Compromise as a Love Story

“I saw that nothing was permanent. You don’t want to possess anything that is dear to you because you might lose it.” ~ Yoko Ono

I’ve come to learn that the entrance into a relationship, is much like the first day of school. When we meet someone new who excites our interest, inspires our personal development; they also incite a feeling of euphoria. It appears to be quite common to find take-charge sort of announcements pop up in our lives, and the determination to plow forth into our normal routine spans out of that same feeling. After *ahem* 30 years of living, and about half that time of dating – don’t judge me – I have learned that the most important lesson is the one I’ve mentioned before; Patience. There’s also another term that often is found quietly standing at P’s side, and that is Anticipation. See, they even sound alike!

My point here is based on a personal opinion, and I certainly understand if some would prefer to roll their eyes as I elaborate. So, here it is:

We as human beings tied to the information express lane that is the ‘interwebs’ have become accustomed to acquiring what we desire in any given moment, without pause. We don’t even have the ability – again, just my opinion – to wait for the right people to come into our lives and grace us with friendship, connection, and romance. I get it. Why bother, right? Why, indeed. But my point is, simply because in the click of a mouse a few selections of a scroll down variety will find us a mate, a social group, and a place to live, we are persuaded to believe that there is no longer any necessity to wait for the right timing.

I am a victim of this time period; I am no better than anyone else. My patience is tried, and often if I find I’m not pursuing my own list of goals, the questions will begin to pile up. Questions which will take time to be answered. Questions we all face, yet find difficulty in accepting the obvious; nothing is universal except the question itself. When will things get easier? The personal opinion in this case is not what most people seek, so I won’t bother to give it.

Relationships occupy the parts of our minds that seek to find a companion to make facing these questions easier. That’s the best part. What they do not accomplish – and its foolish to believe they will – is the obliteration of impatience.

Your relationship, in the best of times will help you glide through the emotionally and psychologically trying times of your life. Your relationship will not – ever – succeed in resolving all negative perceptions, or trials you may face. It also won’t necessarily make anything easier.

“Life with another person is always difficult.” ~ Yoko Ono

Some of us have simple desires, and I think the list of them gets shorter as we find ourselves age and develop; grow comfortable in our own skins.

Recently, a few couples I’m acquainted with were married. One girl whom I’ve known for over a decade called me up to gush over her honeymoon in Mexico. I was happy for her, giddily poking fun at how different she sounded; the woman grown out of the seed of a very young, very cynical girl. What stood out in the conversation was the ease with which she spoke. She confessed that she now – finally – felt she could relax in her daily life. Her reasoning was simple: with her husband by her side, who’d now found a professional role he could sink his teeth into, she felt she no longer had to concern herself with the question of stability. This was her ultimate preoccupation. How would she live as she aged and eventually decided to retire from the workforce. So, she was happy. She felt content enough not to worry about things like a home, which was immaculate every day. The present was laying down the platform which her future would rest upon. Quite a feeling!

Remember when the beginning of a school year felt as if it were miles away from its end? Remember when the end of a school period felt too soon, like the beginning had just passed? Our attempt, as wildly impatient – information hungry human beings – to find, capture and possess all which attains us a euphoric can-do spirit, all which seems to encompass ambivalence against the present obstacles, perhaps suffocates – even kill – the seed of a new exciting journey.

I myself have been on a journey to remain completely in the present. The question, which is still only a small seed, asks what I can be given that I cannot give myself. A realization came to me recently, which I hadn’t considered until another question came forth. What was the central meaning behind most arguments? For me, I believe it was the feeling of instability. But it remains inexcusable.

When the euphoria wears thin, and we are left with the old and true questions that have plagued us long before the wonderful induction of a new – and hopefully last – love story; our roles to play often present themselves from the very beginning, but we deny them. We try to keep dusting them with fantasy, and when that too thins, and reality feels laden with work, we fight.

Midterms in school are the worst. The middle hurdle when we begin to question why we enrolled in the classes at all; and yet we plow forward.

If you’re in love, and choose to remain that way; Acceptance, Forgiveness, Patience are the answers to questions we will remain asking in a lifetime and beyond. Until we realize that the one thing we wanted has – for some of us – been there, waiting.

Just because a relationship is work doesn’t mean we have to abandon the euphoria we found when it all began. Retaining it is about letting go of our perceptions of happiness. It’s about understanding what we want is not behind the click of a mouse or a scroll down menu. What these advertisements don’t tell us is how things will change when the feed isn’t censored to our liking. What it doesn’t say, is compromising what we want, for what we need is the best sacrifice we can ever achieve in our lifetimes.

I hope, that through all this forward moving technology, we do not forget to be grateful for the lesson each person who comes into our life gives.

I ultimately hope, that for everyone, we look within ourselves, and know that in the end who you are is the answer to any question, and the people we choose as our companions are simply twin souls who want to sit beside us, growing together, and apart, asking their own.

“At least I had that, one guy understood me.“~ Yoko Ono

and what a thing to have.

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Forgiveness Pleads for Learning

Have you ever been a bad partner to someone? How about friend? or Lover?

The power of memory is a near indestructible force. One that rarely allows us to gloss over the tears we come to make in the fabric of time. I believe that it is the direct proportion of negative memories collected, which ultimately extends or shortens Time. So now, we return to the initial question, and follow it with another:

Have you ever forgotten causing someone pain with your words, or any other device? Can we say that losing memory of such infliction makes the slightest difference in the impact upon the person who’s been hurt?

My questions plead for Honesty. They plead for truth, and in being truthful I then ask urge you to contemplate Forgiveness. Don’t skip steps, and try not to move too quickly because taking your time to really think about these concepts will prove worthy of your Patience.

I’ll give you an example: me.

I’m no different from most cynically hopeless romantics. My friend’s parents were all divorced growing up, and as a result I disregarded marriage as a life goal. The largest lesson, which left the most stains was the idea that no one truly cared about my problems; I was alone in the universe, and the lesson was independence. Having one parent teach you to be your own backbone all the while holding you up until your bones strengthen, can leave a feeling of great responsibility.

So what I’m wondering is, can a person in the efforts of being entirely independent develop episodes of anxiety. Can the result of always being in control lead you to set higher unrealistic standards in particularly short time frames for yourself, and all around you?

Time, again. Anxiety can make time speed up, stand still, or even seem to slow down; and it can certainly destroy an individual’s sense of self. When we find ourselves running through thoughts at rapid speed, unable to capture more than one per dozen, I personally question the value of Time. It is with disrespecting Time that I find myself heading home without anyone to call to plan dinner with. My home is empty save the multitude of negative imprints I contributed greatly in leaving behind within these last few months.

My story is one of great disappointment. I failed to learn the great lesson; forgiveness. Having saved up enough negative memories for several lifetimes, I assumed the belief that I was not worthy of another’s selfless love. I pushed, and I mean literally pushed away those who wanted to get close, that self loathing sentiment growing into an ongoing practice of defiance. One might wonder, how does a person live a life with their shoulders arched upward in defense of all that’s good; compassion. I’m beginning to think it’s because so many of us aren’t honest with ourselves.

Honesty again. I have gone for a run at times when some very dear people have needed me the most. I have said hurtful things, and forgotten I’d said them soon after due to the speed and lack of tact with which I delivered them. That’s not honest either, however. These things were not forgotten, but merely displaced. Taken for granted, such as the people to whom they were said.

I’ve considered the missteps, as well as the cause for them; yet the time taken to truly learn the study of forgiveness has gone unused.

My relationship was a delicate flower, full of beauty, love and friendship. There was time spent apart, and in that time there was less gratitude than was needed. The anxiety began to build, and the speed with which things were said and done continued to fluctuate. Acknowledging the limitations of the present meant Patience and the result of creating too high a number of negative Memories, meant Time had sped up. Honesty stood alone jilted, asking to be respected; until all I could see were the truths.

Forgiving both silent and loud imperfections within ourselves, standing up against the anxiety, which knows only extremes; it is a journey a life is spent learning.

If I can impart anything of value, it is to try not to forget the value of Time, the amount of pain that can be fit into a moment or an hour. Time bends for none of us, and the memories we create can be misplaced at best. Do not forget to be honest with yourself. Absorb the full landscape, and not only the parts which shine the most. Seek forgiveness within you, and do your best to remember to continue its study every day that passes.

We may create our own destiny, or we may be powerless towards it. We may not be able to save every wrong word from being said. Learning we may always do, and we must always try for.

So, my final question is, did you know all of this already?

I’ll answer it for you; you were born with these lessons. In the devaluing of time, they were forgotten.

I believe if we look inside, we can find the natural timeline of our lives waiting to be read. In it I’m beginning to learn that in a life, as well as beyond it;

There is always a way back.

 

 

 

 

 

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Purpose by Love’s Definition

When I decided to move out of New York, I felt I was leaving only my beloved mother behind. Weeks into my move, I felt I had made the right choice. My obsession with the clouds was resurrected in the rolling fog most afternoons. A ritual of waking early to make breakfast, followed by falling into a book -which most often was a gift David had sent in a loving care package- on the shady back porch soothed my loneliness to a sweet hum. My only fear was that I wasn’t strong enough to not survive, but prevail against the obstacles I was sure to face.

The fear which was most central to my heart pointed in the direction of the pulsing rhythm of mine and David’s love story. We’d found each other without even looking, and during a time when both our lives were transient and mulling over definition. We faced trials and were left with just the company of ourselves to bounce ideas on. Through all of it, I still knew that in this partner, this whole person so secure within himself, I found understanding and compassion. I believe we saw within each other the other half of a whole lifelong journey, and I believe none of this was a dreamer’s fantasy.

David and his sweet nephew, Lucas

There’s a reason for everything. Two hearts meeting across thousands of miles may appear to be a fairytale when viewing from the surface. Yet, this love story is unique and powerful. The tiny flaming parts of me that fell so hard, understood the magnitude of responsibility that came along with the irresistible choice to open my body and soul up to the many facets of truly loving another person.

My body has developed a roundness that reaches a woman who is well fed with the satisfaction of compassionate hands. A lover who finds value in keeping his companion safe, warm, and satiated.

Before my move, I couldn’t sleep. Unfed by love and life; living for only myself and keeping busy to mask the hunger. Drinking from a fountain of self fulfillment, forgetting how to look inward completely so that I didn’t forget to be grateful.

Two days ago I mentioned faith to David, and he said he looked at things differently. We discussed a book we confirmed I needed to re-read; a guide on the self and spirituality. There are so many ways with which we forget to remember what brought us together with the people in our lives. I’m willing to say that I have spent less time practicing and re-learning lessons on how to transform from the student, to a guide.

David is such an inspiring person. With his writing, and the words he chooses to contribute to the world, I am reminded of the magnitude of portraying greatness.

I'm always so in love with his smile.

I’m reminded that the greatest reward for giving your heart and soul to another human being, is gaining the heart and soul of an equal. We may not all be halves waiting to be wholes. David and I didn’t find each other in a pursuit to find missing pieces. In reality, we are two souls connected by a mutual enlightenment. We’ve known so well and for so long how huge and blazing is a relationship. Time cannot slow or quicken to our internal clocks. Instead, we move according to the tune of our own songs.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I was inspired to speak on the many layers we are both learning about, which come along with sharing lives. What I want to say regarding it all, is everything is worth the result of being with someone who reminds you to never give up on who you are. I’m grateful every day for the lessons I learn. We are not merely subjects in life. We are twin souls strong enough to face the pains of growing side by side with each sunrise, and sunset.

Here’s to another new beginning.

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Losing Mostly Everything But My Mind

Some time ago I reserved a seat at a less well trafficked cafe in the mission district, to scribble a long time plaguing thought.

Here is what I started with: Losing things.

While it’s something I know has been leaving imprints upon the mind, I’ve begun tackling the realization that upon moving, the transition from New York resident to San Francisco citizen has been all about letting go of possessions that once connected me to romantic ties. But it’s not just the men. It’s the friendships. I’m not good at hitting the release button.

When skydiving a few years past, I leaned my mouth towards the ear of my tandem partner so the wind wouldn’t sweep the words away. Asked to be reprieved of my choice to not pull the plug myself. If I was going to float, sail down through the clouds, he was going to lead the way. Had it been up to me, I might have allowed the continuance of the fall.

With the setting in of age and maturity, I have attained a habit of chasing memories. My heart has broken into fragments each time a friend has been lost to time. possessions have fallen through city cracks, other people’s hands, phone numbers, ticket stubs. I have always resented the practice of moving forward, particularly when it has involved never looking back.

Some find it easier to continue moving forward whilst dragging the past along with them. A talent I never had. Social networks seem specifically made for a person with my track record.

So when I lost my Ipod over a month ago on the way to dinner at a friends, I found myself overwhelmed with remorse.

“How could I be so careless?” I remarked. “You have the worst luck,” my friend said.

She and I made signs with newspaper print and pastels. On them I informed the reader of my broken heart, in the effort to gain sympathy. They were torn down the following afternoon from their lamppost perches. I gave myself another week of mourning before finally accepting it was gone.

One month has passed, and the lesson of letting go has become more of a mantra. My beloved resides in this same city, and space where nothing reminds us of our homes. We’ve left it all behind, willingly. Gradually, I’m re-learning why it was so easy to step forward into the unknown. Something was aching inside to be left with nothing, so I could learn what was most important.

Finding someone who supports you to be exactly who you are is a unique treasure. While we bear the fresh marks from our first month together, the stories we began to write prior to making the decision to move forward – at different but equal paces – are forming. It’s a breath of fresh air that only Spring could provide.

 

Us and Panda, a friend's sweet pup

~Kris

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trip tych

Notice: these are selected notes from my transcontinental journey and first week in a new home on the west coast.  They may seem more confessional than is intended.

1. A year later.

It’s been a full year since I’ve cracked these pages and laid down ink.  I got my last job a year ago and quickly wrapped myself in the asthmatic cocoon of retail drudgery.  I was earning and aiming to save, and most importantly locking into the pure groove of having a mission of sorts.  The exact nature of my work sent many good intentions reeling; my mental state in the wake of any particularly gruelling day left scant room for creativity, planning, or growth.  Instead I spun into a cycle of endurance and release, turning up my music and obliterating the world, for a few hours, to maintain a semblance of balance, of sanity.  The experience of seeing humanity at or around its lowest common denominator on a daily basis numbed my awe for what people can achieve, rubbing raw my bedrock faith in good and light and love.

It dulled the flame of my desire to share the beauty within, to reflect all that I love about existence.  I found it almost like work to maintain my love of… love.  In turn I force-fed myself the great works of art I’d unearth to ever diminishing returns.  Nothing left me ecstatically engaged as it had before.  But soon, I knew, it would be over.  When my job ended weeks ago, I half expected the feeling, the love to simply billow up and swell my heart immediately.  Instead I got sick.

I think that buffer time was useless but now, truly moving on and letting go in every real and emotional sense, it finally touches me.  I feel the hot fingers of grace massaging my heart of hearts back to life.  I feel the very real lips of love kissing mine, breathing in deeply all the truth and beauty I can grasp and channel.  I feel like waking after a fever dream, and the warm embrace of real life pulling me upright.

2. Walking

At Dolores Park and savoring the view while the dying embers of Moritz Von Oswald Trio score the scene.  Surrounded by, in order:  hipster kids drinking 40′s of Big Bear, couples taking photos of other couples on the sly, and a man in military pants walking what looks like a fox squirrel.

