Relationships are not about the Calla lilies, the daily text check-ins, the dinners, the Moonpig cards, the walking on the outer side of the pavements, daydreaming, nor schmoozing the mother.
It’s all delightful in principle, but these are niceties that could be reiterated to the next girl, and the next, and the next.
I’m talking about being known. Starting sentences that get finished by him. The details of what irks the heart to zones that have sentiment. Details that may not mean much to others, but to you it’s utterly priceless.
For example, I’ve not written a diary since my American auntie read mine when I was 15 and it caused a lot of unnecessary anger in my father. On my 33rd birthday as I got ready for my flight to another part of my missionary trip in the Philippines, my ‘bro’ LK had given me a Moleskine book (my favourite notebooks) with a custom made leather bound cover, engraved with my name on it. Inside LK wrote ‘now write it all down’. Brutally simple and sincerely impactful, whilst challenging me to face a fear.
The mixture of listening to the detail in conversation, the acknowledgement of what is precious to them instead of what is precious to ourselves, asking intimate questions, the respect for our journey rather than it being over looked has become part of the ‘being known’ process.
Even in brave communication, when I’ve flung thoughts that could make another man get defensive, my girls and my boys just feel loved and understood. ‘In my mess, you see it, you love me in my mess so therefore I’ll let you introduce me to where I can grow more’
I’ll spit it out shall I?
Love can’t exist without our desires, our triggers, our hearts and our minds being embraced for all its unique bizarreness. And that’s all in the detail. You wanna know why I don’t want to have an immediate relationship with a man I’ve just connected with? It’s because he doesn’t know me. If he’s mentioning marriage in the first two months, it means he’s trying to fix something he’s not healed himself. If you girls are picturing wedding dresses after date 4, question what’s the rush and ask if you have even looked in to what makes him tick?
Let’s see where he’s at in a few months time and if he ever took the time to learn you, or if he bailed out because you didn’t love him with all of your pancreas never mind your heart – when all you wanted was to take things slow?
But let’s get personal. I’ve been back in the UK for two months and I miss California for many reasons. As I returned there was one guy in particular that I began to think about when he wasn’t around. LK to be exact.
7 months of friendship, 3 D.T.Rs, 2 birthdays, 3 road trips, 2 months apart, 1 postcard warning me of a ‘visitor’ to London and a video of LK singing on guitar whilst hinting at impossible clues to his arrival. I end up in Skegness at a festival doing youth work, still none the wiser as to whether LK was travelling the world or if it was just one of the regular pranks.
I’ve just showered in the caravan.
‘Carrie can you show me what is your food in the fridge?’ A crew of my girls seem to be terribly excited about me showing them which houmous is mine. Make-up less, sleep deprived and towel dried hair I walk down the corridor…
‘Right well, it’s anything from Waitros...
Leaning against the front door, with his hands in his pockets, and a cheeky little grin, was LK. From Redding to San Francisco, to London Heathrow to Piccadilly, to Grantham, to Skegness he travelled – to see little ol’ me.
As ever in these situations which have never happened to me before, I am suave and sophisticated: screaming and running, I curled into a ball accusing people of slipping hallucinogens into my Chamomile tea.
1 beach walk, 1 interrogation from a Mrs Dawn O’Porter, the besties and their husbands. He tells me he has a surprise for me. No not that kind of surprise, although a surprise it would have been – for a 33 year old virgin.
He produces from behind his back a Dum Dum, a cherry flavoured lollipop. This blog is just bursting with irony isn’t it?
I recognized it. But couldn’t place how, or where I’d seen it before.
‘Didn’t I give this to you? Months ago?’
‘You gave it to me when we had our first ‘non-covenant’ coffee and you thanked me for my exquisite company. It was a nice sentiment, so I kept it’.
‘You’ve kept this piece of crap for all this time?’ I get teary.
‘So I wondered if you wanted to make a non-covenant coffee into something more committed?’
After 7 months of friendship, of watching him handle conflict, on watching him with his family, his friends, his unoffendability, his interaction with my friends, his ‘your lines stick in my head’ wisdom… his attention to detail, his ability to give myself and himself freedom, his respect for my dreams and my desires and his self-sacrifice to travel the world when he could have just Skyped, being known can not be seen – just felt.
If we’re searching for what love looks like, it’s in the details of being known, not the romantical sentiments that could be for anyone. It’s in the desire for introducing them to themselves, not introducing you to yourself.