These people got it wrong.
Last night a friend of mine asked me for some advice on a relationship she's trying to get into. I won't say who she is so that I can say, publicly, that she had been making some stupid decisions regarding how she was going about this thing (sorry darlin' for when you read this!). In a nutshell she had created a relationship around a cute form of playacting, so that neither party had to fully commit to the relationship. This gave both of them an out when it started getting to serious by going "hahaha, isn't playacting fun, but it's all just for fun!" I've realized through self reflection and from reflection of conversations I've had with friends in my life, that many of us do this exact thing at the initial stage. We create a simple out in order to protect ourselves from actually feeling anything or from feeling any pain. The problem with creating this out, is that when one party really starts to feel more, the other is never sure if it's playacting or might possibly be really interested. That is a very very stressful place to be, it causes a lot of anxiety, and more often than not, causes the confused party to take the out to save themselves the possibility of being hurt and humiliated. I am very guilty of this same problem at times, but it's always easier to offer advice rather than follow it.
That being said, I was trying to find an analogy to help her understand an alternate method of approaching the situation, and how to solve the problem of the pesky "out". In my incoherent, very often nonsensical ramblings, I stumbled across what is absolutely the best analogy I've heard for how to live your love life to the fullest. I would like to share it with you all now, I call it "The New Englander's Guide to a Fulfilling Love Life".
I posted this on Facebook last night, but here I'll try and say it a little more eloquently and less from the hip.
Taking the step towards a real, honest, fulfilling relationship is like getting into a frigid, cold ocean in New England. Everyone in the world makes it at least initially up to their ankles. From here, the population of the earth splits into two types of people. The first type of person, everyone is guilty of considering. Absolutely everyone is tempted to wade in slowly. This makes the most logical sense. By slowly allowing your body to get used to the cold until you are all the way in you never have to experience the cold in an overwhelming way. It seems like a way to cheat your way into experiencing the full ocean without having to face the fear of the initial shock. There is one problem with this method, however, and itaffects 99.99% of people who choose this method. These people always make only halfway. As the cold spreads up their legs, a relatively non-sensitive part of the body, they are lulled into a false sense of security in that their body is easily capable of dealing with the cold water. However as soon as the rigid water reaches their crotch, and the ocean interacts with quite possibly the most sensitive part of the body, it's too sensitive for them. These people jump upwards and backwards, anything to avoid having to feel in the most sensitive parts of their body. They return to thigh level and announce that this is far enough, and that they never really wanted to go into the ocean in the first place, just "get their feet wet". They will continue to stand, content and proud in themselves that they went even this far with such a challenging feat. They will splash around, laugh, talk, and have a great time comforted in the fact that they are "in the ocean" even though they are less than halfway in. They will, at least a few times briefly submerge their sensitive crotchal region again just to prove that they can, that they are brave enough. They will scream, and laughingly run back to the safe depth, and tell their friends about how wonderful it is to go into the ocean. The problem is that they're submerging such a sensitive region for all the wrong reasons.
So I saw my good friend Amy post a list of 50 things she's thankful for in 2012, and recommended that others do the same. I thought about it, and in light of everything going on in my life right now, I thought I'd take the opportunity to do the same.
So here we go, 50 things I'm thankful for, in no particular order (excepting the first two).
1.) First and foremost my unbelievably wonderful and supportive family. Without them I literally would have nothing, and they continue to give to me every single day.
2.) My network of friends, my second family. You are always there to pick me up and dust me off when I need it, and never hesitate to pick up the phone when I call. Thank you to everyone who is always there for me. I always will be in return.
3.) Ithaca College, for giving me an education that has been invaluable since I graduated in May, and for giving me some of the greatest memories I've ever had. I think on my time at IC every single day and think fondly on every person who ever influenced me there. I can not express enough how much that institution meant to me and how much it means to me now.
4.) Waynflete School, for much the same reasons as #3. 16 years felt like plenty when I graduated in 2008, and now I read about what's going on and I ache to be back with you. The faculty and staff, my fellow students, they all helped to shape who I am today. No one institution deserves more credit in that regard than Waynflete. I hold Waynflete dear to my heart, and I can't wait for the NYC alum get together next week!
