Danica came home for the night for the first time in half a week. She brought me two things. She called them Valentine’s Day gifts.
The first thing she gave me was a container of eggplant salad from a favorite restaurant of our’s in the area where we used to live. I had been talking about how I missed their eggplant salad after I purchased a container of the stuff from the local supermarket. I had remarked on how much better the dish from downtown was.
The second gift she gave me, which I’m still not sure I’m keeping, is the DVD to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie we had seen together some time ago with my brother one night. When we left the theatre that night I was the only one of the three of us who liked the movie. They both felt that its ending was weak. I remarked that I thought the ending fit the rest of the movie rather elegantly.
She bought it because, originally, she had wanted to take me to see it again at the Pioneer Theatre after she finished work today. She had said that it seemed fitting for our situation and that she thought she might appreciate it more this time around.
Unfortunately, the movie was starting at the theatre a half hour before she finished work, so it was not possible to go see it there tonight. Instead, she called me on her lunch break and told me she’d get the DVD so we could watch it at home tonight.
In the end we didn’t end up watching the movie. Instead, we just talked in the kitchen for a bit. While there, she asked if we could cuddle for a while before starting the movie. (That’s when I knew there would be no movie.) I accepted and we went to lay down in bed, where the conversation continued.
I’m writing this as she’s sleeping in the middle of the bed. I suppose I’ll have to move her slightly if I want to sleep there tonight. In the morning when she returned from Randy’s today she told me she had only gotten about three hours of sleep, and had been thinking of me all through the night. Since she had to work today, I’m not surprised that she’s so tired. I hope she sleeps well.
During our conversation, we each shared some of the insights we had had recently regarding our relationship and ourselves during the time we spent together. What follows is an attempt to capture as many of these insights as I can at this late hour. Note that my eyes are heavy and my fingers slow, and I may not be completely accurate in my recollection as a result of this. (No worries, I’ll edit—and timestamp the edits—later.)
During the course of our relationship, one of the things I kept telling her about her other relationships was that I would feel far more at ease if one of these other relationships was a deeply committed one. That is, rather than finding other guys to have “non-relationships” I would have preferred that she find someone she loved and had a long-lasting (concurrent) relationship with that person.
She was always puzzled by this, and despite my many attempts to explain in many different ways, I always fell short of a specific answer. This frustrated me to no end, as I was clearly unable to reach her by reason of not having a definitive awareness of exactly why I felt this way. To her, a relationship that invovled “just sex and nothing more” should have been extremely easy for me to accept because it was “meaningless [and] not important” to her.
Today I finally realized—and finally communicated to her articulately—that the reason I was so much more troubled by all her so-called flings was because, to me, these actions were proof-positive that she was incapable of committing to a partner (any partner(s)) at this time.
In other words, if she had found another partner to lovingly commit to, I would have gleaned the hope I wanted for our own relationship. I would have seen that, yes, it was possible for her to be committed and to be considerate and respectful to a partner. Even if that partner wasn’t me at that time, it would have shown that it was at least possible and thus I would have believed that it was possible between the two of us. We would just have to keep working at it until we got it right.
Similarly, all her frivolous and impulsive decision making was providing proof of the very opposite of this and further reinforcing my fears that she would not be able to maintain a long-term relationship with me. Every time she told me that some new or ongoing relationship was insignificant, it told me only one thing: that our relationship was beyond her capacity right now. (On a somewhat more philosophical level, I think this insight is one of the best explanations I have of why the whole monogamy versus polyamory debate is off the mark.)
I’m a little saddened that it’s taken these horrificly painful events to finally enable me to articulate this one thought clearly. I liked to think of myself as more perceptive than that. Nevertheless, thanks to these experiences, it is a lesson learned that I will not ever forget.
Danica has been writing a lot lately, just like I have been. She writes songs though, songs and poems. For the past two days, but especially earlier tonight, she shared many of the songs and snippets of lyrics she’s been jotting down.
One of the things that struck me (and now that I think about it, something that probably struck her too guessing by the time when she paused and said “Wow…yeah…” at one of her angrier songs) was how extreme and varied the emotional weight and message of each song was. In a few cases, the same day’s lyrics had both angry and longing tones, both of which were directed at the same event or person.
The “Wow…yeah…” song was actually the oldest one she shared. She wrote it on January 1st, 2005. The start of the new year was rough on us both; we fought quite a bit over the course of the holiday season. She told me before she read it that it was directed at me. Unfortunately, I can’t recall a specific lyric right now (and I actually don’t want to write them here because I never asked her permission to republish her work).
Afterwards, she set it down on the table in front of us and looked at me. Her expression said “I’m sorry,” but her lips curled in on themselves into an inward frown. Then she said, “Yeah, communication would have been…” and trailed off. I finished her thought for her: “…helpful.” She nodded slowly.
I have long known that I am not especially fond of anyone who does not actively go after what they want or what they know to be good for them, including myself. I have never encountered a single good thing that has ever come out of passively watching things go by and not once engaging myself actively. This is not just related to relationships, but is a globally relevant observation on life in general: you can’t sit out of your life. It’s your game. You must play in it.
The reason I was so upset with myself when Danica and I had sex the other night was because I did exactly what I try so hard to avoid all the time: passively letting things happen to me instead of actively embracing or rejecting them. Again, the point isn’t to accept or reject things, the point is to make choices. When I gave in to her sexual advances that night, when I let my body get the better of my mind, I was taking myself to the sidelines and letting the pieces fall where they may.
When I do that, the pieces never fall exactly where I want, and I always have to pick at least a few of them up. In every case where I’ve done that, I could have arranged said pieces better if I didn’t let them fall on their own in the first place. And I knew that as I was letting myself go.
I felt like I had just let myself float in the wind like a stray leaf, not unlike the very description I used for Danica’s lack of awareness only a few days prior. To have committed this act I myself is embarassing, to say the least. I hold myself to very high standards, much higher than I hold most other people. I have to do that because if I don’t I’ll be just like every other average person out there, and I can’t let myself believe that I’m average.
When I told this to Danica she started crying a little. I can understand why, too: she was sure, at the time, that what she was doing was helpful. And if I were her, I might have thought the same thing.
All in all, today was great. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but that means I have a strong motivation to do them tomorrow. The point is, things are getting better. They’re even getting better at an incredibly fast pace.
As I lay on the bed with Danica holding me tightly, telling me how we will be great together in the future, I felt two distinctly conflicting emotions. I was sad and I was happy. But I was okay.