Archive for January, 2002


There is only one happiness in life – to love and be loved

Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 26. Saturday.

There is nothing quite so fulfilling in life as seeing a look of surprise and happiness on the face of the woman you love. Of course, it is one of the most difficult things to do since it takes a great deal of secrecy and by nature, men are not good at keeping secrets. That’s why they always get caught cheating and why in most cases their attempts at surprises mostly fall far from their target. I personally find it immensely difficult to keep anything secret since the greatest pleasure I get is from sharing that thing with whomever it concerns. So there I was, trying to keep the surprise a secret, feeling immensely guilty for hiding something even though it was a really nice surprise and driving myself insane with worry in case she either found out or hated it!

Leaving work early was an added bonus, but when I told her to pack an overnight bag she really started to beam. We went home, grabbed whatever stuff we could and headed out the door, without her knowing what was happening or where we were going. As the miles passed, the highway exits flew by each crossing off a potential destination as we went. The 407 turned into the QEW as we headed around the lake towards our celebration. As we drove through the almost deserted main strip of Niagara Falls, it all started to fall nicely into place. The hotel, The Marriot Fallsview, perches above the waterfall spray with spectacular views across both the Canadian and American falls. The room had a wonderful king Size bed (although now we have our own, this is no longer such a benefit), a two person (or more) Jacuzzi with a shower enclosure in the huge bathroom. The room looked directly over the Canadian Falls so we could see the beautiful floodlights at night as they changed colour every few minutes, really a breathtaking sight. The hotel had a games room, a pool with hot tub, an extremely expensive restaurant and was in walking distance to the Casino. We decided that we should probably get a bite to eat first and since it was still only Friday night, that we would check out the casino the next day. We had a nice ribs and chicken dinner at Tony Roma’s and retired to the room to enjoy the rest of our anniversary eve and to see just what the excitement was surrounding the two person Jacuzzi.

Just one word of recommendation. If you haven’t tried a two person Jacuzzi, do yourself and your loved one a favour and book a hotel room with one for your next weekend away… You won’t regret it.

The next morning, we woke to the rumble of the falls, a sound that is amazingly therapeutic in many ways, and decided that taking advantage of the Denny’s across the street was the only really appropriate thing to do. We ate, still amazed at how quiet the town was, and packed up to head to the Casino and then back home. Of course, the reason that the place was deserted was because everyone was in the Casino losing their money. I wont bore you with my theories about Casinos and their “tax on the stupid” but suffice to say that if you are going to go, expect to lose, it’s the only way you will enjoy yourself. We spent some time playing around, Nicole on the slots and me at the roulette table and after a while had satisfied our gambling urge and decided to head home.

As difficult as it was to keep the secret and manage to hide the tongue ring I had bought her in Switzerland for a gift (even though she had found the other gift I bought her) I am so happy that regardless of the amount of time and effort, that I was able to really surprise her with something out of the blue. There is something magical about taking the woman you love somewhere unexpected, removing her from the usual grind of her life and treating her like the princess that she is. I think that every once in a while it is important to remember why you fell for her in the beginning and to follow through on what some people think are childish ideals of treating her the way you always wanted to. It is not an old fashioned or effeminate notion to want to treat a woman with dignity and compassion, nor to want to make her feel like the only woman in the world, those ideas are what make a partnership successful. So rather than living life through the silver screen or in the folds of a Hallmark card and saying to yourself “That’s what I want” or “I wish he/she would do that for me” take the first step and start something magical for the two of you, you both will be happy that you did.

As for Nicole and I, well, we have passed two major milestones this year. We have survived a trip to Switzerland that had at times in the past seen the end to failing relationships and we have managed to put a notch in our belt that I am sure will be accompanied by many many more…

..and Nicole, even though this year has been filled with some wonderful times, some heartbreak and much laughter, the greatest thing about it all was that I got to share all those times with you.

Thank you… I love you…


The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched
– they must be felt with the heart

Helen Keller

January 25. Friday.

