avoiding icarus

Mercury’s in retrograde until Saturday, and apparently what that means is that communication is difficult. Horoscope sites and astrology message boards caution against having intense conversations because of the possibility of misunderstanding. While I don’t consult an astrological oracle for advice on decisions I need to make, I see the effects of these communication difficulties all around me, particularly in romantic relationships. 2009 has been a major transitive year, and not just for myself. I’m witnessing the dissolution of supposed life-partnerships all around me, and on a weekly basis, I’m exposed to the fallout from friends’ break-ups.

Obviously, one result of this has been hours of conversations about relationships. Words like “toxic”, “draining”, and “heavy” are repetitively used to describe these recently-ended relationships, most of them operating under the description of partnerships, implying a more committed endeavour. Recently, a friend who came out of a relationship with someone who she had invested so much in said: “I need to find my life purpose, and [her partner] was creating distortion. I’m trying to balance, and I need to do that alone.” Listening to post-relationship commentary while the hurt and the grief are still fresh makes me evaluate what I want out of life, specifically in a partnership sense. I do believe in learning from others, and I don’t arrogantly think that I can avoid the mistakes that they have made. What I do know is that I don’t want to be in a toxic relationship, or one that takes me away from my what I need to and love to do, one that doesn’t take away from me more than it gives.

At this point in my life, I do have some idea about what I would expect to find in a life partner. And I use that term loosely, because I’m still not sure I believe in what sometimes seems to me the achingly naive idea of there being one. I’d like to transition into a partnership, if that’s even in my cards, rather than actively seek one out with the sole purpose of making a go of it.

My criteria isn’t some close-minded checklist of pre-requisites and achievements; more along the lines of I’ve processed so much, and for the first time in my life I’m paying conscious attention to understanding who I am, and I’m figuring out what’s complementary and what’s detrimental to my wellbeing. And it is, unapologetically, a little bit selfish, but I really don’t see the point in sacrificing simply for the sake of building in a relationship setting.

I need to be with someone who is comfortable with who they are, and who is in turn, comfortable with who I am. All of me. I used to think that this meant blind acceptance of my flaws and tolerance of my idiosyncrasies, but what it means to me now is that I need someone who can say to me at all times: “I see you, and I’m still down.” I don’t need the crazy to be indulged or stifled (or worse, caught up in a horrible feedback loop), but simply to be recognised. And my anxieties and insecurities made latent rather than kindled.

Call me jaded, I used to believe in unconditional love, but I don’t believe that exists anymore, or not for extended periods of time anyway. I still believe though that everyone needs to experience a belief in unconditional love, no matter how fleeting. I also used to believe that I was okay with someone loving me to the best of their ability, but honestly, that ability better be damned good. I can’t make up the difference.

Most importantly, I need to be the best (or even better than that) person I can possibly be in the context of my relationship with someone else. I need to wake up and know that I’m trying, that my effort is reciprocated, and that I am okay with the work being put in. I underscore this by knowing that relationships take a lot of work, and the desire to do that work is part of this. And I need to be proud of us for what’s achieved together.

Affirmation rather than validation, and enhancement rather than completion. I want my walk to be bouncier, my body to glow, and my eyes to shine. I want my partner to see their love and support reflected in my achievements. And vice versa.

On a more superficial level, I need someone who can come along for the ride with all its (high) ups and (low) downs, who can maintain for themselves and not be worse for wear. I don’t really level, although I’m a lot more balanced than I used to be.

I expect the same from myself that I would from a partner, and nothing less. I now understand the kind of love that I give, and it’s a fierce, intense, fiery, loyal-to-a-fault, protective love. Don’t make your wings out of wax if you’re planning on getting close.

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Addendum: I do realise that all this could, and probably will, change over time and I’m cool with that. I’d still like a snapshot of where my head’s at right now, hence this post.

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