Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Building Sandcastles

As far back as I can remember, I've been a passionate kinda girl. 

It may not have seemed like it to some people. I understand that little me came off quite shy. In fact, I remember one of my aunts nicknaming me The Mouse. But, regardless of the exterior calm I seemed to exude, I had a complex, creative, elaborate and emotional inner world raging on at all times. Still do. I guess I figured everyone did. 

Didn't everybody pile on every skirt they could find in their grandmother's closet and go outside to sing after watching a Disney princess musical for the umpteenth time? Didn't everybody take a refrigerator box, cut a jagged hole in the side and suddenly believe wholeheartedly that they were in an actual pirate ship? Didn't everybody write ten minute musical treatise to all manner of undying love at five years old and then force their poor family to sit through aaaaall of them? Didn't everybody daydream incessantly, play out elaborate imaginary scenarios in live action when no one else was around?

Or was that just me....

My desire to escape was only fueled by a naturally restless, passionate spirit (inherited from my wandering mom, I think) and a mind filled to overwhelming with stories, dreams, ideas, a desperation to express what had been repressed. I was like a caged bird as a child. But that didn't change my innate being, which was bursting, the whole of which cultivated like a ticking time bomb of "FUCK THIS I NEED TO BE FREEEEE". The world was an adventure story with magic and epic love and great triumph waiting to be had, and I was missing out on all the feels! I had a lot to discover about myself. And even more to discover about love.

Ironically, though it began as a massive adventure, my first real relationship was a pretty passionless situation. It may have begun full of controversy, but, as it turned out, controversy was the fuel to our feelings. The relationship, itself, became something far less exciting, but far more important - a lesson in being nurtured, the experience of family and constancy of care I'd never known. And it was healing. But it was sedate. Too sedate. I wasn't in love. And ten years changes you. By the time I hit thirty and everything was fizzling to an end, I had to acknowledge that, comforting though it was, the whole thing had thoroughly lacked any real...you guessed it...passion. And I couldn't sustain that any longer. I'd held back long enough. 

Perspective. I needed more of it. More feels!

So off I went into the world of dating for the first time in ages and I was mightily convinced that only a passionate connection would do this time. I'd absolutely never go back and base a relationship on safe things again. I wanted to feel like I was on fire, fully me, my force a thing to be reckoned with. I wanted to feel a chemistry I'd never ventured before, because I had it in me and I was tired of wasting away. I wouldn't accept anything less. Quiet, solid, safe people just wouldn't do! Passion was the answer. Once I had it, I'd have everything. What more could I need? The other way didn't make me happy...clearly I was missing out. 

Funny. But there isn't a single seemingly ecstatic thing in this Universe that doesn't come with a real bitch of a down side. Turns out,  when unaccompanied by trust and stability, even the passioniest passion means little. Even the sparkiest spark can leave you in the dark. My attraction to the uncertainty, the chase, the emotional roller coaster of a one-hued focus was short lived once I realized that, without a healthy, soulful dose of groundedness, passion destroys. It sucks you dry of perspective and energy. It's only a temporary food for the ego but it does not last. Passion is fun. Hot even. But it's not the glue. I need more than that. We all do. And waiting for some kind of "The heavens just opened and angels spoke to me and you're undoubtedly The One because HORMONES!" barometer to gauge the merit in a partner is, quite possibly, a really great excuse to avoid truly letting someone in for good.  

I think what lasts is a wiser (some might even say jaded) version of both entities. Physical attraction is great, but only if accompanied by a solid heart, something steady and (God forbid reliable) and trustworthy to stand on. The alternative of uncertain passion leaves you miserable in your excitement. It's unsustainable. And if given the choice of one or the other, I would choose a calmer love now. 

This is a miraculous turn around, you know. Grasping the value of balance and knowing that passion isn't the most important thing, the be all end all, the foundation - that's something I would never have said just five short-long years ago. But I'm saying it today. My vision has changed again. It grows as I grow, per usual. And typically through pain. 

So what of it?

I guess I open my heart to a new kind of desire, give myself something more evolved to be passionate about. Something that encompasses the parts of me I'd rarely examined when I was younger - the "boring" ones. The adult ones. I recognize that the imbalanced repression of my childhood is not real stability any more than a burning desire equals happiness. All that glitters (and sparks and explodes) is not gold. All that is calm and true and dependable is not a cage.  

What's the old parable about building your house upon the sand? Apparently you shouldn't do it, even if the view is fantastic. It doesn't seem to matter how gloriously the waves crash upon your castle...if it has a wobbly foundation, you can bet your dreams will topple and fall. So maybe aim for a stone cliff, instead? Same view. Better night's sleep.


Feather Stone said...

Loved your post, Jen. I'll wager most women can relate to your story to some degree, if not totally. My search for passion has led me to find that elusive zest and magic dwells within myself. I think I had been thinking I lacked that adrenalin rush and wanted to find it in others. Over the years, I've discovered that most of my acquaintances were looking for the same thing - looking for others to fill that need when actually, we need to discover it within ourselves. Each of us is an embodiment of unlimited potentiality. We don't see/feel it because it requires the letting go of misconceptions of who/what we are; and, because it can be frightening to let go of what we believe is safe, step away from the crowd. I think you have discovered your journey to unlimited passion that is eternal, safe and reliable. How exciting.

Jen said...

Super insightful thoughts, Feather. That we seek in others what we miss about our own lives. I'll have to remember that! :) If there's anything I don't lack, it's passion. It does seem to come back to rediscovering things about our own selves through the reflective mirror of others. Thanks again, Feather!

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