I could list the reasons, and in fact I will probably end up doing just that, but first I want to address a concern that I once had, that she also mentioned and that points to my output as a creative being. That question is simply how come I don’t write about her, or write poetry about her or any of the other things I have been known to do in the past. Well, the simple answer is something that sounds a little like an excuse but is in reality the reason for my limited output. Some people are not ideally matched to one another and this creates a lot of room for artistic license and provides an opportunity for a creative individual to fill that void with fantasy and attributes that are really not appropriate to that individual. Certain people make you feel like writing, they inspire you to create things and to pull back into a creative hazw from where, presumably, things look somewhat better. This is not the case with Nicole and I. For the first time I am filled with a desire not to write, but to live. The single reason that I have not put pen to paper until now about how Nicole makes me feel is simply because I would rather be with her physically and mentally than with myself and an overinflated image of her in my head. She doesn’t make me want to create something ethereal and fantastic, she makes me want to live in the present, to ground myself in the reality we have created together. Now I know these things don’t apply to all creative people, but for me, writing prose and poetry are a way of escaping something that is not quite the way I wish it was. Probably the greatest compliment I could give Nicole is not to write about her, preferring to immerse myself in her, instead of searching my mind and heart for a way to describe something for which I was still yearning.
Someone must understand what I mean here…?

That said, there are a myriad of things that I could write about if I could tear myself away from her for a second or two… I just haven’t been able to muster the strength so far…

Everyone has those little things they love about the person they are with including me. I hesitate to think what bizarre things I do that endear me to others if indeed I am looked upon fondly at all. But just for fun, to give another dimension to the tribute, here are some of the quirky things I have come to love so much and the kind of things that you don’t realize you would miss until they are gone.

Why? Because of the way…

She crinkles her eyes up when she smiles really big.
She does handstands in the living room while the windows are open
She has adorable puppy eyes when she is sad
Her eyes cry while she watches TV
She drools on me when we stay up late watching movies and she falls asleep
She kicks a single heel up like a dancer leaving the stage
I can always tell how she is feeling, even though she tries to hide it
She drives me crazy when she stops walking for no reason, especially in the cafeteria
She has this ‘cool face’ that she puts on while she is driving
Her tongue ring clicks against her teeth when she laughs
She bites her nails when she can, she smokes and won’t change for me (I secretly love that)
She loves to coach the kids at gym, even though they drive her insane
She can fall asleep anywhere and it takes a seizemic event to wake her up
She is as curious (read nosey) as I am and keeps me on my toes
She has this sneer that I absolutely hate, but that keeps me wanting to make her smile
She loves kids and dogs and cats as much as I do (that’s quite a feat)
She is the fire to my water and enjoys the conflict of our personalities
I feel when she is not around, knowing that she is coming back soon
It never occurs to me that my home was ever without her
She makes me feel like being myself, not for her, but rather for me
We fit together… like we were made for each other
I believe that nobody else could put up with either of us except us… That’s perfection!

I Remember…

Do not trust your memory;
it is a net full of holes;
the most beautiful prizes slip through it

The Heart’s Domain, Georges Duhamel

January 24. Thursday.

It is a commonly know fact that I have a terrible memory. It has got me into lots of trouble on more than one occasion and was the inspiration for a great deal of things I write here. The notion was that I would be able to look back on factual representations of my life rather than trying to recall fact from the depths of my apparently small and rather lazy brain. There are things however that I do remember, mostly bizarre little items that would not occur to the vast majority of people but that catch my eye and my attention and refuse to budge like a little old lady at a grocery checkout. Some of these items and events bring cascading memories with them and I will endeavour to recall a few of those times to show at the very least that this past year has held a great deal of significance for me and that the memories will remain with me always.

