A manifesto for love

I like the idea that if you find yourself telling more than 3 people about a certain something, you should just blog about it.

I’ve been telling a bunch of people about this article “How to Pick a Life Partner”. The headline sounds like clickbait, but the contents really resonated with me. She articulated what I’ve been looking for without having the words for it. These are the qualities she names as crucial for a long-term partnership, and this trifecta makes so much sense to me:

  1. Deep friendship
  2. Feeling at home/safe with them
  3. Commitment to problem-solving the relationship together

I know it’s not fair to expect a partner to be everything to you; I value my independence, and I also want my partner to have a life and community independent of me. I’ve been seriously pondering whether or not my partner also needs to be my best friend; after all isn’t that what my best friends are for? But in some ways, I must be looking for that kind of friendship in a mate, because I am quite quick to label and write off certain prospective suitors as too boring. By “boring”, I mean that their lives don’t feel similarly multi-dimensional as mine.

“A Traffic Test-passing friendship entails…a decent number of common interests, activities, and people-preferences. Otherwise a lot of what makes you ‘you’ will inevitably become a much smaller part of your life, and you and your life partner will struggle to find enjoyable ways to spend a free Saturday together.”

I am a super-social introvert. I am a social justice activist. I am an artist who likes to explore and a geek who likes stories. I am a wanderer who takes too many pictures and a traveler who secretly craves the woods. I like to follow my fears and show up for things even if (especially if) I don’t know what I’m in for. I’m not a thrillseeker nor an adrenaline junkie, but I do like adventures of the heart, of connection, and of the mind. I want someone who’s as equally curious about life and who’s equally up for life as I am. I want someone multi-faceted and inspiring— interesting to be around and interested in the world…Otherwise, I’m just a manic pixie dream girl for another nice guy.

I don’t care what you look like;
Show me your heart of gold.
Show me what you make when you think no one’s watching.
Show me how you share your unique gift with the world.
Show me what makes you smile, and what makes you cry.
Show me what gives you pause, and what lights up your mind.

I started writing this, and then I realized that the poet Oriah already said it all and so much better in the poem “The Invitation”:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ’Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

I liked that my friend Sheena tagged this poem on her Tumblr with #manifesto.

Of course, the fear is that this bar is too high and that in saying no to some, I’ll end up with none. Or that these qualities are red herrings when I should be paying attention to xyz instead. But I believe in manifesto’s of the heart. I deserve to dream. I can dream if I want to. And maybe we never reach those peaks, but we can keep striving for them in our day-to-day, and in that striving is the moment-to-moment living that ultimately defines our lives. And that is richness enough for me.