"Do not think that you can direct the course of Love, for Love, if It finds you worthy, directs you in its Path."
- Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet"
i am learning that a close romantic relationship is not really just for making your dreams come true, having your deepest needs and desires satisfied, although it seems like that in the first 3 months of falling in love : > ; it is, more accurately, an invitation to growth.
since you open your self up so intimately to one other human being to let all the good and happy feelings from falling in love flow, you also open your self up so vulnerably to let all the buried hurts, pain, brokenness and all the not-so-happy and not-so- beautiful feelings come out.
is it a coincidence that sometimes, it is precisely the peculiar idiosyncracies in your Beloved that triggers all these not-so-happy and not-so-beautiful feelings to come out? i think not.
they are there for a reason, and we meet them at a stage in our life where, deep inside, we must be ready to move on, to grow on, to heal further and become wholer, if only we accept Love's invitation and take the challenge of working on our selves to painstakingly and lovingly craft the relationship of our dreams.
these are what i mean when i previously reflected on how im learning "the Timeless ways of loving, and being loved by, M..."
before M, i used to have these very deepseated fears of not being good enough, lovable enough, beautiful enough, worthy enough just as i am, that if a man is not paying enough (which is constantly, every day) attention to me, then he must be leaving me for another better, more lovable, more worthy... ( i did finally love a man who paid me more than enough attention, but then it were his own fears that finally came between us that i had to let go to keep my sense of self still...)
anyway, so it would happen that i would react in either of two ways: fight or flight.
if i chose to fight, id throw a tantrum, demand why he was not paying enough attention to me. for a while, it would be cute, even adorable. but over a longer period of time, it's just basically childish and unattractive. i myself am ashamed by it.
so more often than not, my preferred response was to take flight, whether literally or figuratively: get busy in work and my myriad projects, entertain other men, make my life so full my man's lack of attention wouldn't really matter any more. most often, too, though, they would eventually backfire on me.
it's easier taking flight literally; the man is left so confused and dazed, he develops a lifelong pining for me. and perhaps, my being able to quite easily attract new other men to substitute for the old one is both a blessing and a curse. because i would just keep doing the same thing over and over; different names, different faces, same plot.
taking flight figuratively is messier. the man thinks everything is okay, while i boil deep inside. the resentment and increased feeling of being not understood at all, thus not loved at all, grows, until my anger turns to hate, then disgust and disrespect, until the relationship dies without even a fight, by default, because the issues of unmet needs were not faced.
either way, i trudge on, with all these secret baggage, hoping for a new beginning, a new story, a new ending, or no ending at all, with another man.
but with M, i am learning that fight or flight won't work. he sees through me and calls my bluff, gently and lovingly even if noisily, too. and he is not afraid to tell me that what im doing is hurting him.
so i have to learn new responses. and the new response i am learning these days, is simply to stay. to stay put, tremble and shake in my terrible fears and fury, but to stay, even so. to stay and face my demons, wrestle with them, learn more about them, expose them, fight them, love them , work with them-- but to stay, through it all.
then, there are his eccentricities and idiosyncracies and own deepseated fears, which further set off my fears. but i am learning, too, these days, that i don't need to take them personally. that they are his own, and his own to deal with, but since they seem to be more of a problem for me than for him (he's dealing with them already, what is my problem still?), then it is my own interpretation of his eccentricities and idiosyncracies that i have to deal with and work on, on my own.
and this is what i meant by learning the"Timeless ways" of Love...
... of thinking beyond just getting my own needs met and throwing a tantrum or running away if they're not met, of becoming more aware of the unkind thoughts/things i do to my self and to him and to our love, and learning how if i don't let go of them they will poison and kill me, him, our love...
... of patience, and kindness, and forbearance, and faith, and hope, and knowing when to keep still and quiet, and knowing when to move and speak... of the ways of Life and the Universe, of growing and relating, of growing up...
... of true Love, i guess, at last.
but the movies only talk of the excitement of falling in love, never about the terrifying adventure of staying in love.
and so i have no script to go by on, and must invent my own as i go along, as we go along, all my cherished hopes and dreams, lumped in with all my most secret fears and terrors, all in my hands, offered up, out in the open at last, trembling in the realization of something both so Holy and so frail...
... and so i tremble on each day, each time, ...
yet now i stay.
yet, still i tremble, too.