I remember…

That little plastic bracelet you had on the first day I met you.
You bringing me a black magic marker that first week and my believing that it was a sign.
Standing in the airport in Sydney Australia chatting with you over e-mail just dying for the 20 hour flight to be over so I could see you again.
Your new beige suit you were wearing when you came to the airport to pick me up.
Your old crappy car that had to be started twice and then left for 20 minutes to warm up before you could use it and how happy you were to get your new Grand Am GT.
Laughing about how your car would sit in the parking lot for days at a time while we came to work together and yet tried not to arrive in the department together.
The day we got busted by Bob turning up at work on Saturday together even though we weren’t supposed to tell anyone we were together.
The first time I met your Dad and talked about how interesting it was going to be in France for the wedding they were attending.
Thinking that the baby picture on your laptop was your baby, not just some kid off the Internet and being really sad that I wasn’t going to be able to go out with you.
How surprised and happy I was when you flashed up on my ICQ that first night, and how funny it was when you told me you fell off your chair (that still makes me laugh).
The pangs of jealousy and insecurity I felt when you told me that your ex-boyfriend was doing the drywall in your basement.
The little Tim Hortons sign you tore off the bag and wrote “Love…” on it. I knew it meant Love from Tim Hortons, but I wished that it had meant from you. (I still have it on my cubicle wall).
The first time that I realized that I could hear you thinking.
The first time that I realized that I was falling in love with you… Laying in bed just looking into your eyes and wondering how this was all possible out of the blue.
The time I saw that picture of you at Sauble Beach with your baggy pants and tank top and how completely taken I was with you.
The time you brought Robbin to the office to check me out and introduced her to everyone EXCEPT me!
The time you got your wisdom teeth out and were swollen and unable to open your mouth. You had that little teddybear with a Band-Aid over its mouth and looked so weak and in need of love.
Doing dancing lessons in Cuba and somehow managing to get me on stage to lipsync to the Backstreet Boys.
The first time you made me mad and my dawning realization that this relationship was worth more than my own petty ego getting bruised.
How big of a realization it was to me that no matter how hard we both tried, we just couldn’t be mad at one another.
How hurt I was that I was unable to do what I really wanted for your birthday and how I promised myself that I would make it up to you.
How weird I thought it was that every spare second that you had, you were playing some game or talking on your cell phone. I swear I thought you were addicted to it.
How happy I was that you agreed to come to Switzerland with me and how scared I was that it may be the beginning of the end.
Our first date, the Marché, the pool game from hell and the dorky suggestion that you should come and meet my cat.
How glad I was that you were there with me to support me and comfort me when we took Shadow to the vet for the last time. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank you enough for that.

In fact, I don’t think I will ever be able to thank you enough for the joy and love you have brought me this past year.

But you can bet your last dollar that I am going to try…

A Working Relationship

The better work men do
is always done under stress
and at great personal cost

William Carlos Williams

January 23. Wednesday.

Probably the single biggest challenge to our relationship was the fact that we work together. I say was since I am pretty sure we have the issue well in hand by now. We both work in the same department in the same building and have offices about 50ft from each other. This is great most of the time, but has presented us with more than our fair share of difficulties with personality transformations. This, I have to admit, is mostly my doing since I am extremely sensitive about people seeing us together at the office while we are working. It’s not that I want to keep the whole thing secret, but rather that if people see Nicole by my office, the assumption is that neither of us are working and we are basically goofing off while at the office. I know this is true because I would think the same way, that people who are involved with each other will spend less time working and more time talking and sharing cutesy little giggles. The fact that I hold a position of significant responsibility adds to my paranoia and results in my reacting to Nicole in somewhat of an offhand way on occasion. We have talked about this more than once and it remains a bone of contention between us but I think we are at the point that we both know the way things need to be while at work and we accommodate it accordingly. However, there are still times when I am painfully aware of people around us and the image that we have to maintain while in the office.

Does this mean that I am not happy that we work in the same office? Not at all, in fact I think it is a blessing that we are so close to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with only a couple of hours a week apart for coaching and working out… really… I am…

Seriously though, there are certain types of people who can live that way and others for whom that kind of exposure to another person is the definition of hell itself. I am always suspicious of people who claim that they couldn’t be with their significant other for more than a few hours at a time. It seems to me that if you are unable to share your time and your space with someone then you are probably either hiding something or planning on doing something that you don’t want to be discovered. Either way, I believe it is a cop-out and a sure sign that a person is just not ready for anything more than a high school date.

I wonder how things would change if we didn’t work together… I wonder if we would allow our insecurities to run wild and imagine horrible things happening while the other person was at work. Funny, since we met here and started dating right away that my assumption would not lead me to believe that the same thing would happen somewhere else. Even though that exact scenario is what ended a previous relationship that was well documented here online still my faith and belief in Nicole and the strength of our bond overrides any insecurity I may have. Let’s be honest though, it has to otherwise I would drive myself insane. I know that I probably come across as a very confident, self-assured and emotionally secure person, however I have an alarming capacity for imagination when it comes to romantic insecurity. The trick is just not to listen to myself and to place all my faith in the hands of my partner. That act however is what leads me to swift and violent emotional retribution against all who would betray that trust. The rules of engagement are really pretty simple at this level, I trust you, but if you betray that trust you are out. Period. That’s the way it works and I am happy to say that it has enabled me to enjoy the fullest spectrum of emotional reactions while maintaining a solid confidence that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Just as an aside, does this mean that I don’t forgive and forget? Well, I do forgive, but I never forget. I am not a vengeful person for the most part, and my nature is such that people believe me to be kind and even somewhat of a pushover…

That, I can assure you, is a mistake. A mistake that many people have made right before they exit stage left.

