I went to lunch yesterday with some people from work, younger people like myself, save our friend, Mr. Friendly. I asked one of them, Mel O. Drama, if he lived by himself or had any roommates. “I live with my partner, ” he said. I had already guessed but not confirmed that Mel was gay, so this didn’t come as any surprise to me. But it did get me thinking…
How many people have a partner? I don’t mean that as in “how many people have a same sex significant other, for which there are few other words beside the generic ‘partner,’ ” but in the sense of truly having a partner. I had to look up the word to see if it really meant, in the dictionary sense, the concept that I am reaching for. I found a very interesting one: one of the heavy timbers that strengthen a ship’s deck to support a mast —usually used in plural.
This is closer to what I mean than these other ones. This partner is a reinforcement that strengthens and helps to support an addition to the whole. A life partner. Someone to split the bills and have sex with, sure, but also someone who strengthens you in ways that allow you to branch out, to be more yourself. Often in relationships, we lose some of ourselves. We can all fall victim to this, even when the relationship is good.
Mr. Perfect feels that his life consists mainly of me, work, and church/church folks. Sprinkled in with football and Facebook every now and then. But that’s not all Mr. Perfect has ever been. He wants to get back into working out, maybe take up martial arts again, learn to play another instrument and explore music more. Am I preventing him from doing that, per se? Nope. I see him on the weekends mostly, rarely ever seeing him during the week, but then, that’s usually when one would have time to pursue those things.
What about me, you ask? What parts of me have gone missing? Well, I used to walk/jog/run all the time with my mp3 player, and before I had one, without an mp3 player just to check in with myself. I did yoga. I cooked a lot. I spent more time on my writing. I watched more movies. I talked more on my phone and went out more on my own. I loved the library on Saturday mornings. Can I still do all of these things? Yes. Is Mr. Perfect really the reason I don’t do these things? Nope. No more than I am the reason he hasn’t gotten back to the things he does as much as he would like.
But I can’t help but wonder about this partner thing. What additions are we enabling each other to take on? Right now, I know the answer to that in part. But I encourage everyone, in a romantic relationship with someone, in relationships with friends or family, or re-entering a relationship with yourself, what are you supporting and what are they supporting? What role does this other person really play in your life? Are they alongside you in some way helping to uphold something you both believe in, or are you always lugging around the weight of their problems or pursuits? Are you sharing something more than your bodies and your bills?
This is not to say you need another person to be happy, or to help you accomplish things in your life. But if you have someone, they should be a help to you and not a hindrance in some essential ways, or else why bother?
As always, feel free to let me know what you think. I know it’s been a while since I wrote something other than a movie review, and if you’ve missed this part of my blog, let me know! Encourage me to write about things I care about. I need to know you’re feeling me sometimes.