS DAY I may never understand it I must believe it and accept it. Why? Because I am worth so much more than half-love. Conditional love. Waffling love. Love that wasn’t willing to fight and endure. EVEN when it was exquisite.

And as easy as it might have been for me “toughen up” after that heart-smash I went the opposite way. I became more vulnerable than ever. More open, more available, more fearless.

That heartbreak made me bulletproof.

Why? Because you don’t get bulletproof from armour. You get bulletproof from owning your heart and your emotions and your vulnerability, knowing that no one can shatter you because YOUR heart is real and true and therefore strong and resilient. It WILL bounce back. And when it does you will be ready for love again. Not a love rooted in fear or fantasy but a love born of your faith in your deserving of it. And your faith in creating it and sustaining it from a place of conviction.

I learned this the hard way more than once.

Many years ago I spent a good deal of time communicating (via email) with a man I found pretty darn attractive. I mean, we had met a time or two so this was no dating-site fantasy and I knew he was nice to look at and fun to talk to but it but it was his spirit that really got to me. His intelligence, both emotional and intellectual. His sense of adventure, his desire for truth, his interest in sharing stimulating dialogue … all of these things were hugely attractive to me.

And then, after many (like 5) months of nothing but emails, we decided to meet. Have a chat “for real”. Like, in person. And it was a lovely evening in a lovely setting and there we were, FINALLY face to face and it was like something out of a fucking movie and we were laughing and sharing and smiling and enjoying and yet, as the evening wore on, I sensed that something was missing. Something big.

And you know what that something was?

This darling man was totally enjoying my company but he was in no way attracted to me. Like, you know, man-woman attraction. I was his pal. His confidante. His mate. His buddy. But I was never going to be his lover. I was never even going to be his fantasy lover. I just wasn’t his jam … on that level.

Oh I gotta tell you there is a whole lot of sting associated with that realization. A WHOLE lot.

So I cried a tear or two and then gave it a tiny bit more rational thought (not always my forte). And I realized that whatever expectation I had of that encounter was MINE and mine alone. And I had no right to inflict it upon him. He was actually in the moment AS the moment. Nothing more, nothing less. I was the chick turning it into a Disney flick.

So what did I do?

I confessed it all to him (in an email). I (figuratively) tore off all my cloaks and said “Hey. aren’t I the dummy?”

Alas I am pretty sure I didn’t say it quite so nicely. I probably tossed something in there like “I go out of my way to make YOU feel special and you don’t return the favour!”

You know. Something mature and smart like that.

Listen, the truth is I was drinking and writing long before I began wine soaked ramblings.

But the real truth is that lesson (always find the lesson!) reminded me that no matter how much we fuck up or how much life fucks with us – BE VULNERABLE!

Tell your truth. OWN your truth. Whoever came up with the expression “the truth will set you free” was not kidding. It DOES set you free. Because when you manufacture some story to suit YOUR narrative it is just that … a fabrication. But when you tell your truth and it kills you to tell it and quite possibly humiliates you tell it but you tell it anyway … well that is a liberating moment.

Because if you OWN your truth no one on this planet can OWN you. YOU already own you. Mistakes, missteps, disasters and monster fuck-ups! YOU own each and every one of them.

You’ll still get hurt and you will still suffer and you will regret saying things and doing things and you will beat yourself up, tear yourself down and maybe even put on that stupid hair shirt every single day (please Google if you don’t understand that reference).
But YOU will be in charge of your heart. No one else will usurp that power. It will be yours and (hopefully) you will be ready to move forward to WHATEVER the next adventure is.

That is vulnerability at its absolute finest. That is vulnerability in action! That is vulnerability as an art.

It’s the only armour you will ever need.

Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Intelligence The New Sexy? (or Let’s Talk About Big Bang)

I just read a cute little meme on Facebook which stated simply “Forget bringing sexy back. Bring back intelligence!”

Ha ha.

Funny, right? Kinda true of course, and also kinda funny.

Because I’m going to straddle a very skinny, blowing-in-the-breeze, ready to snap off limb right here, right now and call (gently) “bullshit”!

Yes, if you have half a brain, you will find someone of equal (or greater) intelligence sexy. But if that giant IQ is the ONLY component of the package I’m going to wager it will never be enough. It will never be enough for SEXY.

Because sexy is something altogether different.

Is Sheldon Cooper sexy? I love Big Bang and find those boys to be delightfully hilarious. The girls too! But NOOOO … Sheldon is NOT sexy (even though Amy may beg to differ). But the truth is – Amy isn’t exactly a sex goddess either. Nope. She is adorable and endearing and funny and yes … all those things can GO to sexy. But sexy she is not.

Now Leonard has potential. Maybe because his intelligence does not place him in some alternate stratosphere that we mere mortals can only contemplate. He TRIES to be human. He TRIES to tap into his emotions. He TRIES to combine all elements of this planetary existence into one remarkable (and sexy!) experience. He doesn’t always win. But he TRIES!

And then there is Penny. Of course Penny is the sexiest of them all. She’s cute and loving and obviously pretty WITH a pretty hot body. But no … those are not the reasons Penny is sexy. There are two (in my humble opinion) simple reasons why Penny is sexy.
1. She actually truly cares about people.
2. She owns it.

She fucking owns her sexuality, no ifs, ands or buts. It is part of her past, part of her present and part of her future … and she OWNS it!

So yeah, she may well be the least intelligent of the bunch but she is by far the sexiest.

And wait … there’s more.

Because not everyone who truly cares for people, is moderately intelligent and owns their sexuality is in fact sexy. So what then is the missing ingredient? The elusive trait that alters the dynamic significantly?

I can’t seem to locate the perfect world. Affinity? Recognition? Reciprocation?

You see, for a person to be seen or felt or perceived as sexy, they must also return the favour. Now don’t go shaking your head saying “Dammit girl, George Clooney is sexy as shit and will never call me the same!” In those realms it’s a different story. And (for me) it’s enough to know that dear old George chose Amal to be his bride (and mother of his twins) and not some twinkie Hollywood starlet. Yay sexy George!

I’m talking real world here. The one that most of us reside in. The one where we live and breathe and work and cry and stumble and flourish and maybe every now and then hope to been seen as … vital. Maybe even vibrant. Intelligent. Worthy. Sexy.

When we find even ONE person in that world who makes us feel any or please God ALL of those things, then pass the champagne and the caviar!

There is nothing more lovely in the world than to be seen. Appreciated. Applauded. Cherished.

Out loud. Without fear. Without promise. Without scrutiny. Without worrying about what’s next.

THAT is sexy.

Of course it takes intelligence to do that. But you know what is more important than intelligence?

Courage. And vulnerability. Because when you find the the ability to speak your truth and express your desires and strut your stuff and risk rejection and then go back and do it all over again even though you just might die if you keep on trying and you DO keep on trying, THAT is when you will become the sexiest you have ever been.

Why?
Because it is SO worth it to make someone else feel special. Sexy. SO worth it. To see the smile, the surprise, the giggle, the sheer gratitude (think Leonard!) … when you know that you have appreciated someone’s whole package … yes, the WHOLE package … then YOU my friend WILL be sexy.

If they don’t see it and if they don’t reciprocate it might sting. And you might revert to attaching your sexiness to someone else’s opinion of you.

Don’t.

Do not let your poor smarting unappreciated tushy lose its swagger.

Keep making others feel special.

Yes to intelligence. Yes to compassion. Yes to vulnerability, truth and freedom.

Yes to confidence.

THAT is how you say yes to sexy.

Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out Of The Cocoon Of Normalcy

