I don’t know about you, but when I get into a relationship, I turn into a crazy person. I let all my psychological neuroses run rampant.
I become the Pitta Cancer I was born to be—allowing my fire and water to coalesce into deep love-immersion, and boil up with outrage as I overly emotionally invest in my partnership—and I put upon my partner the host of cognitive issues with which I have been imbued, including, but not limited to issues of jealousy, abandonment, distrust, ownership and laziness.
I almost wonder if my partners ever stop and think, “Wow, this is so not the person I fell in love with.”
Let me be clear, I am not making excuses for myself. I am admitting to some severely painful bullshit which comprises the baseline of my personality, and I am moving into the occupation of self-study in order to learn from my greatest teachers—my demons.
We all come into this world as beautiful observers of our species, and as far as I can tell, we begin to figure out how to relate to other human beings from these first observations. We learn how to be sisters, brothers, friends and lovers by watching how other people perform in these roles.
For whatever reason, the first thing I learned about romantic partnership was: being in a relationship with someone meant you didn’t have to be the best version of yourself. Your partner is one of the few acceptable people you got to dump on, and they just have to suck it up and deal with it.
Now that I’m in my mid-20s, I have a significant number of scorched, torched and zorched relationships behind me, which means I am oh-so familiar with that heated sting in the pit of my stomach asking, “erm…what just happened?”
As the head-strong, heart-hearty spiritual neophyte that I am, my response has evolved from the 16-year-old victimized cries of “poor me!”, to that of the musings of a 24-year-old inquisitive student, “How have I karmically drawn this subset of people into my inner romantic sphere, and what are my lessons?”
My relationships invariably end up being the nesting bed for all my ego-bullshit. I know where some of that ego-bullshit comes from, but other parts of it are so convoluted and twisted they must be the residual hangovers of past lives, rearing up in the present so I may unshackle myself and relieve the world of one more sadness-shrouded soul.
I mean, that’s my job as a human, right? To improve the quality of my life and all that I touch? To become spiritually huge? To continue to stare down fear straight in the face and then wrap that asshole in a blanket of Love?
On the flip side, the men in my life have definitely not been paradigms of chastity, but this thought experiment isn’t about blame or cause-and-effect or them at all; it’s about me. And this isn’t about me being hard on myself either.
This is about recognizing the thought and emotional patterns which cause me suffering, and by proxy, those around me. This is about me uncovering the many tears and the many fears that keep me locked into role-playing when it comes to relationships instead of allowing me to relax into modest, simple, human-to-human interaction.
I can’t look at jealousy any other way than as distrust. And I can’t look at the idea of ownership—does the phrase, “bitch, that’s my boyfriend!” sound familiar to anyone?—as anything other than a power-struggle. And falling into a relationship rut is really nothing but my laziness wanting someone else to do the work of romance-maintenance for me. And honestly, I can’t see my own passive-aggressive tendencies as anything other than wanting to punish someone for not reading my mind by providing for needs I haven’t yet expressed.
But these things are all here, and that’s okay.
It’s okay, because I know these tendencies are here to protect me.
It’s okay, because I know it’s my duty as a spirited being to do the work.
And it’s okay, because I’m fucking excited about it.
So I stand here with a yoga mat beneath my feet, a couple of good books in my hand, a flute in my back pocket, a brain full of organic vegetarian recipes to make, high-vibed friends holding space in my heart and yes, a boyfriend at my side.
My commitment to him is but an extension of my commitment to myself—the commitment to watch my feelings, to allow my feelings, and have faith my emotions are trying to teach me something I don’t yet know about myself; and to strive to act from my highest self.
Today I woke up and looked in the mirror and said the following:
I’m currently in a partnership I choose for myself this morning and every morning when I wake up. I respect the fact he also chooses my partnership this morning and every morning when he wakes up. I vow to give myself freely and fully to this partnership so that his choice to be with me is effortless.
Here’s the thing: it’s never just about the boy. My relationship with romantic intimacy is but a reflection of how I pursue intimacy in all ways—with other people, with my passions and hobbies, with my spirituality and most importantly, with myself.
Here’s to the work and the wisdom that follows. Here’s to learning about love. Here’s to getting to ride the shooting star of human experience. And here’s to—every once and awhile—being just totally crazy.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Asst. Ed: Jennifer Spesia