Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forever and Almost Always

One Tree Hill is one of my favorite television shows because I appreciate its accurate portrayal of life, and in particular, relationships. Haley and Nathan have had their share of struggles and hardship throughout their relationship on the show. However, they have stood by one another through it all. They often use the phrase "always and forever" to signify their promise to work through life together. Kirk and I adopted this "promise" within our relationship. And I meant it with all of my heart. Even though we have been broken up for a couple months, I still love him. Even though he hurt me and broke my trust, I am still in love with him...or at least with who I thought he was (or wish he were). I was always skeptical of the human capacity to love someone unconditionally outside our immediate families. And maybe I'm being naive, but I believe that loving someone in spite of their flaws, despite them hurting you, and being more concerned with their well-being over your own are all attributes of unconditional love. What I'm unsure of, and have been struggling with the past few weeks, is whether my capacity to love him unconditionally is a reflection of our relationship or a reflection of who I am and my own ability to love unconditionally. Or maybe a combination of the two? Or is this just me being pathetic?

I haven't decided upon an answer to this question as of yet. But what I do know, is that I will not settle for a love that is anything short of unconditional. I will not settle for simply loving someone and having them love me. I want to be in love and want someone who is in love with me. I want to find someone who is capable of loving me unconditionally, because I will not settle for anything less now that I've experienced that kind of love.

NOTE: The title of this blog was inspired byKate Voegele's song by the same name.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Pull me from that pedestal, I don't belong there"

As those of you who follow my blog probably have realized, I draw inspiration from the social medias that surround us. In particular, music has always been a source of inspiration, insight, validation, and comfort for me. At times I wish life had a "soundtrack" like movies and tv series do. I tend to critically reflect on television shows and often pull "life lessons" and quotes that seem particularly salient; typically the life lessons that resonate most with me are those that can be applied to my own experiences. These salient quotes are typically the central themes of my blog posts. Although I haven't been blogging recently, I am constantly collecting salient "central concepts." (And in fact, I currently have a post-it on my desk with at least three "central concepts" for future blogs.)

A common theme or central concept that I have been struggling with recently is articulated by a song, "Halo," that Halely James Scott (a character on One Tree Hill) sings. I pulled a few lines of the song and included them below, as these lyrics in particular resonate with my own experiences.

"i never promised you a ray of light
i never promised there'd be sunshine everyday
i'll give you everything i have
the good, the bad

i always said that i would make mistakes
im only human and thats my saving grace
i'll fall as hard as i try
so dont be blinded
see me as i really am
i have flaws and sometimes I can't even sin
so pull me from that pedestal
i dont belong there"

I have felt in my past relationships, and even among some of my good guy friends, that I have been put on a pedestal. And at the risk of sounding conceited, I acknowledge that I am an intelligent, strong, independent, attractive girl who is fairly laid-back and enjoys sports (the college variety anyway). I'm a catch. And while I do want the guy I'm with to realize how lucky he is to have me, I also don't want him putting me on a pedestal. I'm not perfect. Not even close. And from my own experience, when someone else puts you on a pedestal the only place you have to go is down. And when you do fall, you fall much farther. And when you hit the hurts that much more.

I feel that I'm pretty honest in my appraisals of myself. I am extremely stubborn. At times I can be a total brat. I am sometimes insecure and often what my mom appropriately termed "demanding." I'm EXTREMELY introspective (I am high in what Howard Gardner termed "intrapersonal intelligence" see his theory of multiple intelligences for more information) and am constantly analyzing individuals, relationships, interactions, and contexts in order to build, adapt and reflect my conceptual frameworks (that's the qualitative researcher in me), which allow me to gain understanding. I value complexity and operate from a combination of a realistic and pragmatic orientation. All of which can apparently be overwhelming or "intimidating" to guys (again, I don't see myself as intimidating but have been told by many guy friends that I am intimidating to guys). But to paraphrase a Marilyn Monroe quote, "if you can't handle me at my worst and most difficult, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

Within the context of a relationship, I will NEVER promise that it will be easy. But what I will promise is to give that individual everything. All that I am. The good and the bad. I will make myself fully vulnerable. Because that is who I am. Authentic.

So, I guess when I reach a point that I am ready to date again, what I want is someone who sees the real me. Someone who sees my flaws and loves me in spite of them. Someone who doesn't need to lose me to realize how much he loves and cares about me. Someone who recognizes how lucky he is to have me without placing me on a pedestal. Someone who recognizes the realities of who I am and who he is and who we are together. Someone who wants to do life with me. Side by side on common ground.