Now as usual, I have strayed far from my original point, however I think my train of thought has explained a little of what a blessing it is to have Nicole so close, and yet also has solidified my belief that if there were to come a time when we went our separate ways in our careers that it would present an opportunity for a strengthening of our emotional bond rather than a chance for us to drift away.

The key, in a word, is focus. If you can focus on anything to the exclusion of everything else then you can easily have a working relationship. However, if you are unable to separate the person you are and the person your partner is at the office from the person they are at home then you are going to have a problem. You live by your own set of rules at home, but at the office are bound by the decorum of the organization and must understand that it will dictate your behaviour and reactions far beyond what you think it might. Just make sure that you treat each other with respect and kindness and try your best to understand that work stress is like poison, if you allow it to infiltrate your relationship, it will slowly but surely kill whatever you have built. Take your partner with a grain of salt at the office and you can guarantee that your two worlds will never take opposition against one another.

Sensitivity's Curse

In love the paradox occurs
that two beings become one
and yet remain two

Erich Fromm

January 22. Tuesday.

Everybody wants the sensitive side. Women believe a man will be more understanding, a better partner, a better father and a better person because of it. Men believe it will help them be more appealing to their partner, it will help them to understand women and will keep them out of trouble. Women love it, men inherently hate it. Even men such as myself, whose purpose in life is to love and to cherish their significant other, who strive to understand the pillars of human psychology, who work hard at opening their hearts and minds to the feelings and motivations of others hate the cost of the sensitive soul. You see, the cost of sensitivity is the risk of hurt feelings. Hurt feelings provoke a reaction that has to be released in some way, and the paradox of the sensitive male is that he can’t lash out against the hurt because of his respect for the feelings of others. That in short is a prison from where there is no escape.

Let’s take me for an example (since that’s what we are here for) and let me explain what I mean. My commitment to Nicole and our relationship is absolute. By that I mean that a commitment I make is cast in stone, it’s the beneficial side to having a mildly obsessive compulsive personality. Quitting drinking was an instantaneous decision, as is my participation in my diet and exercise regimen. Relationships are the same black and white decision for me, either you are in or you are out… No room for maybes or might-do’s. So what do you think would be the worst kind of comment or joke to make to a person like me? Well, that’s pretty easy, just take a shot at my fidelity or my honesty and I will guarantee you that I will wince with the pain from my injured soul. Why would someone do that? Well, it happens every day, purposeful or not, something will attack that thing which I hold dearest to my heart, my commitment to the relationship.
Example: I have become somewhat distant from my female friends since Nicole and I stared going out. However, there are times during good natured banter that a comment will be made about my contact with ‘other women’. These comments, although designed as an attempt at humour, hurt my feelings. I know it probably sounds a little crazy, but my mention of this is as much to explain it to myself as it is to shed light on an issue that I am sure plagues a great deal of men out there. That issue is how to maintain friendships and relationships with people of the opposite sex without allowing it to infringe on your relationship and how to handle good natured ribbing about it without worrying that you are under suspicion. The two sides of this issue are easy to distinguish. The insensitivity of one partner acting in a fashion that may promote suspicion and the insecurity of the other partner in believing that there may be another motive other than friendship to the acts. I myself am guilty of subscribing to the notion that there is no such thing as women and men being “friends” however that does not preclude me from being able to behave in an appropriate manner with women I know or meet while in a relationship.