Are you normal? Or are you not? Do you fit in? Or do you stand out? And whatever it is that you are, do you ever wish you were the other?
These are questions that I personally have struggled with my entire life. Honest-to-God I truly believe I come from an alien race and they just planted me with my earthly family as a science experiment; something to allow me to experience “normal” life on this planet. As opposed o whatever abnormal life existed on my home planet.
See?? You’re already shaking your head saying that Vickie is a nut-job!
You are most likely correct.
But what exactly IS normal?
Dictionary.com says it’s “the quality or condition of being normal, as the general economic, political, and social conditions of a nation; normality”.
Synonyms: ordinariness, uniformity, averageness, commonality, regularity.
Well okay then. I guess if you’re “normal” you “do” what society expects you to “do”, you live your life according to preconceived notions and mores, you subscribe to “traditional” standards and lifestyles, you play by the book.
That would be the book that somebody wrote long before you were dropped off your flying saucer and long before you kept your poor mother up all night pooping your diaper.
This goes to “regularity”.
Okay. Just kidding. If you have a problem, try prunes.
But seriously … do you WANT to be regular? I mean regular like normal like everybody else?
The fact of the matter is … most people (I think) do. It goes back to high school when all we wanted to do was “fit in” and “be accepted”. We never wanted to stand out or be too different. THAT would be suspect. We wanted to BLEND.
But ordinariness? Does anyone really ever aspire to be ordinary? Or average? Or Common?
I don’t know. Maybe? There must be some people somewhere who just want to get through life alive. You know, until they are dead. No wave-making, no rule-breaking, no “writing your own damn book!” Just getting it done day by day until there are no more.
Fair enough.
When I was ten years old my parents dragged the family across the ocean to live in London, England for a time. My sister and I were sent off to proper Grammar school where, for the first time in our lives, we we forced to wear uniforms.
We loved it! Not because the uniforms were uniform but because for us they were unusual and fun and crazy and only for a short time so there was actually nothing at all uniform about us wearing uniforms! Until month one turned into month 5 and we realized (as did our oh-so-grateful mother) that getting dressed in the morning was NEVER an issue. We all KNEW what we were wearing.
Fast forward to my son’s first day of JK and what was he wearing? A uniform. We had decided to send him to a small private school for his formative years which eventually lasted JK-8. Uniforms all the way! And then for high school? HE chose to attend the catholic school nearby because he had friends there and also because … they wear uniforms. That was his normal. That was his comfort zone.
Fast forward another 7 years and my boy is about to release his first record of original songs. His career choice is about as un-normal as it gets. Even with ALL that normalcy leading up to this time and even with a father who has chosen a fairly normal life path, my son is totally off the map. Betting his entire pot on one crazy hand and trusting the universe (or his alien forefathers) to come through! Even though he LOVED uniformity his whole life he is now the least normal sheep in the flock.
And I am so damn proud of him.
Because normal has never been anything that came easily to me. And the older I get, the less normal I become. That’s not to say that I don’t TRY to fit in. I just rarely succeed.
This past weekend I attended a beautiful wedding where tradition was definitely the order of the day. It was incredibly sweet and I wish this lovely couple a hundred years of wedded bliss because I adore them to pieces and they believe in this heritage with all their hearts. Wonderful.
Is it something I could ever do myself?
Nope.
Because apparently on Planet Vickie tradition and normalcy are not applauded. I quite frankly don’t really understand why anyone gets married anymore? Best I can come up with is every girl wants her “Disney Day” and this is the only way she’s ever going to get it. But that’s just me.
I mean face it, we ALL know that half of all marriages end in divorce and I know from personal experience that even those that don’t are often fraught with affairs and dalliances and doubt and regret.
Why set yourself up?
Because it’s expected. It’s normal. It’s what society tells us we should be doing.
It’s also romantic as hell. For a minute or two, anyway.
I do know a few couples who have apparently won the soulmate sweepstakes and are blissfully blended even after kids, careers, wrinkles and menopause.
Few is, alas, the operative word in that sentence.
I also know many divorced couples, a few amicably, most not so much.
Again, FEW is the operative word.
I know one couple who have decided to try an “open marriage”. Love each other loads, passion has died and is apparently un-ressurectable.
Fair enough. Why not try a new strategy and see if it flies?

