Recently I sat down with a male friend of mine and we had a long discussion about relationships and dating and where each of us was with that. Fear not, this isn’t the lead in to a story that wraps up sounding like your average John Hughes movie. We didn’t magically fall in love over our Flat Whites but we did have a great conversation that became the launch pad for this diatribe of mine.
Even though each of us are in very different places in our dating adventures, we each gave each other fabulous advice that ended with “and wow, and that’s so fucking hard!” And with so much of dating and love – hard is often the answer. I don’t mean to say that relationships should be hard and are tough work etc. They can be but I have found that when done right – they require tending but not constant hard work. What we both agreed was the “fucking hard” part was vulnerability. Really letting your guard down. Really asking for what you need with no guarantee of the response. Really willing to be seen. That’s the tough stuff. That’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of creating the life that we want.
When asked what I really wanted, I said “honestly, I want to wake up 6 months from now in a beautiful flower garden of relationship but without having to take the risk of planting the seeds to make it happen.” And that was it, that was the honest truth but also the truth that will never get me what I truly want. To get what I want will take risk and risk is just terrifying. I find it hilarious that I am using a gardening analogy to make this point given how terrible I am at gardening (no really, I wound up in the ER this summer because of a gardening accident, I’m not kidding). But it is true. I will not have a beautiful flowerbed come June unless I am willing to plant the seeds to make it happen. Much like I will not have the great love and relationship I crave unless I am willing to take the risk of really showing up and letting myself be seen.
Of course knowing that and doing that aren’t remotely the same thing. Plus, just because I know that doesn’t mean whoever I enter into this adventure with will know it as well and will agree. So many of us operate outside of our own lives. We run from one thing to the next. One relationship to the next. One experience to the next without ever having the experiences that we claim to crave. If we are unwilling to ask for what we want then we can truly never expect to get it because despite many of our best efforts, no one is a mind reader. Some of us may get lucky and be able to make educated guesses but that is very little more than luck and perhaps a bit of experience in making good educated guesses. But it certainly isn’t a given that your guess will be right.
Much like we can’t expect to have a beautiful garden next summer if we are unwilling to get down in the weeds, clear the space, plant the seeds and then tend to them, we can’t expect to get the relationships, romantic or platonic, that we want if we aren’t willing to get down in the weeds, clear the space and plant the seeds with our words and our intentions. Both can be tough, back breaking work but both are the only ways to create truly beautiful things.
I'm a single lady living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with 2 cats named Leo and Toby (after characters on "The West Wing" - one day I will have the ability to recite the entire series by heart.That's a noble goal, yes?).
I've had a varied career doing a bunch of technical stuff that isn't that interesting to folks who aren't doing it but my real passion is writing.I also get the fabulous pleasure of coaching people from time to time and that brings me amazing joy and energy.
If you want to hang with me there are things you should know:I curse.A lot.I like hoppy beer.A lot.I like big and deep red wines. A lot. I adore my friends.A lot, a lot.I am passionate about politics (or a big geek about them - you choose).I'm an accidental but rather passionate Unitarian and few things make me happier than my dining room table surrounded by people I love.And picking paint colors, let's not forget that. Find me online here.