THE BE-SIDES: A NEW FOUND RESPECT FOR COUPLES
For most of my nearly 30 years on the planet, I have been singing the praises of the single life. Its not that I don't understand the human condition of wanting to be loved, and its not that I inherently think relationships are bad, its just that I come from a broken home and was raised in the Spice Girls era of girl power, so the need for a partner never really occurred to me. I often tell the tale of listening to Boys II Men’s meaningful slow jam ‘End of the Road’ as a girl and my mother insisting that no one ever “belongs” to me and I am never to “belong” to anyone else. Mom clearly wasn’t feeling Wanye’s Cooleyhighharmony. I, in turn, have always viewed the desire or requirement of a companion as a weakness.
I considered my autonomy one of my more favorable attributes, indicating strength and self-reliance. I thought I was taking the more arduous and stoic route. Man, was I wrong.
I still had the distended belly of a baby hanging on when my parents announced they were splitting up and only recently have I realized how much that skews one’s outlook on relationships. Now, as I dip my toes into the baby pool of couple hood I am changed. Turns out, being in a couple is hard work. Like most clichés, its true. I have come to believe that maybe coupledom it is not sign of being weak or needy, but in fact a challenge accepted and a sacrifice made for what John Lennon claimed was all we needed: Love.
Often times I pontificate about learning lessons, as I grow older. When I was 13 I thought I had it all figured out and as I bid adieu to my 20s, I realize I still have so much to learn. Much of what I have to learn is about relationships. Not parental or friendly, as I have years of experience with those. I mean the pairing off of two individuals with romantic intention. I get friends and I get sex, but the coupling of the two in a committed partnership is just foreign. Part of me is still baffled that one individual can opt to make concessions in their own life for someone else. Even more baffling is the decision to do this till death do you part. I recently saw a photo of my grandparents holding hands, after more than 60 years of marriage, and I thought, wow. Wow that they still even want to be in one another’s presence after all that time, and wow at the amount of effort that must have gone into maintaining a relationship for all those years. I still cannot even sign a two-year lease, just in case I change my mind.
With pairing off of on the rise, I had remained steadfast about the sermon of singledom. But it seems all of us fall prey to the pitfalls of human existence, and for me, that was love. Now here is the conundrum. Love is easy. Caring about someone more than yourself comes naturally, however, the creation and maintenance of a relationship is anything but.
With my Mexican work ethic I have long prided myself on the ability to maintain a hectic schedule and heavy workflow. That being said, I have never worked like this before. These hours are different and the HR department seems to constantly be misplacing my paperwork. Strangely enough it also seems to be a job worth having and worth working for. Although I will forever my single sensibilities I must admit, I have a new found respect for couples.
B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.
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