I know another couple where passion has died and one party doesn’t seem to mind and the other party kinda does so the party of the 2nd part finds passion elsewhere. All the time keeping the family unit intact because the family unit IS the prize. If a little subterfuge keeps the prize in sight, it’s gotta be worth it right?
I know couples who stay together “for the kids” and couples who stay together because they are “best friends” and couples who stay together because they are too lazy to shake things up and I know couples who stay together because they took a vow and damnit that vow is important to them so damnit again they are going to fight to the death to KEEP that vow even if they are miserable for half their lives fighting.
I also know couples who stay together because they took a vow and damnit that vow is important to them so they are going to keep it.
Period.
It my be fucking hard work and it may mean making sacrfices and not always getting what you want or even what you need but those couple take that vow SUPER seriously and nothing on this good green earth is going to shatter it.
Good for them.
Now, look up at all those categories and tell me … which couples are normal and which are not?
I don’t know. Nor do I care.
Because I have decided that maybe normalcy is something you yourself create? And then live.
You see for me, the “cocoon” of normalcy was just an act. Just a play in which I could star. Reciting lines, mind you, written by someone else. But hey, I was the star and I’m pretty damn sure I won a few Oscars.
Truly, it IS ‘safe’ to live within the cocoon of normalcy. You give what everyone expects and you think (or at least hope) you are in a state of blissful harmony with the world around you. You fit in. You gel. You feel protected, much like the chrysalis that surrounds the drab looking pupa of a butterfly.
But that’s the problem. Who wants to be a drab looking pupa? Who wants to be a drab looking anything?
Sometimes, for some people, IF you want to become that butterfly you must surrender your desire for normalcy and let those wings spread. If you want to explore the limits of who you are, what you feel, and how creative you can be, I guarantee you WILL be required to take a risk. IF you want to break out of that cocoon and soar into a world unknown and unseen you simply must stop craving normalcy. Stop adhering to its constraints. Stop believing it is the only way.
Yes, you will be venturing unprotected into a far-away galaxy never-before explored (unless of course you are me because that would be my home). Those static, prescribed, age-old dictums of life can no longer bind you. They are merely elements of life. But maybe someone else’s life.
YOU are about to become the butterfly and the ‘beautiful’ you will only emerge after you break free of the binds of structure and expectation and experience the wings of flight. That is when you will understand metamorphosis – its power, its individuality, its possibility and its perfection. Because you will grow fully and completely into who and what you are meant to become.
However … (and there IS always a but, isn’t there?)
I do not believe you can have a foot in both camps. IF you truly want to seize your destiny, break all the rules, design your own life and escape the cocoon of normalcy, well …
You have to commit. You have to believe that YOUR cause is a just one and then damn every torpedo. The ONLY rule is that you must be authentic.
At the very least authentic to yourself. Call that goddamned spade a spade. Whatever it is … it’s YOUR spade. Embrace it. Live it. Love it.
Please try not to break any hearts. Please try to be honest, kind, loving and true. But most importantly please try to be honest, kind, loving and true to YOURSELF.
You don’t have to be normal if you don’t want to be and you can totally grasp normalcy’s comforting embrace if that’s your jam. Just own it. Whatever your IT is.
IT is your normal.
And your one and only precious life is worthy of IT.

Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Immense Sadness Of Soulmates

