Monday, May 18, 2009

Focus on the Flaws...Revisited

Image by Christa Richert

Sometimes I reread the throwbacks here on the Connect and discover fresh relevance in the research and theories I explored at the time. At the moment, I’m enjoying the giddiness of new boodom, and “Focus on the Flaws: An Alternative Approach to Dating” is speaking to me louder than ever.

In “Focus on the Flaws,” I investigate the reasons we hook up and the reasons we break up. The theory is that if you can’t stomach a person’s issues, it doesn’t matter what you like about him/her. It’s a twist on the old “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” adage.

There are three things in life that are certain: death, taxes, and issues. I’ve learned not to get too comfortable with anything before I’m aware of the issues. The perfect job is only perfect until you realize that your boss is insecure and bitter. The perfect house is only perfect until you realize you have rowdy neighbors. The perfect car (i.e. my Altima!) is only perfect until you have to buy unexpectedly expensive tires. The perfect baby boy is only perfect until he hits adolescence and develops a drug problem.

And the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend is only perfect until you find out about (fill in the blank). At that point, you must evaluate this/these issue(s) and your ability to deal with them.

When I talk about flaws, it’s not just about the other person; I can’t be comfortable in a relationship until the guy is aware and accepting of the flaws that come with me. While my ego loves to hear that I’m beautiful and smart and funny, these compliments are taken with a grain of salt. That is, until the person has had a chance to glimpse all of me--the lovely and the terrible, the comic and the tragic.

“Love me not just for the best of me, but the rest of me.

Not just the good in me, but the hood in me.

Not just the flyness in me, but the ‘Dang, girl WHY? ness in me.”

-Delect “Unconditional”

I’ve been in a rather blissful relationship for the past few months, but we’re just now getting to the part where, as they say on MTV’s The Real World, “People stop being polite, and start getting real.” While this phase has its moments of uncertainty (You did, umm, what in college?) and terror (You did, ummm, WHAT in college??!!!), I’m finding it invigorating. Uncomfortable, but invigorating nonetheless.

This is the part where we peel away the frosting and examine the crust. It’s through these times, when things ain’t cute, that friendships and relationships gain credibility. With each hurdle successfully crossed, I relax a little more. After all, it doesn’t mean a whole lot when a guy thinks I’m awesome after the first date. But if he still thinks I’m awesome after peeking in my proverbial closet, we’re on to something.

The main point of “Focus on the Flaws” is to deal with the mess early and get it out of the way. We hesitate to share our feelings and experiences because we don’t want to run the other person away. Yet we don’t take into account that the issue will surface eventually, and if the person is going to run off, it’s better he/she leave after four months rather than four years.

"Love me or leave me

But please don't deceive me

And say you

Love me how I am."

-Esperanza Spalding “Precious”

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