Monday, July 10, 2006

Needs

Larry raises an interesting point in his comment to the previous post, and it fits with things I realized about myself a long time ago. One of the things I realized was that I wasn't going to be Normal. I didn't know what I would be, I didn't know how I was going to do it, and I didn't particularly want to be Not Normal, but it seemed like I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Part of what that meant, for me, was that it seemed unlikely I was going to find a Partner. I'm a pain in the ass, along a number of dimensions, and, despite my willingness and ability to accommodate and get along and negotiate, I'm not the sort of woman that men particularly want to be with. Yes, there are all kinds of caveats to that--I have an exceptionally long list of male friends, along with several on that list who might have been More Than Friends if the geography had been arranged a little differently--and I'm not complaining, merely observing.

All that aside, I didn't seem to find someone when I was in my 20s--or my 30s, for that matter--and it seemed to me, during that time, that I had better learn to make friends, get along, and live happily by myself. If someone did come along, well, all the better, but living my life in expectation of that struck me as foolhardy at best. I also assumed I'd be supporting myself, which I don't think all women assume, and one of my biggest regrets about my current situation is that I decided to trust someone else to support me for a little while. That is, part of my current fear and panic is that I'm in a situation where I can't support myself right now--I don't make enough money, and, what with the money I'm owed in back pay, most of which I'll never get, the money I've loaned Dave, and the money with which I paid for our wedding, I don't have savings any more.

So, really, what I've done instead of expecting to find A person who knows me that well is to cultivate a lot of people who know me pretty damned well. They may not all know how I smell, but a fair number of them can finish at least some of my sentences, and some of them get my jokes (even though I of course miss the private jokes between me and Dave), and they all take care of me (and I them) in a variety of small, significant ways.

J and I were talking about "needing" people last week. I don't "need" any particular person, which is something that bugged Dave terribly and made him insecure when we were first together. We humans are social creatures, and we do, in fact, need to create and build and nurture all kinds of relationships with each other, so don't misunderstand me--I DO need people in my life, and there are friendships, like my friendship with J, that are transformative and transcendent and deep. We (or some of us) may even need to have the kind of partnership that Larry poses (or that my parents have maintained for 50+ years)--but then where does that leave someone like me? That is why I had to conceptualize a life where that kind of partnership might not happen--because otherwise I was relegating myself to unhappiness and incompleteness, and that struck me as not terribly healthy. In the end, I think that conceptualization has broadened and deepened the kinds of relationships I can have and have had and have now, and would even deepen a partnership, were one to come across my path.

But I do understand how it doesn't make much sense to my mom. It never has, really, and it frightens her, despite the education I've tried to do over the years. Still, she's my mother, and she's allowed to worry about me, even if it's in ways that make me crazy.

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