Several years ago, during one of our “heart-to-heart” attempts, my mother told me that she feared I would never be happy. Like, ever. She had given this great thought and the pained expression on her face when she uttered this phrase spoke to its torturous veracity.
“Why do you think that?” queried I impatiently, already dismissing her answer because of course I know everything and always have.
She replied “Because you expect too much from people. And no one can live up to your expectations.”
Oh.
Ya think?
I mulled this over for about six years and finally had to admit (like, this morning) that she was right. I do indeed do just that. I expect TOO MUCH from people.
Now, I’m not sure if this is all people or some people or most people or just the people I really like or maybe only the people I love. It’s definitely people, though, so I guess she was right. I mean, I expect my dog to be a good boy and I expect the local bears to stay clear of my summer abode and I expect the chipmunk I’m feeding to come eat out of my hand one day but … holy crap, SEE!  There I go!  Already expecting the damn chipmunk to do something in return. In return for my love. My love in the form of peanuts, mind you. But still my love.
The problem here I believe stems back to my soulmate. I know I’ve written of soulmates recently but this goes further. It goes to the expectation that one actually exists. And maybe more than one? Because if you had one, maybe you can have two? Or even three? What’s to say there’s a limit to quantity in soulmate-land? Because how can we be sure if souls really do mate forever? Is it a reason or maybe just a reason for a season? When the season passes perhaps the reason does too.
In my 20s I mated souls (or so I thought) with the lovely guitar player in my band. He looked like Eddie van Halen, played almost as well, could sing, could laugh, could give me a run for my money at Scrabble and gave me immense emotional and physical joy daily. Until the day he told me (three years in) that we wouldn’t be having any kids because he already had a family (he was divorced with a daughter) and one was enough, thank you very much.
At that time my biological clock wasn’t exactly ticking but I sure hadn’t written off the possibility of creating another human being at some point with my soulmate. He, on the other hand, had.
It was the beginning of our end.
Fast forward about 25 years and who walks into a little restaurant where I’m performing but Eddie #2. I swear I did not recognize him. Gone was the long hair. Funky jeans. Cowboy boots. Eddie had gone completely corporate. He looked good. Just corporate.
Turns out the reason Eddie looked corporate was because he WAS corporate. Long ago abandoning music as a viable career, he had returned to school, got some badass degree and was now the president (yes Mom and Dad who never thought he would amount to much – the PRESIDENT!) of a huge automotive company. He drove a Porsche!
Apparently one of his employees had mentioned this chick jazz singer at this sweet bistro and my name came up and he was incredulous and Eddie’s marriage was on the rocks so he drove the hour to see me and THERE I WAS!  Playing in a little band.
With my current soulmate. The harmonica player, if you must know.
Long story short, Eddie ultimately professed a desire to run off with me, I professed gratitude for his desire but also a desire to remain mated with that current soul, so we forged a friendship, stayed in touch, eventually current soul ditched me, Eddie had another relationship, that tanked and at that one moment years later when we were both actually FREE … we got together. Just to, ya know, see.
You know what happened? Nothing. Nada. Not a single spark flew. We had created such a nice friendship the thought of taking it further was almost laughable. I’m actually pretty sure we did laugh.
So here’s my point – we were soulmates. At one time on our parallel journeys our souls DID mate and it was heavenly. It just didn’t last.
Same with harmonica-man. Even more so. We were completely and utterly mated, soul, heart, mind and body. It was heavenly. It just didn’t last.
The problem is, my dear mother (rest well), once you have tasted that sweet nectar, nothing else will do. It is so very difficult to settle for water when you have tasted wine. So very difficult to accept good enough when you have experienced magic. Glorious, daily magic.
And that is why I still expect too much. I don’t look at it as too much. I see it as just enough. Just enough to make everyday life bearable. Just enough to accept tragedy and sadness when they befall. Just enough to fuel my tank just enough to give back … just enough.
And that’s the thing. I am more than willing to give back more than my share. Seriously, take my heart, take my money, take my energy, take my words and my music and my food and my wine and my time and yes, please do take my soul. Here it is … on a platter.
And if that’s not in the cards then please forgive me for expecting too much. Apparently I have been doing it for a very long time.
A few months before my father died, at a time when I was experiencing huge marital difficulties which distressed my parents greatly, my dad took me aside and very privately whispered “Vickie, the best thing I ever did was stay with your mother. Because now I am going to die with my best friend.”
And he did.
Because they were.
His words bought my marriage another 5 years.
But I also received surprisingly different counsel from someone else very close to me. She told me that we basically have two options when this ‘mid-life crisis’ occurs: we can choose family for the sake of family or we can choose the quest for soulmatedness. And she emphasized that neither was the right choice. They were both noble choices and it was UP TO ME to decide which was the one for me. Period. Then it was up to me to make that choice and live it.
At that time my father’s words prevailed. Five years later it was a different story. And even when that soulmate broke my heart I still got back up on that fucking horse and kept on expecting too much. Those cracks and bruises and scars did not stop me from expecting too much. Not then.
And not now.
Some may call it pressure. Some may call it foolishness. Some may call it just plain ridiculous.
Yep.
I learned it all from my soulmates. These lessons came with immense sadness.
The thing is they also came with immense joy.
Which is exactly why I continue to expect too much.
Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oral Just Ain’t What It Used To Be!

We all know that every day is something special and I believe yesterday was National Emoji Day.

Exciting, right? A full day to celebrate those useful little faces (and other things) that we are now obliged to insert into texts and emails so that we are certain the recipient will “get” our meaning. Well okay, we are not obliged and I do know lots of people (old people like me) who rarely use them at all. But don’t you find it fascinating that they exist? And that there is now a day to honour them?

Oh wait. Have I confused you? When you saw the title of this blog did you think I was going to discuss something else? (insert smiley face with halo here)

Sorry to disappoint (if I did) but when I’m talking about “oral” I am talking about “oral communication”. As in conversation. Face to face chat. Words said out loud to someone who is in the same room.