5.) The Ithaca College Class of 2012, you guys inspire me every day. Thanks for being amazing and for continuing to raise the bar with how far you can go in this world.
6.) The Loveshack - the best group of college roommates a guy could ever ask for
7.) Evan Arbour and Taj Harvey, my two fantastic little brothers at IC
8.) Graham Stuart Allen for finding me my first NYC apartment
9.) Mary Corsaro and Brian Demaris for wholly prepping me for auditions in this city.
10.) Coffee...my lifeblood.
11.) Dreams, goals, and achievements
12.) The Hackmatack Playhouse, Ithaca Shakespeare Company, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and Theater at Monmouth - the professional theatre companies who this year have paid me to do what I love
13.) Au Bon Pain and The Hummus and Pita Company for giving me jobs when I was in desperate need.
14.) Ted Arcand and The Dogfish Company
15.) The freedom to pursue what I love
16.) Anyone who has granted me an audition, and given me positive feedback, or a callback
17.) actorsequity.org, backstage.com, playbill.com, and actorsaccess.com - literally the reason I can manage myself in this industry
18.) The New England Patriots - I dream about your season in the off-season and I live for it when football is here.
19.) Microsoft, for inventing the Xbox
20.) All the people who have responded when I've asked to get coffee with them, and have actually met with me. These amazing people take time out of their lives to help new, completely lost kids like myself, and they should be given an award for awesomeness.
21.) Sallie Mae for deferring my college loan payments by even a couple of months, though I'll be cursing her name soon enough.
22.) Good beer, may it ever continue to exist
23.) People and artists who truly work to better the arts industry as a whole, or are actively raising the bar within the industry. People like Stephen Sondheim, Michael John Lachiusa, Stew, Pentatonix, Ryan Adams, Angie Aparo, William Finn, Edward Norton, Dan Harmon, and so many more, you inspire me to keep working hard.
24.) Movies of all kinds, and those who agree to watch them with me.
25.) Apple, for inventing the iPhone. I would be completely screwed without it
26.) Jessica Swersey for housing me through the Sandy debacle when I was trapped on Manhattan
27.) The creators of Falling Skies - WHAT AN AWESOME SHOW!
31.) Bright and sunny days with a crisp, cool, Fall air
32.) Prospect Park for offering me a recluse away from the noise of the city
33.) Doug Brown, Orthopaedic Associates, and Orthopaedic Associates Physical Therapy for fixing my right knee so well that to this day it is much better than my left. I would be without a career if it wasn't for you. You gave me back my ability to dance and to be active, and I can never repay that debt.
35.) Having no regrets, only life lessons
36.) Pine Island Summer Camp, every time I see a post about you I get so happy.
37.) Mark Bedell and the training he imparted on me
39.) The Arts Community as a whole
40.) Sunshine and Rain
41.) Benkins and Jenson
42.) To always looking forward, and looking back fondly, but never living in the past
43.) Animals of all kinds that I can play with. Red Panda, I will play with you before I die
44.) Animals of all kinds that I can't play with, you're still awesome.
45.) Subtle reminders that life is more important than the bullshit.
46.) Personality Flaws, that I may always strive to correct them
47.) The Bungalow circa Fall 2010
48.) Delores and Charlene, two great cars that got me where I needed to go. RIP both of you.
49.) All loved ones who have died. Your lessons imparted and the impact of your presence will forever be a part of my soul. Rest in Peace, you've earned it. Some of you died too young, but all of you died having lived a life worth living for however long or short it may have been.
50.) Having far more than 50 things to be thankful for, and having to cut myself off when I could just keep going. For some people, 50 things to be thankful for might be hard, and I am forever thankful that my list is innumerable.
I highly recommend that in this month of Thanksgiving, and in light of recent events, you all make a list such as this for reflection and confirmation that there is more to life than the negatives that drag us down.
I find myself hilarious, and I use this blog to stroke my own ego. Thanks for indulging me.