Sunday, February 26, 2012

When I Think of War Brides

I know, I know. It sucks. Totally. Having your boyfriend live across the country bites. It’s lame. It’s all the shitty adjectives you can think of. Sad, lonely, taxing, exhausting.
            But. There are some not so shitty things, too. Things that he and I’ve acknowledged are maybe not blessings, but are certainly part of our relationship because we live so far apart.

            And we use those things. Use them to carry us to the next visit. Use them to reconcile the pain at our separation, and our love and yearning to stay together.
We talk so much more. If we lived in the same house, we’d spend a lot of time snuggling on the couch – which is AWESOME – but we wouldn’t maybe be getting to know each other as much. Now we talk about his past, my past, religion, traditions, culture, language, sexuality, friendship, love, spirituality, healthy lifestyle issues, parenting, finances, music, movies, photography, artistry, and travel.

Strangely enough, our sexual connection is actually stronger. How? Well, I already mentioned the talking. And talking about sex is pretty sexy. 

There’s room for more personal growth. At least for me. He’s lived on his own for a decade. But this year marks my first year ever of living by myself. I’m at an age where, if I don’t fully understand my own needs and wants now, I might not have another chance to be in the type of relationship I want.
What I mean is, there has been a pattern to a lot of my relationships – not all of them – where I stay in them much longer than is healthy for me. I settle. Well …  he’s not hurting me. He’s nice. I’m in a comfortable place here. And frankly, at 37 (Ok, 38 next month) I don’t want to get involved anymore in long term relationships where there isn’t love and passion and purpose embedded in our souls. “He’s nice” doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Living apart enables me to have the space and time to explore my inner-self and discover who I am, what I need, how to feed myself. What are my passions? How can I be in a romantic relationship and keep myself intact and not lose myself?
Also, in my unique case, I have another thing to wonder about. I affectionately refer to myself as an Indophile. I love all things Indian. The food, the music, the language, the colors. (The movies, too, but don’t tell anyone.) Because this is a natural passion for me – some may say obsession – I include this idiosyncrasy in the make-up of who I am. But, it just so happens that my boyfriend is Indian, too. And while I drooled over Bollywood and bhangra music before I met him, being in love with him has definitely fed my, ok, ok, obsession. So … am I losing myself into his world? Or am I reveling in my own interests and passions? Food for thought.
And another piece for my personal growth is discovering those things that move me. I already know that art, photography, writing, and dancing do those for me. But setting boundaries for myself and making space for those things in my life is another thing altogether. 

We encourage each other to do more. I don’t know if this would actually happen less often if we were living in the same place. But it does make sense that in living together we would eventually trickle into some complacency. Who doesn’t? Routine is a beautiful thing, after all. I imagine cooking together, and folding laundry while we watch a foreign film on Netflix – running errands together. And I even crave that complacency, I truly do. But, I think that because we don’t do those things together now, we encourage each other to do things that sometimes pull us out of our comfort zone.
For instance, he encourages me to apply for online writing jobs, and advertise for my editing services. Things I would never have the focus to do if he wasn’t checking in with me every day to see if I’d done them yet. And I ask him if he’s done his kriya for the day, if he’s written in his blog recently, and what kind of exercise he’s done that week. If we were living together, we’d know none of that stuff was done, we wouldn’t ask about it, and we wouldn’t do it.
There’s more I could add, like we’re working hard on battling this distance and staying strong for each other (and for ourselves), and that creates a resilient energetic bond that we wouldn’t have if we weren’t experiencing this situation now.
And you know how they say that you don’t really know a person until you live with them? Well, I believe that’s true, yes, but I also think there’s something to be said for seeing each other in and under these extreme circumstances.
We’re apart for so long, and our time together is so short, and we have urges and yearnings and disappointments and needs and tantrums. I think we definitely see a part of each other that we wouldn’t if we lived together. And it’s important to see this part. I want to know what my man is going to do under fire. Because, unfortunately – I’m sorry to say – I will at some point (and already have a couple of times) put my baby under fire. And he will reciprocate, I’m sure. Not out of retaliation, of course, but just in the course of our time together. We call each other on our shit. It’s bound to happen.

These are all things I get to experience in this long-distance relationship.
These are things I can be thankful for.
I still would rather have him with me.
And when things get particularly bad, I watch Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story where Anne travels to Europe looking for her MIA husband in WWI. She finds him. Like two years later.
Yeah. When I think about war brides … I know I can wait the year it will take for my man to get to me. I remember that I can text him anytime I want during the day, and he’ll answer. I remember I can Skype with him every day and see his face, hear his voice. And I can visit him whenever money and time allow. War brides couldn’t. But I can.
Yeah. When I think about war brides … I know I can wait the year it will take for my man to get to me.

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