For some, capturing just the right image on film is an obsession. For others, it is an art form. I, personally, almost never take photos because they cannot do justice to the way I feel from the experience. Instead of looking for the exhilaration and freedom of the experience—what I am getting out of it—I get the interpretation of the camera or, even worse, the photographer. I think that is why most people don’t like their own picture …they see a stranger.
This is a similar experience, I think, that happens when relationships go stale. Often, we learn so much about a person that we take a mental snapshot of them. We forget that they are living, breathing human beings with the will and need to grow. So, we keep our snapshots of that person, just as they were the moment we realized that we love them, and never change it. Years later, we look back at that person and compare it to the person that we see over the dinner table only to find a stranger.
While it is never wrong to grow, as a matter of fact it seems unreasonable to expect anyone not to change over the course of some years when they add new experiences; there are special opportunities to update your photo with little gifts of insight. One of my favorite gifts is for a sexy man to let me share something with me that I did know about him. Especially, if I have known him for any length of time at all and he shares something so unbelievably out of character, he is all the sexier because he could throw something at me that slipped by my Gemini curiosity to dig deeply into people.
These two recent examples came to me almost at the same exact time from two of my favorite human beings:
I love old movies. I will watch an old movie so many times that The Marine is almost on the floor writhing in pain from the torture. Recently, while watching a Marx Brothers festival, he came into the room. As I was working, I offered to let him change the channel. “Are you kidding, I love the Marx Brothers,” he said almost indignant by the suggestion. Now, I have known this man for the better part of 25 years and I have never seen him watch a Marx Brothers movie. Heartbreak Ridge, AVP, Transformers….all sci-fi porn to him! Loves them like the boobies….but the Marx Brothers? Mmmm….unsuspected depth! Damn, that was sexy. A man that could laugh at the intelligent (and completely silly) humor of the Marx Brothers mixed with that body and deeply patriotic Semper Fi attitude—it almost overwhelming with a passion that burns like ice with the dichotomy.
I recently giggled like a small child when My Favorite Scorpio told me he was getting ready to go diving. “Uh huh….right,” was my answer when he kept demanding to know what was so funny. I believe I bruised his pride, but he has never done anything athletic or even walked fast as long as I have known him. “I have been a certified diver for most of my adult life,” he smirked, “and little girl, there are lots of things I do you don’t know about,” he challenged. “Like?” I asked, quite amused. “Later. Gotta go,” he laughed and hung up. Somehow, finding out that there were other layers to this man that I know so well seems like a small gift…and an indicator that there is so much more to find out.
I interact with both of these men daily. But, in each case, I had a frozen picture of who they are in my mind without stopping to remember that they are real human beings with passions, beliefs, and realities of their own. Often, forgetting this fact ruins relationships.
Women are shocked to find that they or their partner have entered into a whole new phase of their life. Perhaps, women are the guiltiest of this behavior because we are scared that change will bring a movement away from the status quo. It does, by nature, mean just that. But, what I would encourage is not that we struggle to maintain the status quo—that makes all participants unhappy as it asked someone to lie about who they are as they grow from the experiences of their lives—examine the changes with the courage to accept the things you can’t change (if it is in your best interest)….the strength to change the things you can change….and the serenity to know the difference. Finding the changes in people you love should be an incredible gift…not the beginning of the end.
Hummm….there might be a 12 step program in there somewhere! 12 steps to Building a Strong Relationship. Could put AA out of business. I would drink to that!! ~~Dee