Oct. 9, 1998.
It is incredible that people will accept numbers and propositions with such ease when there is no reason or intent to follow up on this “sign” of interest.
Do women not understand that if you accept a number, you are in effect saying that you are open to the idea of an evening out? Do they think that it is harmless to allow the guy to think he has a chance at getting a call when in fact all he has is the chance to wonder what is wrong with him that the nice woman he spoke to refuses to call him? Here’s a thought, if you aren’t interested, or you aren’t going to call, DON’T TAKE THE NUMBER. Do you really think that you are going to hurt a guy’s feelings because you say “no thanks”? Please understand, in my estimation (and to be honest I am probably not typical) I would be far more impressed with you as a person if you were honest and said no rather than lie to my face. If you disrespect me, you disrespect yourself and you are completely degrading the value of your “relationship” if in fact that is the reason why you are not going to call. It’s funny that women get so mad when guys don’t have the guts to break things off face to face, or to end it before moving on, or even to end it themselves rather than look for a way to force the woman to make the choice. But if you are going to be mad, make sure you have your own mess sorted first. Don’t expect respect and fair treatment if you can’t handle dealing out the truth on a daily basis. So there you have it. This one individual waitress managed to show me that in this messed up world, there are people who have respect enough for others to be up front with the truth, but more importantly to act according to that truth. It is such a great sight to see people doing the “right thing”. Her boyfriend should be very proud.

November 5, 1999.
I am convinced more than ever that men and women are friends for one reason only and that is attraction. In simple terms, I am convinced that men target women with one thing in mind and that is sex. If a man is attracted sexually to a woman then, as long as he is smart enough to recognize the different shades of emotions, he presents to her the type of person with whom she will identify the most. This ensures that he places himself firmly on her good side, and preferably behind her wall of defense. Of course, many men are not bright enough to recognize some or all of these nuances and go through life setting up for battle in the traditional sense. Those who are smart develop what appears to be a ‘friendship’ with the woman to whom they are attracted and in this way manage to spend great amounts of time with her, do lots of fun stuff with her and at the meager price of denying their sexual urges. This, as it happens, is actually the best way to develop a relationship that will last, and that is not what is up for debate here, but rather the question of the possibility that a man can have a relationship with a woman without that baseline attraction. You see, take a look at any guy you know and then look at the women he is closest to and you will notice that mostly the compatibility between them is related directly to the man’s attraction to her on a sexual level. I would say that 90% of the time this is true and in my own life I have seen this to be true almost exclusively. Does this mean that the relationship is fake or that it is shallow? Absolutely not, in reality all I am saying is that men and women choose their contacts in different ways. As the discussion went on, she asked about how I thought women chose their friends and it was at that point that we came to a point of revelation. Women tend to choose their male friends based on the emotional reaction and degree of comfort they feel. Men tend to choose their female friends by the amount of sexual attraction they feel and the degree of responsiveness they can illicit. For the most part I have found that men respond to very basic urges and mostly don’t care to discover the myriad shades of colour that make up the human emotional spectrum. They respond to fear (fight or flight), hunger (the basic human need to survive) and sex (the need to procreate and affirm their masculinity). Women on the other hand spend the vast majority of their time responding to very different urges such as safety (the need to feel protected), creation (both the mental and physical aspects) and emotional stability. Without risking going too deep into technical psychology all this means is that men and women search for different things when they look for both a mate and a friend. None of this is news to any of you I am sure, but in essence what I am saying is that our conclusion was that indeed if a man and a woman are friends, the likelihood is that if you asked him honestly he would tell you that given the chance and the right circumstances that he would gladly have sex with her (although not necessarily a relationship). If you ask her the same question you are more likely to get a puzzled look, a lot of hums and hahs and probably a question as to why that is an issue.

The risk of quoting myself here is that I am exposing myself to a misunderstanding, however I am fairly sure that the basic message is clear. Men and women are attracted to one another in different ways, and as such, place different emphasis on certain aspects of their relationships. No matter what the basic psychology says, we count on our self-control, our honesty and our values/morals to keep us on the right path. The whole point of this entry was not to send a message to Nicole about how my feelings get hurt, but rather to explain that in order to survive any relationship, we have to be aware of our own sensitivity. It is a simple truth that there are two significant sides to this, with any friendship outside a relationship there is room for suspicion and doubt, however, once again, we return to trust as the cornerstone of any successful relationship.
I do remain, however, at the mercy of my hurt feelings. The good thing about all of this is that I have learned not to put so much stock in my sensitivity and to treat joking as joking without prejudice. The biggest obstacle to that lesson is our protection of those things we hold most dear. For me, honesty and fidelity are two very big issues. Those of you who have followed my progress over the years will know that having been burned several times, sometimes quite severely, I am painfully aware of some women’s inability to see what is the “right thing” to do. But more than that, I pride myself on my commitment and honesty, I am fiercely defensive of my actions and fully expect the same in return.
So what is the lesson of the day? What have I gleaned from this past year that will help me through this quirk of mine? Simply put, I have to learn that with people like Nicole and I who survive on laughter and the misfortunes of others (more on that later) that we must learn that often the easiest way to handle our most sensitive issues is with a little gentle humour. One of the funniest MadTV skits I can recall shows a psychologist whose cure for his female patient was to yell “STOP IT” at her when she confessed her neurotic behaviour. I feel like I need that little yelling voice in my head sometimes when I start to get a little sensitive about things. Bottom line is that I have learned and am learning not to assume that an off the cuff comment means I am being accused of a crime.



Perfect love is rare indeed – for to be a lover will require that
you continually have the subtlety of the very wise,
the flexibility of the child,
the sensitivity of the artist,
the understanding of the philosopher,
the acceptance of the saint,
the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain.

Leo Buscaglia, Unknown Context

January 21. Monday.

This week, everyday if possible, I will be exposing a little of the relationship Nicole and I have built leading up to our anniversary on Saturday. It’s not so much to expose us as a couple, but more what has helped us get this far, so that our experiences may help others who long for the security and depth of feeling of a long term relationship. They say the first year is the hardest, I am not sure I would agree with that, but I would say that the first year the learning curve is the steepest. I will try to keep it light, try to keep the overt flattery to a minimum, and try to shed a little light on things from my perspective after a year that has provided so much happiness and so much growth to me.
So what makes a successful year together? Isn’t it really all about how much you can learn about one another and how you use that knowledge to build a solid foundation for the future? Or is it just the ability to put up with each other long enough and being able to stretch your tolerances far enough not to kill the person you are supposed to love. Some people say that love is the closest thing to hate, and that we always hurt those who are closest to us, but I am afraid that going along with that kind of thinking is going to get us nowhere. To clarify, some people are unable to determine within their own mind the difference between love and hate, they cannot understand their reactions on a visceral level and rely on their basest of instincts to help them react to their circumstances. However, part of what makes us human is our ability to control our urges, to understand our appetites and to judge the appropriateness of those feelings. You can probably tell that my personal take on the success of a relationship is not necessarily down to the chemistry between the two people involved but rather that a large portion of what makes a good relationship is the ability of those people to control whatever destructive thoughts and feelings they may have and to interpret them in a constructive way.
It may strike some of you as strange that I would take this approach to a relationship but I have been through enough shining examples of what happens when you let your ego get in the way of your feelings to know that finding a loving and wonderful partner is only half the story. Of course, there are many people out there who will throw away relationship after relationship searching for something that they will never find simply because they refuse to accept responsibility for their portion of the partnership.

The single biggest problem facing people today is their inability to commit to themselves and THEN to others. There is too little understanding about the difference between being selfish and being protective of oneself.

Sure, we all hear the statistics that 60% of marriages end in divorce, but how many people know that of those who divorce, over 80% state that divorcing was a mistake, that they should have worked through the problems and stayed together. That is what I call relationship insensitivity. Inside the relationship, things can tend to look bleak, it is easy to look outside and imagine how much better things might be with someone else or with someone extra or with no one at all, but the problem is that the comfort level that individual is at that makes him or her respond to their situation that way is being provided by the very relationship from which they are fantasizing an escape. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all situations, I mean to say that there are many times in short term relationships that it is appropriate to cut ties and move along, but the issue here is that the longer the relationship lasts, the more comfort develops and for some people, the more restless they become.
So what is the solution to this dilemma? What is the approach that faithful, committed people are so successful at implementing that gives them the strength and determination to succeed with each other. I think it’s pretty simple really, it is just a decision. The truly happy people on this planet decided that once they made a commitment to another person, that they would do everything in their power to make that relationship succeed. The common parts to that commitment include kindness, consideration, monogamy, sharing, encouragement, compassion and understanding. The uncommon parts to that commitment which are where most people fail include self-awareness, self-control, development of an appropriate behaviour pattern and the desire to share themselves without compromise. Far too many couples fall into the trap of becoming what they imagine the other person wants. This is far too often based on our own skewed image of the world and what we imagine to be desirable. Sharing yourself without compromise means being able to allow your partner to see you in a certain way, without shame or secrecy and to accept them in that same fashion. People do change, over time subtle changes are normal, but the radical personality disorders that surface during a relationship tug-of-war are borderline psychotic at times. One of the greatest values of being alone for long periods is that you get a concrete sense of self that helps you to understand how exactly you fit into the world without the pressure of a partner’s expectations. From this intimate knowledge of self we can determine what our core commitments are and what our basic expectations are. This is what the successful couple will often refer back to when faced with issues inside their relationship. In order to successfully be with someone else, we need to be able to hang on to an anchor of self that will keep us grounded during the storms and swells of our romance. Unless we can identify with the person we are and the person we want to be, how can we expect someone else to be able to rely on us for our strength, commitment and support?

