But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go- we’ll eat you up- we love you so!” And Max said, “No!”
In thinking of what to write about this week my thoughts went down two separate tracks. The first was on the topic of rules and conventions. The second was on love and human connection. Instead of two separate emails I’m pulling them together.
‘Unconventional’ is a term I strongly relate to. I’ve always liked to do things my own way and have railed at the idea of having to live according to ‘society’ conventions. I’ve also railed against people who tell other people how they should do things while also being drawn to these confident, opinionated people with a sense of wonder and awe.
Rules are an antidote to chaos, which is very appealing, but too much order and predictability is boring and stagnant. Rules are like a taming of nature, and I’ve tended to resent any sort of taming or manipulation that attempts to pin me down and control me. I love wildness, freedom, spirit.
When I look back on my life I can see my determination to not follow conventions has given me some freedom to live life my own way. The social conventions of marriage and a nuclear family did not appeal to me. And a relationship with someone 32 years older than me felt perfectly acceptable. Not fitting in to the norms of society afforded freedom and a release from unwanted expectations.
My relationship with Ian had nothing to do with fitting into society and everything to do with inspiration, expansion, human connection and mutual admiration and respect.
Love and human connection was the other topic I wanted to write about, particularly after spending a week with my sister and sister-in-law whose relationship is so inspiring to me. The joy of spending time with them is bittersweet because I feel such joyful connection being with them and at the same time keenly feel the pain of my singleness.
On this latest trip we watched a series on Netflix called Love on the Spectrum. It follows the journey of some people, all on the autistic spectrum, as they start dating in the quest to find love. The show is touching and heartwarming and I felt admiration, love and respect for the bravery and vulnerability of each person.
Dating with strangers is something I’ve never really done. I find even the idea of it petrifying and have found many excuses for not doing it. My biggest excuse has been that ‘I’m fine on my own’ – which I am, and that ‘I’m not desperate’ – which I’m not. But watching these brave souls admit to wanting a partner and taking action to make it happen has really inspired me. I’ve tended to feel a lot of shame at even the thought that I might not be totally happy alone. I grew up seeing the desire for connection as a sign of weakness. And yet when I think back, I know that the years I spent with Ian were some of the happiest in my life. And my connection with Joey is so precious. Deep human connection is really important to me. And me being alone is something I’ve learned to endure and be okay with, but ultimately it cuts me off from life. And while I’m a master at enduring life (as was Ian), I’m finally practicing enjoying it too.
As we set some end of holiday parting goals for the final three months of this year, I rather vulnerably declared that I would go on at least three dates by the end of this year. If those vulnerable and challenged people in the show can do it .. then surely I can too. And ultimately, though I’ve spent a lot of my life avoiding people, I also love them.
And maybe I’ll find some unconventional way of dating and finding mutual love. I’ll let you know in three months time.