Tag Archives: relationship

the marriage paradox

as Cheryl pointed out a few days ago in response to my post about love, being in relationship is paradoxical.

Special k encapsulated that very clearly tonight when he said:

You need to do what you need to do, and I need to do what I need to do, and we need to do it together.

Maybe marriage wouldn’t be nearly as attractive if it wasn’t such an impossible equation. There’s something about being human that thrills to the challenge of achieving something that looks impossible.

As Andy Griffiths told my class today, what kids love most is being somewhere familiar (say, the shower) then being put in an impossible situation (you’ve cemented the door so that you can fill the cubicle with water, then you can’t turn the tap off) then figuring out how to get out (climb into the roof, then fall naked on the very important dinner your parents are holding in the dining room next door).

Marriage and psycho bums: one and the same?

love is a crutch/love makes life bearable

to my thoughts about Love I add this:

Last weekend I cleared some things up with special k – one of the effects of which is, I’m not going to mother him anymore. I decided I quite like the idea of us both being grown-ups who can deal with the world when we can and ask for help when we can’t.

And I like still feeling like me – and still being curious about him, because I don’t assume I actually know him at all.

I think when you’re in a long-term relationship with someone the easiest thing in the world is to get lazy – to sag in towards them and the comfort they provide. You start pre-empting each other and you wear grooves into certain familiar conversations.

It’s comfortable and easy, but it leeches personal initiative like nobody’s business.

But then today, when I felt like I was dying of pain (women’s business, probably best not to ask), the only thing in the world that could make me feel better was speaking to special k. I had taken too many painkillers: nothing. I had tried hot water bottle, sleeping, curtains drawn: nothing.

There was not a single safe harbour for me in the world but him. As soon as I heard his voice I could relax, and after speaking to him for ten minutes I passed out.

There’s a strong case for being independent – for still being the responsible, causative, joyful thing that generates your life. I’ve also always been a bit afraid of what would happen if special k died before me, and I didn’t know how to be without him.

But there’s definitely some equation in our society that goes: dependence = bad. Like you shouldn’t grow leaning towards anyone else.

When it’s as obvious to me as it was today that special k is something to me that nothing else on earth can be, I will gladly break my heart every day without him, if that’s what it takes to have this.

communication: lesson 2

We did this hilarious exercise today.

I picked someone from my life who I don’t have free and open communication with (it’s probably not you). I listed all the ways I expect a conversation with them to be:


they will embarrass themselves

I will embarrass myself

it will always be like that.

The course leader suggested that this is how I listen to that person when we talk. To test the impact of this, the person sitting next to me pretended to be me, listening like that. I then pretended to be the person I was having trouble communicating with, being as generous with myself as I possibly could be.

Funny thing. No matter how much I gave, the conversation petered out in about a minute. Exactly how it always is.

Try that at home.


And about yesterday’s post – I apologise for the brevity and possible discomfort. Hey, that’s just what I was really feeling all of yesterday: how I am still a little beastie at heart, whose very first concern in life is surviving it.

That is a ridiculously hard instinct to give up.

a new machine is still a stranger

I am in mac-love. Again.

I remember this feeling – I remember the new computer smell in the same compartment of my brain where I remember the smell of my dead grandfather after he’d been treated with embalming fluid. You never forget it.

Six years ago I unpacked my brand-new iBook G4, and last night I did exactly the same with my Macbook Pro. Pulled the white box onto my lap. Marvelled at the packaging. Smelt my new machinery.

It’s hard to remember thinking the old iBook was a sleek and beautiful thing when these days it looks more like a Storm Trooper’s lap top than anything else. I’m trying to convince myself that one day my Macbook will seem just as clunky.

I’m failing.

But the weird thing is, despite all the joy and wonder of a new purchase, of fast internet and almost frictionless tracking, I feel rather ambiguous towards the new machine. We don’t know each other yet. The track pad of my old computer is sticky because I have used it for hours. And hours and hours. Every time I focussed my mind to the task of writing, reached into that part of my brain, sat, breathed, drank too much coffee, I did it in the company of my computer.

Now here’s this beautiful, impersonal new machine that probably finds me wanting.

People tend to see machines as depersonalising. In this case at least, that is not true at all. Just as with any human stranger, time is the only thing that will bring me and this machine into accord.