The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Could you fall in love with you?

And here we’re talking again about relationships.  You know, watching my son Jason watching me and Tananarive together, soaking in every pixel of information about how to be an adult…what relationships are…it makes me want to tiptoe around him sometime, knowing that every word, every glance, every touch, every kiss…is registering with him.

I love my marriage to T, and it has provided me with a better mirror than I’ve ever had in my life.  Who am I?  What am I doing?  Where am I going?  Have I lived up to my abilities and expectations?  The answers vary day by day…but Tananarive is there, and we struggle to find the best way of relating and deepening what we have.

And my central question to myself, often, is: Am I being the best possible partner for her?

This column is about dumping out the stuff that comes into my head every day, so that I can keep moving forward.  You all know that I love the Hero’s Journey, the Chakras.  That I take racial representations in media as a serious indicator of what people think and feel on a level deeper than conscious thought.  And that I think relationships are mirrors.

This last part is fascinating, because so often, people want to believe that there are “no good X” (men or women) in the world, that all the good ones are gone.  Or that they, themselves, are worthless.  Or that their partners, throughout their relationship history, have been at fault.  Men accuse women of being too grasping, manipulative, domineering, etc.  Women accuse men of being too weak, needy, unfaithful, unfocused, etc.

One of the things I hear over and over again from women is “I intimidate men.”  And from men?  “All women want is to see what car I’m driving.”

And I beg you, all of you, to consider the possibility that in life, we see the world we expect to see.  That in relationships, we don’t get what we want. We get who we are.  God, that can be a painful point of view—and I’m not saying its true.  I’m saying that if you live your life AS IF its true, a very interesting thing happens…you see yourself as the living center of your emotional universe.

So I ask you, just as an experiment.  What would it mean if you were the mirror-image of the people you’ve dated and married?  What if they were actually you, hiding in opposite gender garb? 

More to the point…if you were the opposite (or same!) sex, would you be attracted to you?  Why, or why not?

No comments: