Complaints of a Committed Woman

[EDIT: I should have clarified this further before publishing this article. When in situations/settings where looking for romantic partners is expected (bars, clubs, etc.) I’m quite up front about my state of availability and/or interest, because I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time who’s trying to get lucky. It’s more benign settings such as school, or work, that I find this to be a difficult situation. ]

I don’t initially tell people that I’m in a committed relationship, especially men. This is in part because it’s not always the first thing that comes up when I talk to people, and in part because I’d like to actually talk to people without them worrying that my partner will come rampaging out of the bushes to beat them up.

Point: I’m a young adult, but I am an autonomous adult, who has value whether or not I’m in a relationship.

Unfortunately, in my experience, this isn’t always the first thing on peoples’ minds when talking to me. And no, I’m not complaining about people mistaking my status for single and attempting to ask me out: I’m flattered when that happens. What disappoints me is the silence I get when I mention my partner in passing, or when (if I don’t catch it soon enough) I have to clarify the situation. It’s like people saying “well, you’re off the market, why would I bother talking to you?”

Let’s take a look at that saying, “off the market”. First off, I’m not a piece of livestock. Back to the point above, I have value in my individual personality regardless of whether I’m “available” or not. And I’m an optimistic person, most of the time. Chances are, I think that you have value regardless of your relationship status.

In all likelihood, if I’ve engaged you in conversation in the first place, I think you’re an interesting person. I think you’re someone who I’d like to get to know better, because I adore being surrounded by fascinating, fun people. I’m lucky enough to have many amazing friends who bring all kinds of wonderful depth into my life, and this exchange of ideas and experiences is what makes the courtship of friends worth it. All those awkward first text messages, facebook interactions, invitations, the dance is all worth it if a connection of value grows.

Let’s take a look at that term now, a “connection of value”. I made that up, but I like it. For me, that means that in knowing each other, we mutually benefit from sharing viewpoints, stories, recommendations, advice, laughter, all these really neat things that we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t met. “Friendship” is an overused term, in these situations. It’s loaded. “Friendship” calls to mind the dreaded (and repeatedly disproven) “friend-zone”. So yes, I’ll call you my friend, because it’s an easy label, and nobody wants to be a personified “connection”. If anyone has a better term than “friend”, let me know. “This guy I know”? Agh.

Point is, when I refrain from saying I’m in a relationship, it’s not because I want to “lead people on”. That’s the furthest thing from my mind. I believe that my relationship status is not the entirety of my being, and I appreciate it when other people think the same thing.

friendship

Kind of related?

What do you think? Comments are appreciated, I’d really like to know.

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walking in both directions

[note: if you’re picky about the formatting of poetry staying the way I wrote it, please click on the post to view it with the original spacing]

I wish our falling out was like Hiroshima
that mushroom clouds stretched in fine grey carpets
for miles in each direction,
and that when we spoke to each other
we could hear worlds burn.
But this, this cool dissemblance
logical, discussed, like a thick needle pumping blood
from my arm into a bag: I
will not, I can not lie still. 
Small, sharp pains, fleeting–
our heartbeats keep us rocking back and forth,
holding aches in both hands.
This story is written as it writes itself onward,
and we burn with fever-eyed desire
to tear out the pages;
to flip forward
or back
anything but this blind fumbling for answers–
but our hands keep slack at our sides.
I am walking in both directions, both towards
and away from you
and neither of us have the heart to stop
and ask for directions
because neither of us want to know.

a small sad, a strange: hug

i am strange today
usually the case, but now
see, i’d like a hug.

this strange is quiet
unsettling, almost sad
hell of an ordeal.

but not my ordeal
or is it? i’m relative
relative, right.

but relatively
i’m not too sad, as sad goes
i just need a hug.

© Emily Bragg 2013

Falling

I’m looking out the window and it’s raining
And I’m wishing I was out there with you
With life running down our cheeks;
Happiness increasing with each drop tracing across
And under our skin, setting our eyes afire with the knowledge
That I’ll never tire of your touch.

I want to stand on your toes, and step where you step
I want to arrange a time and place for your lips to meet mine
Over coffee, and maybe after they could take a walk.
I want to know you behind your smile.

I want to throw myself across the space between us and hold you,
Like there’s a time limit for the idea of us
But we’re slowing down the clock so that each second
Seems like an hour.

And every hour I spend with you is like
An injection of peace
And every second I spend away from you
Is like a lease, like a debt I can’t repay, like time is a bank vault
Locking each moment of aching loneliness away.

And I know sometimes I get worried,
Worried that I’ve said too much and you’ll start avoiding me
Worried that I’ve drowned your affection in my own;
Too late for resuscitation or a loan of
Breath from my lungs.

But it’s a transient state of disquiet that evaporates
Like the steam on the bathroom mirror in which I traced the words
‘I love you’.
We might end. But I hope to skies of spirits
That it isn’t soon.

Because this ancient emotion feels like a revelation,
And I’m reevaluating my diction into the words that lovers use.

And this sensation confuses me, because I’m not used to
This carved out hole in the side of me
That marks your absence;
I’m not accustomed to finding want in solitude;
But I could exist with you for days and days and find myself missing you
If you left for an hour.

And this overpowering awareness of the space where you could be
Is like trying to ignore an addiction, it’s a contradiction
To all that’s glorious and free.

Over time, I’ve learned cynicism to be the best ism to follow when falling in love,
But my surety is slowly eroding away, the cracks filled by fidelity
And the solemnity of ascending to something higher
And sweeter than anything I would have ever known to dream of
Before you.

I want to thank you
For making me feel like a live wire cut from a telephone pole when you’re around me,
For making each brush of your lips a story,
For making each page of each story full of suspense, without
Common sense or inhibitions,
Without definition of boundaries or conditions
Each intermission filled with reverence
And only the position of hands on the clock can bring us back to reality.

There are times when I wish I could plot each point
Charting a voyage from your thoughts to mine
Running a ruler across a map of cerebral connections
Just to find out what you’re thinking.

But I know that silence can be beautiful,
Because silence with you is often unusual,
Crystalline in its perfection
Every moment a reflection of quieted passion rippling from our bodies,
Breathing in harmony with understanding
Falling in tandem into something deeper than expected.

And I know alone is okay,
But somehow alone is just an echo
Of being with you.

I wrote this ages ago, during the first few months of my now-almost-two-year relationship with my love. Everything was such an incredible revelation, I can still conjure up the intense feelings that I tried so hard to put into words. This is meant to be spoken; whisper it to yourself. If you have this, rejoice. If you don’t, wait; it will come to you.

© Emily Bragg 2013