Quote of the Day

“We are all a little weird, and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

          Dr Seuss

I think that the happiest couples are also the weirdest ones. In my experience with dating and relationships, if we weren’t acting a little weird, something was wrong. When the talk turned to normal things – on dates, things like the “What do you do for fun? Do you have any brothers and sisters?” routine, where the conversation stayed on that level, or in relationships, the “How was your day?” “Oh, it was fine,” routine, that seemed to be a red flag that the connection wasn’t there or that it was weakening. Every time the staleness would set in like that, I would get a sinking feeling, and sure enough, the other person would tell me that they don’t feel chemistry, or a spark, not long after. I think part of the elusive “spark” that our culture alludes to comes from unpredictability and authenticity. It’s no guarantee. Some of the most fun and spontaneous dates I’ve been on never turned into anything more. But, overall, my best memories from dating involved people who I could have a little mutual weirdness with:

The one who would say “tally ho!” when we were leaving for another place, and I would always respond, “Let us venture forth!” or “Let’s flee the village!” It was fun having someone to flee villages with.

The one who talked me into talked me into going on a skyride despite my intense fear of heights. I was quaking with fear, but I enjoyed seeing the waterfall from up high.

The one who took me to a toy shop where we dropped marbles into a wooden marble run and talked to each other through stuffed giraffes. I love people who can channel their inner child. Actually, I really love people with kind of an ageless quality to them, who have an old soul and a sense of wonder at the same time.

The one from OkCupid who wrote several paragraphs to me about how much he likes the sound of rain, while most people would say something like, “Hey how r you? Interesting profile. Would you like to talk?” It was very refreshing.

It seems like when a date or relationship is going well, we can do or say things that would make most people go, “What the what..?” And when it’s not going well anymore, it somehow reverts back to a place where we say things that could be said or done with anyone else; the connection becomes less specific, and more general.

I am a hopeful romantic, and I hope to someday have that sort of connection with someone, where they can say “Yeah, I get her, and she gets me.” In our society there’s a narrative about being strong and independent and not caring so much about having a relationship. In all honesty, I really do want one. I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily happy about being single, but I am okay with it. I would rather be single than be in a bad or mediocre relationship. I raise a toast to all you hopeful romantics out there. Rock on with your bad, awesome selves, and happy Mutual Weirdness day!

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Poem of the week: The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

 

I found some solace in this poem because I’m trying to do exactly what the narrator is doing – saving the only life I can save. I feel that the wind has been prying at the foundations of my own life as I have begun to question what I hadn’t questioned before, what I had just taken for granted as the path set before me. For years, I had assumed that my life would follow a certain pattern, including going to college, marrying a man, and having children. But I have come to realize that college may not be the right environment for me right now, I’m also attracted to people of other genders, and I’m not sure anymore if I want to get married or have children. Just like in this poem, people shout their bad advice: “Oh, so you want to work minimum wage the rest of your life?” “You’re not bi, it’s just a phase.” “You’ll change your mind.”

I’ve been charting unexplored territory here. It’s been invigorating, and I try to focus on that instead of letting other peoples’ reactions make me feel small. This poem challenges us to break away from society’s expectations and take care of ourselves. It’s heartbreaking to read about the narrator having to turn away from people who are also suffering, but I think that by making our own self care a priority, we will become wiser and stronger and ultimately more equipped to help others.

Source: http://maryoliver.beacon.org/2009/11/new-and-selected-one/

Ask vs. Guess Culture

This post on Captain Awkward illuminated some really important truths for me that I will remember for a long time. The idea is that there are two basic kinds of communication, called Guess Culture and Ask Culture. In the former, people figure out meaning mainly from observation. If they want something, they can drop hints and wait for an offer, but asking directly may be considered rude or imposing. In Ask Culture, people can ask directly for what they want, as long as they respect that the answer might be no.

I generally prefer Ask culture because it eases the anxiety of trying to decode hidden meanings. Then, I saw that some of the comments mentioned friends/significant others/etc. who walk way ahead. I suppose, in this case, I’m more of a Guesser. As a slow walker myself, due to chronic pain issues, I hope for the people in my life to take that into consideration. I hate having to choose between lagging way behind, struggling to keep up, or repeatedly asking them to slow down. I was uncomfortable with the idea of Guess culture when I first read about it. Now I see that at its best, it’s about having empathy for someone else, and that’s pretty awesome.

Do you consider yourself more of an Asker or a Guesser?