Even on the phone for that matter. Seriously, how many people do you actually call these days? I have a few friends (old people like me) who still pick up the phone. And thank goodness my son prefers live chat to lengthy text dialogues with his mother. But even I (old) now conduct most of my correspondence via a keyboard.

And this is fine. If it’s all about logistics or life catch-up or even announcing news.
It is, however, not so fine when you are engaged in discussion of a more esoteric, personal nature. Like say, the state of your romantic union, religion or politics. THEN your lingusitic capabilities are brought into full question and I will tell you even some of the very best writers I know FAIL. They fail to communicate EXACTLY what they are trying to communicate because, as it turns out, we’re not all Shakespeare. We don’t all fully delight in the creation of the perfect phrase. We don’t all have poetry coursing through our veins nor do we all know how to type quickly with more than two fingers.
And then there’s that pesky little problem of making sure the beneficiary or our ramblings actually truly understands their intent. That is the BIG FAT fucking problem. Because if we are not erudite ENOUGH to share our thoughts clearly and succinctly without even the slightest possibility of misinterpretation well guess what? We open ourselves up to ALL kinds of big fat Misinterpretation.

I communicate via email fairly regularly with a friend who is intelligent, interesting and eloquent. I would love to believe that I am kinda sorta the same (c’mon now, that was funny).  And just last week we found ourselves lost in a quagmire of misunderstanding. Somebody thinks something is funny and somebody else thinks something is hurtful and you don’t hear the vocal inflection and you don’t see the twinkle in the eye and all of a sudden you are up to your neck in miscommunicative muck. Not necessarily on purpose. Maybe just because we didn’t use enough emojis and we rarely talk in person. We don’t have that quiet understanding born of many same-room conversations.

Now at this point you might be thinking “Okay Vic, thank you, we get it, you want more oral in your life.”

Well yes.

And no.

Because the written word in its new immediate form also offers SO many benefits.
The aforementioned ability to instantly connect without invading anyone’s personal space. That is EXACTLY why I do love email and text. I can read at me leisure and I can respond at my leisure. It is all about MY leisure. I don’t have to answer a phone call during dinner and I don’t have to have a face to face conversation that I may not be ready (for any number of reasons) to have. Email and text offer me CONTROL.
And I like that.

They also offer me the opportunity to read and re-read and re-read again and only THEN formulate my response which I may or may not edit, re-edit and sleep on before sending. These are all REALLY GOOD things. Especially if the discussion is heated, volatile and/or passionate.

My pal T was involved in a relationship with a guy who possessed the gift of gab and was super quick on his feet, especially during a lover’s quarrel. And she would then moan to me “Vic, I get lost in these discussions because he is just SO good at them and I forget my place and then my thoughts and I just sit there like a dummy while he pummels me with words!”

And I replied “Okay then. Don’t have those conversations with him. Not in person. Write down your thoughts and concerns and questions and send them to him. Bullet-pointed! So that he then has an opportunity to address them one by one and you have an opportunity to get the answers you need.”

Apparently he didn’t much like that. He preferred the upper hand he knew he had in live dialogue and didn’t really want to answer anything on paper (so to speak). It just wasn’t in his playbook. He didn’t really want to address her concerns or advance their relationship. He wanted to win. And he could only win on one playing field.

It was the end for them. And rightly so.

Because when we are offered SO many avenues of communication and when refuse to avail ourselves (and our relationships) of ALL of them we are doing ourselves a great disservice. I mean seriously, why wouldn’t we explore ALL options of intercourse?

Oops.

There I go again, confusing you.

But not really.

Because connection is connection is connection. And intercourse is not just a word for sex. Would you choose only one “style” of sex for all time? And if not why in heck would you choose only one “style” of communication?

We live in a blessed time when letters don’t take months to arrive, live conversations are only a few clicks away and even face to face expression is easy to facilitate, even if you are on opposite sides of the planet.

To fully and completely make yourself known and understood, why wouldn’t you try every style?

Sure, maybe oral ain’t what it used to be but it still is exactly what it’s always been.

Available.

Along with so much more. Just don’t forget about it.

Enjoy the buffet.

Posted in relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment