Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forever? Whatever. (anniversary post)

When someone tells me that they want to be with me "forever", I never know how to react. My gut instinct is to laugh (which I can tell you never goes over well.) See, for a person to claim that something as transient as love will last an eternity is just so over-blown and ill-thought out that it's just plain ridiculous to me. It never seems earnest. It always seems juvenile. And it's a sure-fire way to make me very, very uneasy.

See, when I was about three I would storm around the house chanting, "I'm never getting married and I'm never having babies! I'm never getting married and I'm never having babies!" (This was in rotation with, "I love kittens! I love kittens!" and "I want juice! I want juice!") So when I got older and said, "Mom, Dad, I'm never getting married and I'm never having babies." they were not in the least surprised. Babies aside (that's a discussion for another day), it's just not in my genetic make up to yearn for a contract of love (verbal or written- "forevers" or marriage licenses.) As sure as I still love kittens, it's not.

My dislike of "forever" should not be mistaken for a dislike of commitment. I'm committed to veganism, to straight edge, to punk rock. I can go ahead and pledge a personal eternity on those. What I dislike about the idea of one person committing to another "forever" is the short-sightedness on the reality that people will inevitably move in different directions, AND that the moving is both natural and good. I'm also maddened by the widely held belief that just because something doesn't last "forever" doesn't mean it's not worth-while. It is!

Life doesn't last forever but it's worthwhile. Let's compare relationships to brunch. The ratio of the work you put in for brunch verses the time it takes you to eat it is severely lopsided. Not only that, but after all the work, and all the clean up, and the short moments of home-cooked bliss, you're left with nothing. There is nothing in your kitchen but a lack of certain ingredients. The dishes are clean, no sign of meals-gone-by. You digest and expel your brunch. But was it worthwhile? Did you not enjoy every mouthful fully? Will you not go on to dine again?

I'm just being reasonable here. So when I'm told by someone that they want to be with me "forever" (after double checking that I haven't wandered into a Disney movie), this is what I say:

"How about we stay together for as long as we're happy, and when we stop being happy, we call it quits?"

What more could you want? Happiness until happiness is gone, then the ability to continue moving the direction you're going? I see no honor or romanticism in making promises you more than likely will not be able to uphold. Swearing oaths that you will preserve your feelings (or at least pretend to) even if they change. I don't get the desire for self deception. I see no point in two people trying to fit together when the shape of their lives have changed. It's the ol' square peg in the round hole. It doesn't work. But people force it in the name of tradition, cultural expectations of what "love" is, fairy tales, and blahblahblah whatever. They crave it, think it's "right", think it's "normal", and I don't. I always make a point to tell dudes there ain't no forever with me (or anyone really, I just happen to be more aware of the nature of relationships.), and they tend to get get upset. Despite that, I practice full disclosure with anyone I date. Awwwkwwward.

I'm writing this because exactly 1 year ago today I started dating my best friend. His name is Dave. We play in a few bands together, we live together, we work together. Here is how I realized that I was falling in love with him, back when he was just my best friend/roommate/band mate:

We were in Europe on tour. On the particular day that I felt the pluckings of my heart strings we were in Bologna, Italy (where the panoramic photo that heads my blog was taken.) Dave and I walked around the city together talking about our ideal future lives. As I described mine (which at the time I thought about quite frequently- a small apartment in Europe with a balcony overlooking a cobblestoned street, living with little more than my record player, records, a radio, my books, and a desk), I felt a distinct sinking feeling in my middle- almost as if I had been hollowed out. Where did my organs go? Dave listened to me rattle on about my ideal life adding every now and then, "That sounds great!", which I knew it once had but at that moment sounded worse with each detail I gave.

I asked Dave about his future life and I literally have no idea what he said back. Because it was right then that I realized in our future lives, Dave and I would no longer be as close as we were right then in Bologna, Italy. I would have my apartment and my records, but he would have something else, somewhere else, without me. Would we even hang out?! Would we talk on the phone?! Would our friendship get relegated to annual accidental late-night AIM conversations?!?!?!

My future was a lonely place that I didn't want time to lead me to anymore. But if I didn't want to be in meticulously-dreamed up dream-life, then where did I want to be?

My middle was now full of squirming knotted snakes as my the question answered itself. I wanted to be in that day wandering Bologna. Or back in the tour van shivering in my sleeping bag. In Texas, in the desert, in Antarctica. Anywhere that Dave was. Without Dave, life was 2-dimensional. No amount of peaceful solitude, no antique desk, no apartment above a flower shop, no breezy European life would ever come close to even the worst times with him.

These first feelings I thought were merely those of a very close friendship. I had felt the same about my best friend Maura in the 3rd grade. But as time went on, it became apparent that there was something more to it.

So, here we are. It's been a year. I still don't believe in "forever", but I can't imagine a tomorrow without Dave there with me. I was joking the other day that we're like the pointer of a Ouija board, gravitating toward the same things, neither of us sure who's leading the way. I imagine that's how the future will be. Maybe it'll go on "forever", though I have no way to know. I can never promise feelings, I will never take emotional oaths that bind (some call it "marriage"), but what I can do is tell the truth, and this is it:

For the foreseeable future that I can't even dream an end to, I want to be with Dave.

Maybe I'm just arguing semantics.

Forever? Whatever. Maybe I'm a believer...

(in St Petersburg, Russia)

(In Moscow, Russia)

(on a bus to Barcelona)

(at Fluff Fest, Czech Republic)

(one of the best nights of my life- St Petersburg, Russia)

(Barcelona, Spain)

(Barcelona, Spain)

(LOLs during sets...)

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