Relationships

Our Bacon Tree

IMG-2295Our Bacon Tree is actually a Spekboom (Which is Afrikaans for Bacon/Pork Tree) that were given as a token reminder of our wedding. At the moment it lives on our balcony and has had a pretty epic year on its own. Having survived two moves, re-potting and being devoured by caterpillars. (Yes your right that is very symbolic, our wedding token was devoured by the Earth’s universally accepted animal change agent.) It has also given up a limb to spawn a fully independent mini-me.

The good news is that is has survived the process. Like most living things it has a variety of moods that I now use it as a relationship weather vain. Which has forced me to create a new relationship in my life and I find a place to focus the nurturing qualities of marriage. I talk to it. I encourage it and I tell it how beautiful it is. That it belongs in with us and that I am very grateful to have it in my life. That I love the work it does and how much it is doing for the planet. I make sure it’s loved, though I’m not sure it believes it after the caterpillar incident.  I wonder at what lengths people go through to keep a plant healthy and happy. Especially in the times, we live now.   I know it is a miracle in my life and it represents hope for the future. Especially as it loves munching carbon. Over a decade ago someone once told me “If you think you are ready for a relationship to get yourself a plant and if it lives a year, you are ready for a pet”. In recent weeks it has also been highlighted to me that a husband is a sort of pet. (I know it’s terrible) As we shouldn’t have such high expectations of people. After all most pets behave and do as they like and we love them anyway regardless of how inconvenient that might be.

The marriage process has made me confront things that I literally never thought possible. Miya Angelo said, “When people tell you who they believe them”. All of a sudden I do. There are many things that we choose to overlook when we get into relationships. For all the right reasons. We want to love through it. We believe that anything is possible. That we can love far beyond our own truths and live somebody else’s. Then we begin to understand just how wild that is. What a massive adventure is laid out before us and that in undertaking this path we are reconstructing the world in which we have chosen to live. That our world is no longer controlled by our personal truths and that shared realities are complex. That living with another person is like living with another reality that we might never fully discover. That we can’t colonise another person’s mind with ideas that aren’t true for them, any idea, and that somehow we might be able to navigate that together. That these are the decisions we’ve made and that we resist them at our own peril. Alternate truths are real. Yet somehow we are surprised by this. As if politics alone wasn’t enough to play that out for all to see.

The thing is though we don’t have to convince anybody. We don’t need to change anybody’s mind. We don’t need to make them understand how we see it and we certainly don’t have to expose facts in order to be heard. All we can ever do is turn up and be ourselves and live our lives as fully as we always intended, love ourselves enough that there is space for another perspective. Live our truths and through the process and know that we are enough and the world’s madness doesn’t change that.

They say that there are lessons in everything and that what we see is our mirror. What we don’t fully understand is how deep that reflection goes. Of course, what I’ve just said is a paradox. As there is no depth in a mirror. All we have is a flat perspective that can move and change giving us all the information that we need in it. Reflecting back all the details of our backstory and simultaneously our present. It soooo fucking magical. It’s totally understandable that we would be highly confused by it. Relationships take personal understanding deeper, as we unpick everything. We find that our internal traits, have external matches. Cause meets effect, openness meets rigidity, reflective meets reactive, embracing meets denial, truth meets reason. There’s also no telling where each of us may take that ground in the ever-shifting sands of life.

We all like to believe that we know the best way forward and that we can talk through everything. Then honestly what if you can’t? What if after nearly eight years of being together you finally realise that actually, you have totally different belief systems that literally took seven years to show up. That the veils have well and truly fallen and love can still dwell in the places where we can’t meet.

We may be very familiar and safe with our own demons and the process it might take to coax them into a ferral state of benign co-living. When all of a sudden you find yourself discovering somebody else’s lurking in the previously unexplored recesses of their mind.  We don’t know where they start and end or even their true form. Like the film, Alien we don’t fully understand what we are seeing. It takes a while for the nature and intentions of the wee fucker to fully come to light.

We can liken personal relationships to revelations in history. Where the nature of the universe even now is under debate. That the best ways forward are often argued about. Great breakthroughs are often dismissed and even ignored until we find ourselves in a new reality depending on who has the fortitude to push through. The lesson will be repeated until it is learned. Love always, especially when it is hard, confusing and frustrating. Yup.

The Balance of Power

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Here in South Africa it’s women’s month and it’s a big month. We love our women. I was listening to radio and I heard an incredible statistics that 68% of adult South African women were single. First of all I have no idea, what the world average on this, the figure just seemed incredibly high. Then I thought about it. Then I thought it a little bit longer and it occurred to me in South Africa as a woman (at least in my social circle) it’s unusual to be married.

So I’ve been having all those girly conversation about relationships and men. How we pair up, what makes a match and how relationships work? What I have just realised is that there is some deep societal programming going on out there, that makes me wonder about things a bit. So often on Womens Day and when we talk about women we talk about being strong. I grew up in a matriarchal society and to be honest I’ve only every really known female leaders. I’ve only ever known women that rule the roost, hold council, pull together in community and support one another. The good men were more like the awesome sidekicks, who made sure that the women in their lives were fully supported in there Earth life mission.

The men hold space for women to retreat to. Maybe they provide for the family. Maybe they simply take care of their wife cause after all “The best thing a man can do for his children is love their mother.” Yes that is true. After all isn’t it women that bare, birth and breast feed and raise children? Do you think that responsibilty was given to women because they are the weaker of the two sexes, seriously? We are all deeply programmed to believe that men are supposed to be strong for women. It’s a pile of shit. They are our hunter gathers and protectors. Women hold the fort.

So it makes me wonder if that this strong man ideology is just another piece of the puzzle of toxic masculinity. That women are out there searching for unicorns, for mythical creatures. When in fact when I look at successful marriages it’s the women  with the sensitive men that are doing the best. The men that care when women are upset. The men that carry you to bed when you are exhausted. The men that pour you a bath when you need to regenerate. The men that sit down and listen when you are overwhelmed. The men that cook dinner, wash the dishes and hoover. That’s the men that we are looking for. The men that know that looking after and protecting their women is at the very heart of creating a stable home and the positive ripple effect that brings.