Communication Exchange

I recently received an e-mail from a stranger challenging my thoughts regarding a specific person from history and how that person might align politically today. I didn’t think long or hard about my reply, I simply suggested they read the entire essay before attempting to correct my perspective. Thinking the correspondence was at that point completed I put it from my head. I will admit my response was a bit snarky, impolite even; I have only my own weariness to fall back on. The fact is that particular essay had been written in 2009 and remains a point of contentious debate even today, over the years many have come challenged the premise some politely and some not so much, one person even threatened violence, many have suggested there was a warm place awaiting me  sometime in the future.

That wasn’t the end though. The next e-mail came within a day. It was politely written, though it chastised me for my snark, even the rebuke was done in gentle language. In reading this letter I thought to myself, in all the two-hundred plus comments not once has anyone actually asked me what was I really thinking when I put together this essay, why did I choose what I chose; perhaps this deserves an answer. Maybe it deserves more than, “Because I can, dammit”.

So I sat down to think about this essay, which my new e-mail friend had read twice now according to him. I went back to read it again as well, to make certain I hadn’t missed my own mark in the writing. Then I responded (without snark) with the explanation of my thoughts, the premise and the layers and gradations of the essay. Yes, I also apologized for my previous snippiness. Ultimately, I defended the premise of the essay but agreed I took literary license by assigning a current political stance to a historical figure based on past actions and teachings.

Communication isn’t really communication unless what I say and what you hear (read) are one and the same thing. This particular essay was nuanced; it was also a subject sure to offend some, if not many people. To some degree I knew this when I wrote it, certainly I knew it when I named it and as I tracked the comments I became increasing aware of just how big a nerve I had struck. The problem was the nuances were lost on those who took the greatest offence, but also lost on those who agreed. I learned some important things;

* People will defend positions and icons even when these haven’t been attacked.

* People are often incapable or unwilling to read or hear below the surface and thus miss the tones.

* Always wait for morning to respond to e-mail.

I write other places on other subjects, sometimes more controversial subjects in fact. I have always thought to keep it lighter here so I have a place of solace and restfulness. I like it this way, though my links are here and you are welcome to read my more political thoughts, I don’t plan on bringing them here at this time. I have continued my correspondence with my new friend, he is kind and interesting in his challenges to my thinking. I suspect we disagree on nearly everything based on his stated political leanings. I find our discussions refreshing as they are about the finer points rather than personal attacks you find so often these days when two sides debate the issues.

Just my random thought on communication  and what I learned from a single e-mail exchange.

Pragmatic Romance

Romantic love….romance….passion….amore

Perchance it is all a matter of perspective, our worldview itself that causes us to land on specific definitions of what constitutes romance or romantic love. Certainly, how we enter into and sustain our relationships is in part determined by our own history with love and romance. What we observed as children framed some of our definitions of passion and romance as well.

We are constantly bombarded through media both large and small, fiction and pseudo non-fiction with representations of romantic love, or in some cases the demise of love. Grand gestures fill our grocery store checkout lines, our news coverage; we can’t avoid the latest exploits of whatever celebrity misfits have cheated on one soul mate with their new soul mate, are pregnant with someone not their mate, or have married for hours rather than years. It is impossible to avoid the bling of big love.

This week got me thinking about the notion of romance and romantic love, the reality versus great expectations. What it really means to me, as a wife and a woman versus what society and even my husband might think it should mean. I wondered, have our ideas of romance really changed or is it my own expectations of what I want or need that are discordant with the rest of society.

Is romance really just about grand gestures?

The Free Dictionary says about romance:

1.a. A love affair.b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love:c. A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something: .2. A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful

v.  ro·mancedro·manc·ingro·manc·es

v.intr.

1. To invent, write, or tell romances.

2. To think or behave in a romantic manner.

v.tr. Informal

1. To make love to; court or woo.

2. To have a love affair with.

Wikipedia Image

Some of my friends couldn’t define romance beyond hearts, flowers, champagne and candle light. I liken this to the Tango, wonderful to watch fascinating in fact but hard to dance every day for all of us ordinary folk entangled with life in Mundania. I accept this is a type of romance and real. This week I found it in a wonderful vision written by fellow blogger Raven. I call it a vision because her words are redolent and they allowed me to be swept away for a moment in time, to live vicariously through her.

I slowly brought myself back to Mundania, this is where I live most of the time. I will tell you now; I suspect I am not much of a romantic in the true sense of the word. My poor husband is far more a romantic than I am, in fact he more than once told me I ruined Valentine’s Day forever. My versions of romance is often twisted and rarely in alignment with social norms, or so I have been told.

Anyone can follow the social norm of candy and flowers once a year. If the best you can do is to remember once a year that you love me and that is romance, I am so not there. The question I would have to ask you, in all seriousness is this, “what if I remembered that I found you sexy enough for a between the sheets romp only once a year, would you stay?” Romantic love is simply, to me at least, the pleasure we take in the company of our partner, not once time per year but all the time.

For me, romance is knowing my partner listened to me, heard me with both ears and so knows intuitively what I need from him. That makes my heart beat faster, that is the very height of romantic love in my little world. The very thought that my partner considers my needs and places them before his wants; that is what does it for me that is what revs my engine. Even if my partner sometimes thinks my pragmatic views of what ‘turns me on” are the height of unromantic, he just needs to go with the flow don’t question it, don’t challenge it just accept that this is what jumps my starter motor.

Always remember intimacy is directly tied into how good I feel about my environment and you being in it. If both partners remember that small detail, now we have romance and we are dancing a synchronized Tango. If we can both remember, we are different in our ideas of romantic love, mine is tied to made beds and clean kitchens and this is what gets the romance bank to full. It isn’t that I want my partner to do all the housework, it is that I want my partner to share responsibilities for getting things done, recognize our shared contributions to maintaining a home is part of what matters to me and proves to me that I matter to him.

My partner doesn’t have to love what I love; he only has to love me enough to care about the things I care about. That is what romantic love is to me, that is what keeps the fires burning.

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