Sunday, February 26, 2017

the other stuff


I've been thinking about my last piece called love is a project. A few people left comments on the Facebook page - a good number appeared to have read it. thank you.

I didn't go into detail about the time(s) in my marriage when I thought, we're not going to make it. But I think saying it out loud gave people a chance to nod with me. Maybe that's one reason it resonated. We love the lead in, the beginning, the flush of newness. Yes? Movies show us the couple finally getting together after fumbles and missteps. Then the incredible kiss on the front porch, or top of the Empire State Building, or ___________.

 But what happens after? I want to know how. About love, work, becoming a marathon runner at fifty, moving to live in another country, creating something out of nothing - a podcast, a garden, a painting, a change, any kind of relationship -

 How did you do it? How are you still doing it?

it's the other stuff, the story behind the story.

What bumps in the road have you've encountered? 

When you share the other stuff, I relate. If you tell me you're never pissed off, or disappointed, or worried half to death, or wondering if you made the right choice - something's missing. It's not about upping our misery stories. It's about being fully human with one another. 

Here are my bumps in the road. Tell me some of yours.

Artist friend, Penny Ross, pointed me to the podcast ON BEING with Krista Tippet after reading my piece. I finally listened today to the conversation between Krista Tippet and Alain de Botton about the work of love. I found it spacious and helpful. We're human. We have flaws, fears. We expect people, especially our partners, to literally read our minds. Alain de Botton invites compassion for self and others in relationships, a good enough-ness. He shares this wonderful line: 

I'm quite tricky in these ways. How about you?

Listen alone or with a loved one, then talk about your own trickiness?

xo b

~ drop me a note, I'll write back.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

love is a project

That first Valentine’s Day, I flew to Los Angeles and Michael met me at the airport with a dozen red roses. His apartment was filled with dozens of shiny heart balloons and one giant pair of lips bobbing in the living room. In the fridge was a small round cake with I Dig You Baby scrawled on white frosting.

On Saturday we strolled the sunny streets of Santa Monica. Michael wore a big straw hat. We held hands and wandered in and out of shops. Two people with a camera and microphone stopped to interview us about an upcoming John Gray video they were shooting. John Gray, the author of Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars. The question was posed: How do couples stay together? We smiled, arms wrapped tightly around each other, so certain.

"Talk to each other," we said, "communication is everything."

It's been 20 years since that
Valentine's Day. I'd be lying if I told you it's been all balloons and roses, an I dig you baby cakewalk of communication and love. More than I care to admit, we retreated to our corners, unable to speak our hearts and minds. We've suffered losses, setbacks, lugging our old worn out baggage behind us. We've shut down. There were weeks, months, a year when I thought, we're not going to make it. 

Everything is easy in the beginning. Starting a project, or falling in love, and love is a projectthere's an excitement and mystery and the mystery feels good. But somewhere along the way the veil falls and we're standing squarely in the middle. What the hell do I do with this? 

This is when things start to get interesting. 

I tend to have one foot out the door, or at least that's the story I tell.  If you go with me to the movies, I'll be in the aisle seat by the exit. Don't crowd me. I've come to accept this about myself. In my marriage, both feet are in, even if one squirms for the door. Now I accept the squirming foot. My husband does too. Another reason why we're friends above all else. 

How do couples stay together, they asked.

"Talk to each other," we said, "communication is everything."

xo b