Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Foundations

Last night I had a dream I think - hope - choose to believe - is worth remembering.

The first term paper I ever wrote, in 6th grade, was about a large 18th century building in the town where I grew up. Last night I dreamt that I was walking around the site of that building, and it had been excavated all the way down to the foundation - practically disassembled, in fact. And down below the building they had discovered and unearthed a series of brick barrel vaults that were holding up the whole building.

The challenge was to preserve the here-to-for unknown foundational structure of the building while rebuilding for the future. [There were other elements of the dream, but they are now muddled in that dream sort of way. Perhaps they'll become clearer and relevant...]

I chose to see this as metaphor for my relationship to my beloved. Last night as we were driving home from my sister-in-law's house, I realized that this whole venture is going to me much more challenging than I thought. I'm used to picking things up and being fairly good at them - doing "things" is not that much of a challenge for me.

But re-imagining my own state of mind, and learning how to "live" a submissive relationship, rather than fantasizing about one, is a challenge. Even in the face of practical and non-fantasy advice like that in Ms. Rika's book and at the She Makes The Rules web site.

Those of us who read blogs (like this one, and like the ones I read) may be doing ourselves a disservice. It's so easy to read about someone else's relationship and think, "That's what I want" or "My relationship would be perfect if it just included that thing that they did." But the only relationship I can live is the relationship with my beloved. That relationship can be informed by what I read, can be improved by what i read, and to the extent that I read examples of behavior that don't work out, I can view them as cautionary tales, and to the extent that I read examples of things I think could work, I may be spared some trial and error. But the interior emotional reality must be my reality, constructed jointly by me and my beloved, not the emotional realty of what I read and what I fantasize.

Which is why I suspect I will ask my beloved to read this blog - if the "inputs" are the same, there is more likelyhood that our realities will converge, and that will work well for both of us.

Walking around this morning, I realized how deeply this affects my daily and minute-by-minute existance.

Honestly, I don't know if I'm asking my beloved for this dyanmic to have that much importance in her life. There is no doubt in my mind that I would like it to. But I'm not going to ask her to change, nor to restructure her world any more than necessary (and for better or for worse, some restructuing is necessary, as I mentioned in my last post - I'm not the person she's spent the last 25 years living with).

But I realized how deeply - to the foundations - this change affects me when I was on my buisness trip last month. Looking out the window as we were landing, I realized that I didn't have the breathless sense of anticipation that I've come to expect over the last 35 years of traveling. Traveling for me has always had the implicit promise that in a new city, in a new country, on a new continent, I would magically find who I am, find a place to fit in. I can't tell you how many night's I've walked the streets of how many cities looking for that last puzzle piece to fit in my emotional make-up. And, of course, never found it.

Landing this time, I realized that I've found it. Or I've found a real way to work on it, doing this relationship work with my beloved. And my attitude towards my trip was completely different: I'd rather be home (and in fact, I postponed this trip once for that very reason). And as a result, I think I worked harder and was more productive on this trip than I've been in many years.

I shared this with my beloved and she's referred to it several times since. And also reminded me that many years ago, I told her that I liked walking the streets of cities I was working in, looking at all the people, wondering what their lives were like, wishing I could be them. And that I don't feel I need to do that anymore. I think that touched her.


Gilbert said...

Congratulations on finding out more about yourself.

I'm confused about this sentence.

"In that sense, blogs (like this one, and like the ones I read) do a disservice, since the only relationship I can live is the relationship with my beloved."

I read the remainder of the paragraph several times, and the meaning I get from your paragraph is that a relationship with another person has to be based on your reality and her reality.

I guess I'm confused as to why people writing other blogs are performing a "disservice". They're writing about fantasy or their reality, and as you say, you can be informed, improved, or even just titillated.

Jamie said...

Gilbert, thanks for reading. I reworked that paragraph a little - I hope it's a little clearer. Often I'm writing these things almost stream-of-consciousness to try to get the ideas out. I'm grateful when people take the time point out the unclear parts.