Week 12 of 12 in the collaboration between Maddie Berky and I. No, I’m not ending my blog. Maddie and I are just taking a break, getting some space, and maybe seeing other people.
I have mini existential crises in the airplane bathrooms. The space being too small as to make major ones impractical. Maybe it’s the strangeness of light, a hue bluer than clinical. For this particular mile high meltdown, I tilt back just slightly and let gravity handle the last few degrees, leaning against the wall for a moment of me in the midst of my flight home.
What am I doing out here in the wilderness of relationship thinking I can create my own? Why not trust the tried and somewhat defunct but possibly true monogamous structure presented to me since always? We’ve even made some adjustments. Divorce is now a thing. But open that mother up? We haven’t made that one, and yet it’s the one I can’t stop coming back to.
I don’t know what I want. Does the resulting undercurrent of panic mean I should turn and run back into the confines of a pre-fabricated relationship model? At least then I’d know where the walls are. Close as the one I’m leaning against.
Partnership pulls at me in the way I imagine motherhood does to some women. I feel engineered for it. But it tugs at me like writing does. I want to walk around it. Explore it. Turn it over and create something with it. It doesn’t exist yet. It calls out to be made.
That is what I’m doing. In the panic and the uncertainty and the coming home-ness. I’m making something. It just hasn’t taken shape yet.
Partnership is the great creative act of my life.
We live in an age of designer relationships. They’ve always been around but today they’re becoming more and more common. As Maddie and I discussed the differences between her generation and mine we shared our thoughts about millennials and how there have been many different factors leading to the creation of intimate relationships to be “just the way we want it to be”. I admit I have judgments; Is it a lack of commitment? Fear of holding oneself to the longer term engagements? Or is it that they’ve seen society and the majority of their parents relationships not work and see the need for something different?
Here’s what I’m seeing… my parents, my parents parents, and my own struggles/failures in marriage. I’m terrified to create what I’ve seen modeled around me and fail. I certainly don’t want to set myself up for something that seems to be impossible nearly everywhere around me. I’m now aware of some of the things that led to my inability to commit and create an intimate sexual relationship with one person at a time when I was younger; wounds, ego, fear, lack of self knowledge, unwilling to own who I was and what I needed. I did fucked up stuff.
Most people who know me well can tell you I love custom made suits, shoes, and anything else. I like anything being built perfectly for the specific intention that it is designed. And I’m also the kind of guy that gets overwhelmed in the cereal aisle in the grocery store. I look for yogurt and see dozens of brands, styles, and flavors. Having lots of choices can overwhelm me. I steer towards simpler, less dynamic things these days. Mostly because I just can’t handle the chaos that comes from shifting through all that’s needed while getting to the clarity and honesty necessary to do anything other than create an off the shelf product. This goes for my intimate sexual relationship as well.
But I do go back to imagining, what if I could create a sexual relationship(s) to be exactly what I wanted? Of course, at times, I’d want to have my cake and eat it to. Of course I’d have and be everything I’ve ever wanted. What’s stopping me? Nothing. An anchor keeps me oriented to what’s the most important thing for me (deep emotional vulnerability and intimacy stemming from safety and trust) and how do I keep that elevated in my priorities. By staying focused and not being swayed by situational or fleeting ideas about what I want in the small moments.
So go create exactly what you want and do it with elegance and integrity.