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Thursday, 18 February 2010
R2D2 Projecting onto Princesses again...
The comic Rodney Dangerfield, once said "My wife´s a water sign. I´m an earth sign. Together we make mud." But really, we do create a third intangible thing when we get together with another. But what is it? And do we see it, or do we project something else while hiding the truth from ourselves?
I think most of you know that I am courting an older man. Difficult to call him really my boy-friend, since long past he ceased to be a boy. And yet it is one of the longest relationships I’ve had. It is definitely the one with the least tension, least arguments, least problems and where love has been able to peacefully grow. He is earth, I am air. No mud huts.
You can imagine that it was not easy. It is not easy. It is like being gay and coming out of the closet. Except there is no closet. There is no “May-September” young-older night clubs, magazines, or flags to wave. There are people who have and are in May-September relationships, quite a lot of famous people actually, but no social standards, no guidelines to follow.
And so it begs the question…what is a relationship. Why am I living in a partnership with this person. To what end? If you are a come-cocos (a coconut eater – or rather someone who thinks too much), it’s quite a tough cookie. In relationships that are socially more freuquent, then the question is not so evident (though it is still there, just hiding like Anne Frank in her attic). But what drives us to live, share, sleep with someone else?
I’ve been mulling over this for some time and the conclusion is somewhat embarrassing: I am unconsciously following, as if along a ploughed path, dreams and fantasies that I have in my mind. These were created when I was, ohh, all of the age of…
What a year. I was a right little busy bee making up wonderful romantic ideals. My first idea of true romantic evening was a fantasy (never came true) of watching “Pretty Woman” with a wonderful boy eating pizza on a blanket on the middle of my lounge floor. Yep, the Cinderella Complex. That old favourite: I dreamt of being pushed up into a perfect self and henceforth perfect life, thanks to my prince charming. I needed only to look out from my upper floor window, no work on my behalf needed, and smile, laughingly, charmingly at Richard Gere overcoming his fear of heights with a rose between his teeth.
I remember sitting at my homework desk, with my pink paper and the white lines, with my pink heart pen writing down the list of the characteristics I deemed necessary of my ideal boy hero. He must be handsome, funny, intelligent, musical, sporty, rich…
Thirteen eh? A ripe age for dreaming. I remember sorting out my life, what I would be like by the astronaut year of 2000. I would have children by then and be just like…and again I embarrass my adult self somewhat more…the family in “Back to the Future”. You know when M J Fox comes back to the future and he’s sorted out those pesty problems of the past. As a result he has a family in a spotless, white, glorious kitchen, sun shining in through the windows, mum and dad have just come in from a fun, exciting, evenly matched game of tennis, they are smiling, the children are doing their homework happily and are smiling and the baddie, now turned goodie, is super happy in the garage cleaning the car, aware of his inabilities and happy to be working, and is smiling.
It didn’t actually happen for me like that.
But all that dreaming, all that Pretty Woman and Back to the Future, all that sure idea of what life is about, didn’t leave me when faced by a strangely different reality, it went underground and became my secret template without me even knowing it. It became the glasses that I wore for discerning if my relationship was going right or not, without me really knowing it.
The thing is that with an older man those projections just broke down. Shattered. Really, I cannot ask of him to be sporty and (this is the deal) I cannot dream that he will become sporty. It’s impossible to change him into my hero. I cannot project onto him the “sporty” characteristic on my pink paper list. It’s just not going to happen. I cannot tell him to start climbing mountains, or mountain biking (he cannot ride a bike). And so I cannot blame him for when I don’t go (which believe me, I have done many a time with other boyfriends). He is just not going to change much, or be much else than what he is now. And somehow, it is a huge relief. It is a clear level playing field. I am not projecting things into our relationship that simply cannot and aren’t going to happen. And it leaves me able to more fully appreciate what is there, like comprehension, an ability to love, complicity...
But still what is a relationship?
I don’t really know, but I know a little more about what it is not. I wonder if it is simpler than we project. Since the simplest things are often the most difficult.
I don’t want Richard Gere to get jealous, but Rainer Maria Rilke is definately a poetic hero. In his book Letters to a Young Poet he writes “Try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or like books written in a remote foreign language. Do not search now for answers that cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And every thing has to be lived. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually live your way, without noticing, into the answer some day.”