“…but still, I can’t imagine

the possibility

that you and I could

become ‘we’,

It’s all just a mystery

In the alchemy of love.”

— Maiysha

 

So, I took a day. Okay, two days.

Two days to clear my head (kind of), clean house (literally and thoroughly), and kill it at a small, private performance. I’ve had about 8 hours’ sleep in the past 48, but all in all, it was cathartic. My perverse version of “me-time,” I suppose.

And now, here I am, alone in my now company-ready home, up way too late again (as usual); heels off, hair off, and cleavage tucked safely back in after an evening’s exposure. (Admittedly, I’m now feeling a bit of a tickle in my throat, but the dress was well worth it—or, so I was told).

More importantly, I’m feeling a bit more like myself, and happier than I’ve been in a few weeks. At the very least, I’m feeling less overwhelmed, if still over-tired.

I spent last night as the featured musical guest at a very posh and polished event thrown by an enterprising couple I’ve come to know well in the past few years. They’re the type of couple I idealize: partners, in every sense of the word. They play together, work together, succeed together and walk through life together in seemingly complete confidence and comfort that they could not possibly be better matched, as they already chose so well. As a mere spectator, it’s hard to disagree.

As mere me, it’s hard to fathom.

Actually, all types of couples were in attendance last night: newlyweds, business partners, twins, lovers, friends, and several hybrids of the above categories. Aside from my dear friends, my favorites in the overwhelmingly gorgeous, accomplished and well-curated crowd were an almost absurdly fashionable couple that’d weathered long-distance love and two years of long-distance marriage, only to emerge looking like the stuff of Barack and Michelle daydreams. #LifeGoals, indeed.

How in the hell do they do it? How do any of them do it?

I know how to do a lot of things: I can write songs/plays/articles (and blogs), design rooms, ad campaigns and clothing, move heavy furniture when necessary, reupholster furniture, roast a perfect chicken or turkey, hold my liquor, sniff out the best pineapple, turn the world on with my smile (shout-out to Mary Tyler Moore), and—as of tonight—bring the house down with a brilliant eleventh-hour arrangement combining two of Prince’s most underrated tunes. (Nope, I won’t tell you which ones. You had to be there.)

Yep, I can do all of this, and more. Much more. In short, I’m a badass.

(Yeah, I know: You are, too, in your own uniquely badass way. But we’re talking about me right now—or at least, pretending to be. Either way, play along.)

The one thing I haven’t managed to do is get along with someone long enough that we decide there’s no place either of us would rather be, or anyone else we’d rather be with, even at low tide.

Since I know some fairly “intense” (read: difficult as hell) people who are happily partnered (at least, as happily as difficult-as-hell people can be), I refuse to accept that this is due to my own occasionally neurotic, but ultimately irresistible (*wink*) nature.

But I do have a strange relationship…with space; namely, space for myself, space to breathe, space to break down and let it all hang out, if needed (shout-out to Nina Simone).

Case in point: Based on life as I currently know it, I need space to sleep late—and possibly, across the bed—on a semi-regular basis; to linger over brunch, dinner or drinks too long; to leave the party far earlier than expected; to dance myself into a soaking sweat when least expected; to periodically stay up cleaning almost until dawn, just so I can wake in a spotless house; to sing my heart out to a crowded room, then go dark for days after (because…refueling); to have an entire closet just devoted to my shoes; to binge-watch “The West Wing” (or classic movie marathon of my choosing); to swing on the feast-or-famine pendulum that is frequently my freelancer’s life…

Yep. Apparently, I need space for all of this, and more. Much more.

So, how in the hell do I do that while making space for someone else, and all of their needs? What would that even look like? Will it suddenly just make perfect and painless sense to me, or will I have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the types of compromises that the promise of a perfect union* requires? (*Yes, I am aware that there is no such thing. Again, play along.)

I ask, because—aside from idealizing other people’s relationships last night—I spent a good portion of the previous night on the phone with “The Scribe”; long distance, of course.

In seven years, it was our first phone conversation. Happily, it possessed none of the awkwardness that generally accompanies first phone conversations. He—we—speak easily, about all sorts of things: my neuroticism (including my binge-cleaning), family dynamics, and yes, even “The West Wing” (turns out, he’s quite the aficionado, himself).

We make plans—tentative, but without hesitation. We speak openly about this blog, the men I’m currently dating, and what—if anything—needs to be addressed, in order to remain considerate to everyone (appropriate, since he—and several others, will undoubtedly be reading this post).

He has but one request: that I stay honest with him, and not waste his time, should I fall for someone else. I can readily promise honesty, but don’t know yet whether to call it romance. It’s a difficult concept, from so far away.

But we make (tentative) plans to find out.

 

 

  • Jason Olson

    I am not telling you anything new about love when I say there’s always something to get over with a partner. A tendency towards too much space or not enough, a Crayola crayon box of various emotions and issues, but there has to be a foundation of some kind to work off of and to go back to for comfort, communication, joy and afterglow. My partner for seven years gave me plenty of space, but sometimes so much it left me cold. He also didn’t want to get married or have kids. There’s no way of knowing, but I am pretty sure the same qualities he had that gave me the space I needed for writing, drinking rum cocktails and reading(en meme temps), hanging and flashdancing with my friends, and bing watching Damages, Homeland, and probably the same classic movies you were binge watching, was also the same emotional make up that left me feeling uncoupled, untethered, and unsatisfied. I wanted us to evolve as a couple and it wasn’t happening. My point being, I don’t think we can know very much at all about how it will work out, this fitting someone into our lives and the vice versa of that. More than ever love and coupling is a mystery to me. I am trying to think less, plan less, and feel more while doing my best to keep my own reoccurring fears and ego as tame as possible. Not easy. But hey, if coupling didn’t have it’s appeal and delicious offerings we wouldn’t be pondering it so much. I hope one day we can raise a glass to each other with a wink and honor the houses of love we have built for ourselves. Thanks for writing and sharing.

    • Mai

      Thank YOU for writing and sharing THIS. I absolutely agree with what you are saying, and thank you for reminding me: for the right one, I’d happily make the space.

  • Meredith R. Fitzpatrick

    It was Strange Relationship – one of the Prince songs. This is going to keep me up all night. Space to breath, to be you. I don’t think his space should crowed your space, or suck the air from your space until you can’t breath. Keeping our space within their space is challenging…but soon it becomes one space where you are you, in your space…like when you mix crayons: yellow with red – people see orange – but yellow..she’s still there smiling in her space like heeey see what we did together. Me, I’m yellow.

About the author

Who me? I’m just your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow a cup of sugar?

But seriously: I’m a musician, model, writer, all-around creative and devoted auntie. Like you, I’m just out here in the universe, trying to make it happen…whatever that is.