From within the ancient reverb chamber of my skull, the whole area hums with a spectral, jolting energy. The clarity of the blinding sun does all it can to restrain my use of the word ‘spooky’ as this is anything but.  I can feel the layers of history and lives in a space like this.  There’s so much more going on than the visible spectrum reveals.  It’s there in the smell, in the ground and the trees.  Each breath ushers in a deeper sense of home.  I am home, I live here.  It feels so easy to slip into, like a dream, or a bath.

The music is gone and the silence looms like a golem awaiting instruction.  It’s not a lack of sound, but an abundance of space.  Muffled giggles tiptoe from a smoking circle and flit by mothers whistling over the jungle gym, while the sharp rip and crack of a dog playing with a branch provides a brittle rhythm.. and nothing else.  That deep city buzz evaporates miles away, past the spires and domes of neighborhood worship, over the cloistered book shops and coffee spots and far downhill from my perch.  It’s a weirdly perfect combination of being within and without my new urban world.

3.  Super rainy

This Tuesday the sky is defining “meh” but I’ve got so many reasons to be enthusiastically engaged with this world.  One, of course, is the new city and its particular environment.  I breathe so well here.  I want to get to know it all, feel the corners and know the textures. Another reason is my new home itself, with my love, herself.  This is the reason I’m here, both as an end and a jumping off point.  I moved here to be with Kris, and the home she’s made for us is my destination; it’s also what allows us to reach for the opportunities this place holds.  It is our beach head.

Another very sound reason I’m happy is that, come Saturday, I will once again be mobile.  My bicycle will be here and ready to ride, and I will regain my cherished and necessary sense of freedom and control in this new environment.  The bus and train are wonderful conveyance, but riding them I feel such a disconnect with the streets I’m passing.  It is literally passive in all significance, and it’s hard for me to get a true grip on the physical layout in all its dimensions.  It’s my most natural way to understand a city and the routes I’ll be taking.  Despite my years of visiting, I never knew Lansing until I drove it daily.  On bicycle, I believe, I’ll quickly develop an intimacy with this place.  The sheer ability to see more of it in a given span of time will expand my knowledge and make familiar the increasingly common points I cross.  Once I have the desire lines down, the whole of the bay area will open..

Postscript: Running up that hill

I’ve got my bike, the sun finally emerged, and I’m learning where all the good two-wheeled parking spots hide.  After a ceaseless winter with solid snow for over three months, this town’s fabled hills are shining a spotlight on what a quivering mess my respiratory and aerobic muscular systems have become.  We live on the peak of a slope, so it’s easy to get out and about.  The last few steps home, however, remind me of the hibernatory life I’ve left thousands of miles behind.  This is just the beginning.

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Like An Amputees Phantom Itch

I wrote a review of Rachel McKibbens’ debut poetry collection.

I think it’s pretty great, and I’m grateful The Rumpus thought so as well.

She’s a gifted poet who kicked my spine straight with the raw truth of her craft.

Enjoy.

~Kris

 

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I Wished for This

This kitty smiles upon us

It’s a preparation for the unification of our love story. It’s a smile in the darkness before a sunrise. A glimmer of certainty. A knowing glance. It’s the music you never thought you’d dance to. The sunrise of an afterthought; An endless horizon.

This is what, not this year, but this moment, this second of certainty means.

David and I lived states away sharing interests, and passions for the duration of nearly a decade. We looked over each other’s digital shoulders doubting we’d ever meet.

Twenty-three days and the mystery will have faded.

Horizons will have rose and fell on our clasped hands, and warm embrace.

Morning cups of coffee not rendering me maimed. A familiar face in the crowd. Numerous private jokes. Forgiveness in a smile. It may seem sappy, it may promise us a series of eye rolling, but I’m excited.

Here is a video to wash away the sap. A little Amanda Palmer, a little cover, a lot of beautiful.

Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all.

~Kris

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