So if I'm inside your head, don't believe what you might have read, you'll see what I might have said,
to hear it. Come waste your time with me, come waste your time with me.
Not so long ago I was asked if I knew what I wanted in life. My answer was an absolute yes. I have since read a book that suggests people say they know what they want, but in fact, they do not really know what they want. People have a fantasy of what a great job or house or relationship may look like, but when they get it, seems that’s not really it; witness Heidi Klum and Seal, who saw that coming? People often think “if I just get that job then everything will fall into place” or “if I could just get that gold band on my left hand then my life will be better”. People so often look outwardly to fill the inner void, and it just doesn’t work. That leads to constant meandering around in life and not committing to anything, more on that later though. I pondered for quite some time, do I really know what I want?
Also, not so long ago in a galaxy close, close at hand, I had dinner at that same friends house. I was surprised to find that my friend was serving me Pillsbury biscuits, you know the kind from your childhood? They come in a tube? It kind of cracked me up a little, but you know what? They were good. They were, in fact, very good. I’m not proud, I’ll say it. They were pretty damn yummy. We watched t.v. while we ate dinner, something I have always deemed as verboten in my life. What next, t.v. trays? I think not. No t.v. while dining. If you had asked me prior to that night, and before reading that we don’t want what we think we want, I would have thought a night of watching t.v. and ingesting biscuits from a tube sounded like the kind of suburban shenanigans I did not want in my life. I have to say though, the book was right and I am wrong. You heard it folks, I said “I AM WRONG”. You may want to earmark this as I am not always willing to say such words. I was wrong. I watched t.v. while dining. I ate biscuits from a tube . . . happily.
The next day I wondered aloud to a different friend what life is really like in relationships. She is in a serious relationship, I am not in a relationship at all, and I wanted her take on biscuits and t.v. Turns out she loves biscuits in a tube. I’ve been unmarried for a good many years and when I was married my spouse worked late quite regularly, leaving me with a lot of alone time. While I have had relationships during these past years, some of which were serious and long term, it has been many years since I have completely shared my life and living space. I am not a “liver-together-er”, if you want to live with me then put a ring on it, otherwise you can wash your own damn socks. (A completely unrelated aside, when you do put a ring on it; ask the dad, and take the knee for the proposal. I have had terrible proposals, which just may be why I didn’t marry any of them). So, what really happens? In my “Yes, I know what I want” world, did I account for the everyday? What happens when it’s just a plain ol’ Tuesday and there are no crucial conversations to be had and life is just, ya know . . . life. It’s not always reading classic books by classic authors and discussing the finer points of said books, or eating decadent foods, or even looking nice. There are times when I pad about my house wearing a robe and a face mask of cinnamon and honey dripping down my chin, this is decidedly not pretty. This is what it takes to stay pretty, but not pretty in the moment. And how about those times you have the stomach flu? People, you know what I’m talking about, those times when your body is just disgusting . . . I won’t elaborate, you get the picture. You can’t just ask your spouse to leave for three days until your stomach lining stays in its place and your sphincter decides to stop tormenting you. Again I must ask, what do I really want? I want cellulite free thighs, emancipation from stomach flu, and several million dollars, but in the real world, I like the idea of biscuits and t.v. and a person who sticks around throughout everything, up to and including stomach flu.
And here’s why, because in a very twisted sense those moments are special. As gross as it is, you don’t share your stomach flu misery with just anybody, you share it with your special somebody. Lucky for that guy, eh? But really, it’s true. When you’re sick, when you’ve done something dumb, when you’ve done something you don’t want to share with the world, when you’re walking around in a robe and a homemade face mask, you share it with your special someone. Remember that movie “Babel”? Brad Pitt is married to Cate Blanchett, she is shot randomly on a bus. While they are waiting for help to arrive he’s holding her hand and she says “I have to pee”. He laughs and tells her to go ahead, who cares, she’s got a bullet in her for cryin’ out loud. Eventually she does, she just pisses herself because, why not, she’s got a bullet in her for cryin’ out loud. They both laugh through tears at the sheer ridiculousness of it and, unless you’ve seen the movie and/or been this close to someone in your life, I can’t really explain what a loving, shared moment it is. She pees herself, he loves her and he kisses her. These are two people who can share the more mundane moments of life, and still feel special, just by not doing these mundane things with anyone else. And thus, the mundane becomes special, sacred even. The everyday nothingness of life is bonding.
It’s relatively easy to have a great time during those initial days of wine and roses, it’s the frailties that build relationships. When you’re first getting to know someone you’re behind the wall of politeness, you dress your best, you don’t burp, you curb the cursing. These rituals are time honored and should continue to be honored. Eventually though, as you let people in on the real you, some less than stellar moments are going to arise. There will come a time when you lose your temper, when you have to pee out in the middle of nowhere, when you have to admit just how many pairs of shoes you really own, when you get a zit, or God forbid
. . . the stomach flu, and you let your special someone in a little closer. When they peer into your life more and more and say “Yeah, that’s ok, I’m not going anywhere”, ah bliss. Then you have someone with whom you can just be yourself, entirely; someone with whom you can lay around on the couch, watching mindless sitcoms and eating pre-packaged foods. There are boundaries of course and you need to know yours. For instance, no matter how sick I get, sweat pants with elastic around the ankles will never find their way into my wardrobe. Ick. Unless of course they become very trendy, then I’ll purchase several pairs of them. But no cellophane wrapped orange cheese slices . . . ever.
So getting that new job, or buying that house, or finding that special someone are all great things, and not at all bad to want them. You should want them, aim high and aspire to personal greatness, but also be mindful that while these things are awesome, if something inside is eating at you, attaining these outside things will not feed it. An inside void cannot be filled with extraneous matter. It’s my plan to write more about this next month, about loving yourself, but I can only solve one mystery at a time peeps. I hope these words are, in some way, relieving to you. Relieving to know that your life is probably pretty damn great right now, without the left hand gold band or the house or the new job and when you do get those things . . . super bonus on the gravy train!
So, do I know what I want? Yes. Yes I do. Oh hell yes I do.