I have two close friends who are getting married this year (not to each other). I am overjoyed for both of them. My friend DG met his fiancée at a bar - while all of his friends (myself included) were there. I liked her right away - in fact, I met her before DG did! She is a bright beam of light and I'm very glad that she and DG met - they truly are soul mates and their smiles are infectious.
My other friend, M and her fiancée H are, in a word, an inspiration to love. There are souls that are just meant to go through hard times before they find each other and flourish together, and there is no better testament than M and H. Their relationship gives me hope through its honesty, mutual respect and love.
Sometimes people think I don't believe in love, marriage or commitment. On the contrary, I do believe in love. I believe that love is the single most powerful force out there. I also believe in marriage - and let me say for the record that I think ANY couple should have the right to get married, including same-sex couples. I also believe in commitment, although I have never really thought about what commitment means to me.
If you notice the address of this blog, it's listed as Andrea the Poet. In addition to this blog, I write (and perform) poetry. I have been writing for about 17 years, and I have always been the type of writer who writes when I'm moved to do so. Prior to starting this blog, I never committed to sitting down and writing every day, or even every few days. I've never really edited my poems; once they're written, that's it, they're done and ready for performance or simply sharing.
I've recently began gathering poems and editing them, having other people edit and offer suggestions and breathing new life into my writing. This is an extremely hard process for me as I am not used to it. I was talking about this with my friend M (the bride-to-be) and she said something really important: when I don't look over my writing, edit it and fine-tune it, then it's like I have a bunch of really nice first dates but nothing more. Wow. Talk about a moment of clarity in the parking lot of Macy's. It was then that I admitted something that I've been in denial about for a long time:
I have commitment issues.
Everyone I've said it to in the past few weeks has had the same reaction: "No, you don't say!" Sarcasm aside, I never thought of myself as someone with commitment issues. I mean, I want a partner and a good, solid relationship and I simply got into the habit of believing that either I was making horrible choices in men (which I sometimes was) or I just assumed the people I dated had commitment issues, and therefore I haven't met anyone that wants the same things I want. I just told myself that the guy was the problem, not me. I never realized that I don't put a lot of effort into working on myself, my dating goals and priorities. Instead, I pick men who don't have the qualities that I want, or I run.
I joke that all I want is a chance to get to know someone, figure out what's wrong with him and push him away. A joke, yes, but not far off from the truth. As I've said before, I have a tendency to go for the unavailable because when it doesn't work out, I can say "see? He just wasn't available to me." He's the problem, not me. Rather than focus on who's the problem, it's time to figure out where my commitment issues come from, what am I afraid of and what I'm afraid of risking by making myself available for a relationship.
While I like the idea of a relationship, the reality of it is a whole other story. Relationships take a lot of work, and I've never really known how to be healthy in a relationship. I've been in a few serious relationships, and they obviously didn't work out. I've been single for about three years now and I see people around me getting into relationships and it all seems so easy for them and I find myself wondering what's wrong with me? Why can't I find that? Then I look at M and H and I remember that sometimes, it isn't so easy to get to each other, and that's okay too.
The other day my friend V asked the question of the ages: are there no good men out there? The answer was so easy for me: sure there are, they're just sifting through all the crazy women to get to her, just like she's sifting through all the crazy men. Funny, I've spent a lot of time wondering the same thing and the answer was there all along, I'm just not always wiling to listen to myself.
I'm starting to edit my poetry, make it better, tighter and more concise. I'm taking it to the next level of clarity and understanding. I'm letting people get close to my poetry and trusting them with it, letting them make suggestions and edits and not having a panic attack when they start to get too close. My heart is next in line for the same treatment.
I don't see myself getting married anytime soon - hell, I haven't been on a second date in months, but I will say this - if I get the chance to officiate another wedding, I'll jump at it, because when that raw energy of love passes through me, it gives me hope and makes me believe.
Issues or no issues, I believe in love.
Next time: The Valentine's Day Special