There are times when the jokester takes a backseat and some deep shit comes flying out my mouth. It's a rare occurrence I will admit. But the few times it does happen, you better believe that people stop and listen, more often than not, in complete disbelief.
A couple of weeks ago, one of these rare occurrences happened. And what you are about to read is something that I think many people should stop and think about from time to time in their life. A close friend of mine has been going through some personal battles in his life and he found himself in a mood that he needed some... reassurance, so to speak. I mean, it's fair, we all need something like that from time to time. So why not? However, the inquiry always stands 'Who do I turn to?' Usually, the response comes easy, but those wind up the ones that only tell you what you want to hear. It becomes a matter of now broadening out. And then, I enter stage right... the twist in the plot. How could anything I say be taken seriously, right?
His question was a two part. The first question was "How do you define a relationship?" Boom. Plain and simple. How much more loaded can a question be than with those 6 words, right? (Stay tuned.) Granted, I'm probably the last person anyone would want to ask a serious question to, let alone something like this. But given the circumstances, I knew exactly the sort of ordeal he was going through and I felt no need to be the clown I always am. That's not to say I didn't sneak in a joke here or there. ;-)
Before I go onto what my response was, it's best I point out how many may define it. And this is no opinion other than of my own from what I've witnessed and the stories I've heard. I remember a while ago, I was friends with an older woman who told me she never really knew what being in a healthy relationship was because of the childhood she had: her mother would rotate men like a person would change clothes, eventually she wound up marrying someone who was verbally and physically abusive to her mother as well as her. Being the old soul and somewhat romantic that I am and was, this was heavy shit for me to hear at a young age, to know that this type of things went on. Even at that time (I'm gonna estimate and say she was approximately late 30s/early 40s, I was in my late teens, possibly almost 20), she had someone in her life that was nothing but good to her who she had been with for a few years, and even then, she still had a wall up. No one should ever have to live like that.
And then, last week, while surfing one of my many daily-pictorial websites, I came across this photo-documentary by Sara Naomi Lewkowicz titled Shane & Maggie. The cover photo alone was so captivating, I had to cut off all distractions around me and take the time to go through each picture and study it and read the caption. I highly recommend, whether you want to stop reading this now, or if you want to do so after you've reached the end of this page, that you check out the story. Maybe it's the hero in me that is always looking to be the world's savior that felt the anger, and rage, and depression, and sorrow, and guilt, and all those feelings, as I went through each single picture. Seeing that little girl crying her eyes out and then having to be the grown-up and console her mother. It's fucked up. Plain and simple, it's fucked up.
And then you turn on shit like Maury, and Steve Famous-For-No-Reason-Other-Than-Being-Tough-And-Bald Wilkos, and you see these degenerates who do nothing but cheat, and fuck, and lie, and all this patheticness just to make themselves feel good... and then wonder why women put down men. Fuck you; sign up for regular conjugal visits at your local male prison and stop fucking it up for the rest of us who mean well you disgusting waste of space.
No... these things don't define a relationship. A relationship means so much more in so many different ways to so many different people. So what was my answer about how I define a relationship? Easy: No work. That's it. Just no work. Now before you start attacking me, "Oh, all relationships require work, blah blah blah..." This is true, they do. But it shouldn't be hard. I thought about my past relationships. About how they went wrong. About what went wrong. About how they progressed. And then I thought about the woman I'm married to now. And how not once did it ever cross my mind to wander off. And the difference? This just came easy. Sure, we had our troubles in the beginning. Just some baggage that needed to be lost at the terminal. But it didn't matter. And sure, we have our bumps and swerves on the road here and there. But they get fixed. And it's just easy. A relationship shouldn't have to be another job you go to after you leave your other job. It shouldn't have to be a chore. For me, when I'm with her, everything else just... doesn't matter. I find I forget so much of my issues after just seeing those eyes looking at me because I know everything's gonna be fucking awesome. I have enough shit to deal with out in the world... at home, it's safe. It's easy. It's no work required. That's how I define a relationship.
At this point, I had blown the minds off the two people I was chatting with. I mean come on, Manny Blu is laying down some pretty heavy duty testimony. Who is this guy?! Right? ;-)
Pleased with what I had to say, and feeling a little better, he threw his follow up question at me: "How do I define love?" *sigh* Come on, man... it's eleven o'clock at night... why are you putting this weight on me? LoL
At the moment, I saw no difference between how I defined a relationship versus how I defined love. They seemed be one and the same. And then he brought up how there's different types of love. There's love for your significant other. There's love for your family. There's love for your friends. Well, at that point, it became all clear to me. Other than my wife, I hate everyone anyway, so no wonder they were one and the same. ;-)
Ah, there's the Manny we all know! But I will admit, at the time, I didn't have an answer for him. I really had to think about this and I did not want to just leave it hanging. So the question brewed in my head a few days. Although true that I hate-- hmm... strong word... yeah, we'll go with it... although true that I hate the majority of people, there are a few that I keep near and dear to my hear. The ones I... dare I say it... love. And I started thinking about Anissa... and I started thinking about my mother (as annoying as she is)... and my sister (as equally annoying as her mother)... and I started thinking about my best friend... and I started thinking about my other close friends (regardless how far out of state they are)... and I started thinking about Cheetara (my car... although, she's a close second to Anissa, she does come before family and friends lol) and what did they all have in common. What was it about this short list of people that made them stand out from the rest?
And then I realized exactly what it was: I would do anything for them. Anything. Despite the consequences. Despite the request. Despite the outcome. Despite everything... I define love by exactly how much I'm willing to do for a person. And how far I'm willing to go for them. And how much I'm willing to risk. And for those people, the sky is the limit.
And yet again, after presenting him with my answer, albeit a few days later, I left him speechless that such a profound response came from me.
It's true, these aren't the easiest questions to answer. It's not like "Oh, what do feel like wearing today?" or "Hmm... should I ban large sodas or raise the fares across the city? Fuck it, do 'em both." (You're an asshole, Bloomberg... cannot stress this enough. I will always find a way to point this out until you leave office.) But when you're involved in it, then the answers aren't all that difficult after all. So now ask yourself... how do you define a relationship? And how do you define love?
And by all means, feel free to comment your response below, no matter how long or short.
But also, be sure to check out that pictorial documentary I linked above if you haven't already.