As I talked to myself, while washing dishes, something was said by someone that I thought was me. It didn’t sound like me, though. What that voice said was something that I had never said before. Something I did not even know that I knew.
It was a sentence very close to one I have said many times in the past, just slightly altered. Changed just enough that the new meaning stopped me mid-scrub. The dishes could wait. I needed to sit down.
The sentence that I used to say went something like this:
“Every time I have attempted a relationship, I have failed.”
The voice stopped and edited me before I could finish that one, though. It gifted me with a new sentence:
“Every time I have attempted a traditional relationship, IT has failed me.”
The attempt failed. The attempt at doing something I have always known was not my gig was what failed.
I did not fail.
The other person did not fail.
The relationship did not fail.
Love did not fail.
The attempting. That habit of doing something over and over again, expecting a different result (the definition of insanity), that is what failed. Because it had to. That is its job, in a way.
All those years, all of those songs, Dan Fogelberg and Joni Mitchell. Kate Bush and Todd Rundgren….They were all trying to tell me something and I wasn’t listening.
Or, rather, I was listening to something else. For something else.
I need to give credit where credit is due for this revelation: Doctor Who.
I recently began watching the Doctor Who series (the reboot years). And, aside from the fun, the scares, the silliness, and the creativity, there have been some big life lessons. And even bigger Love Lessons.
The Doctor always travels with companions. Humans who, for whatever reason, have stumbled onto his path and became part of his world. And they develop relationships with one another. Loving relationships.
Not romantic relationships, though.
In the situations with the companions where the Love (Big L) starts seeping into something more of a romantic nature, the show suffers. The Doctor suffers as well. He knows what he is, what he is capable of, and what the future holds for him. This makes him Love others more deeply….more Big L.
In one scene, the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) says to Donna (Catherine Tate), “I just want a mate.” (Mate = friend, in British slang) She mishears him and yells, “You just want TO mate?!?” She is horrified, we are amused, and — if we watch closely — The Doctor, trying to ride out the joke and clearly not amused along with us, is actually showing a true vulnerability. The pain and loneliness of The Doctor.
He just wants a mate. A friend. A companion.
Not a girlfriend, not a lover, not a romantic partner.
Someone to walk life’s path with. To share time with. To share moments with.
This is what I have always wanted
Someone to walk life’s path with me. To share time. To share moments. That. Just that. Without any other complications.
All of those fumbling attempts I made in the past to find what I wanted — the same as what The Doctor wants — those attempts failed. And I took those failures on myself, onto my self, as my personal failures.
I kept taking that vision of what I truly wanted and trying to make it fit into a smaller box, the box of what society says I should want (“to” mate versus “a” mate). And every time that vision didn’t fit into that box, I would be faced with what seemed to be my inability to be that thing that the world thought I should be, that others seemed to be — so easily and effortlessly, or so I thought — and, obviously, I never could be.
I called my self a failure. That is what hurt the most.
Yes, The Doctor rescues his companions. Yes, for most of my life I have longed to be rescued.
He does this out of Love, though.
Not a Disney Princess rescuing, that leads to a kiss and a happily ever after.
His rescuing is out of Love. Out of Care. As the 12th Doctor shares, it is out of Kindness. Being Kind….That’s what it always comes back to for me, too.
I regularly use the phrase, “Love Wins.” Because it does.
Sometimes in a marriage of 60 years. Sometimes in the brief few years we get to share with a furry companion. Sometimes in a moment of awe, standing on a mountaintop. Sometimes in a moment of complete Peace, while napping on a breezy afternoon. Sometimes, well, every time I put a piece of freshly spun maple cream into my mouth.
Love. Big L Love. True Love. Real Love.
I will never stop falling — and rising — in that kind of Love.
And I will continue on my journey, on my own. Unless, of course, I find a mate.
Thank you, Doctor.