That’s the theory anyway….

So what is our secret so far? I think a great deal of understanding, tolerance and friendship has seen us through. Even though we don’t tend to have ‘arguments’ in the traditional sense, we still have our ways of dealing with issues that arise. Largely, the issues are related to our interpretations of the other person’s actions, certain behaviours that we have learned to accept and some actions that without a thorough understanding of the person and a great deal of trust would have doomed previous relationships in a second.

No slamming doors so far…

Twisting My Arm

I thank you for the two beatings that you gave me
cuz I know somewhere along the line, those two beatings saved me

I miss you, DMX with Faith Evans

January 16. Wednesday.

Well, I am still here trying to conjure up the mental resources to attack this thing once more. Rather than bore you with details of my days etc., I thought I would attack some of the more interesting issues coursing through my tired and overworked brain. This, as they say, should be funny.

First let me say a big hello to someone who I haven’t seen, nor heard from in approximately 15 years. I got an email from him a few days ago and haven’t had the time to respond (or rather the organization needed to respond) and for that I apologize. Tim was a very good friend of mine back at St. Peter’s School in York, I recall vividly the nights of racing around in his little escort with Brad or someone in the back, heading to some remote pub where the masters wouldn’t find us. I remember he had a big thing with a pretty young girl named Philippa (I wonder what happened to the two of them, they seemed so good together) and that we used to sit in his room in Rise and eat cold baked beans out of the can and talk about all kinds of things until an irresponsibly late hour. Funny, writing this has brought back a flood of memories from being in Rise with those guys, a prospect I was not too keen on, never having been in a boarding school before and worse, coming from a day house to become a border. Nevertheless, Tim and the rest of the guys made me feel welcome (the rugby connection helped) and when it came time to leave at the end of the second year there, I was actually thankful that my parents had left me there to pursue opportunities in Canada.
At that time, Canada was unknown to me, if you had asked me to place it without looking at a map I am afraid I would have had all kinds of trouble. As for Toronto (self-proclaimed Centre of the Universe) well, I would have had more chance of swimming here than even managing to get the Country right! That’s why it doesn’t surprise me when people are ignorant of where we are, although over the past 15 years, the planet has shrunk considerably and we are all more aware of our neighbours than we ever were.
Things were very different for me back then, I was still drinking (a lot I hear some cry) I was not so keen on the whole studying thing and was certainly not to any degree prepared for my ejection into the workforce or my hopes of going on to University. I had planned to take Mechanical Engineering at Leeds I think, a prospect which thankfully has me smiling now. I can’t imagine what things would have been like had I taken that route, I shudder to think of me living in York still, working at some technical Engineer job probably wishing I was elsewhere. It is sad to say that you don’t regret leaving your home town, but in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It is monumentally better to have left and made the choice not to return than never to have known the existence of the alternative.

The point to this whole thing really is not that I haven’t maintained any contacts over the years, nor that I am happy that I didn’t get stuck where I was, but rather the immense feeling of gratitude that I have to my parents for their insight and “tough love” in deciding to leave me and come to Canada, all the while supporting me both emotionally and financially, while I spent far too long trying to figure out who and what I was. There is a quote that I love, the paraphrasing of which is “Don’t waste time trying to find yourself, create yourself.”. I just wish that at the time I had realized the importance of being left alone to be responsible for your own actions and that in general I hadn’t been such an irresponsible and careless teenager. However, I firmly believe that if it weren’t for those years of “education” I wouldn’t be the person I am today, capable of passing those valuable life experiences on to others.

So there you have it, a greeting to an old friend and an admission that no matter what successes I enjoy in this life, I do indeed owe it all to my parents. Thanks you guys, I love you.