Dream, but embrace the mundane. This is not Hollywood after all.
My kids will sometimes comment on how unexciting their lives are compared to their favorite youtubers! “They are so lucky!” they say. “Their lives are so exciting. They get to have fun all the time and do awesome things like have a foam pit in their living room and a pool in their basement and an amusement park in their backyard! Our lives are so boring.”
What can I say?
In that moment, all I can say is “You are right kids. They do cool things on those video blogs. They seem to have unreal lives made up of nothing but fun and entertainment.”
As I try to come up with some smart and wise parental advice I’m reminded of the words from a song I used to like (5 minutes of not much except a few key words that have stuck with me). Maybe you’ll recognize them:
This is not Hollywood, like I understood
Is not Hollywood, like, like, like
Run away, run away ….
(The Cranberries – Hollywood from the album To The Faithful Departed)
Once I’m done singing they look at me with a puzzled look on their face.
Precisely, kids. Precisely.
Ok, I never sang the song. But it did come to mind.
Movies can stir in us pictures of the ideal situation, the ideal man, the ideal woman, the perfect this or the perfect that. However, our relationships aren’t fairy tales. They aren’t movies. They are real and they are lived out over much more than a 90-minute movie or 10 min video blog. Hollywood and fairytales can provide inspiration, but your intimacy needs to be cultivated in reality. Cultivated in the seemingly mundane daily stuff of life.
When the two stories we talked about in the previous post collide, the result is an explosion of potential beauty and ugliness. Of good and bad. Of fun and dull. Of easy and hard. Of joy and sadness.
We are doomed the moment we start looking at what “could be” in a way that is disconnected from what is. The perfect man you think you saw in that movie isn’t that great. Same goes with the perfect woman. Sure, your colleague has a listening ear and you always seem to get along. That’s great, but you’re not doing life together. Shit tends to rise to the surface when you do life with someone. Your partner, the one you said “yes” to, is not only the one to whom you’ve decided to give yourself (story and all) but is also the person to whom you said “yes, you can trust me with your story.”
What’s the point of joining together as one if it’s not to make beauty out of the chaos. If it’s all just for momentary selfish gain, spare yourself the trouble of a relationship and remain on your own. Alone. Hit it off here and there but avoid what it is to truly love and be loved. Avoid what it is to know and be known. Maybe you’re not cut out for it. It’s not for the faint of heart. Yet, even you know such a life is boring and ultimately unfulfilling.
Stop looking elsewhere and, instead, start embracing the raw material you are given to build and create something beautiful together. Yes, any work of art requires the artist to get their hands dirty along the way.
There is much more beauty to be found in the depth of reality than in the superficiality of a fairytale. Fairy tales feed our desire and may give us a glimpse of that which is possible but the depth of life promised in fairytales is only possible when we face the tensions and the chaos of real life.
That’s why intimacy is so complicated.
Talk it out:
- Lately, do you feel like I am drawing closer to you or moving farther away?
- Are you frustrated by the absence of something you wish was present in our relationship?
- When we consider our two stories, can we identify areas we have been avoiding?
- What are we creating together?
- If we dream together, what does the picture look like?