Free To Be Us
Written by Jasmine
(Webmistress The Majickal Garden)
I just finished watching a movie called “Enough Said” starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The premise is 2 middle age divorced people, each with a teen ready to leave for college, meet at a party at a point in their lives where they have given up much hope of ever meeting anyone. Her initial impression of a sweet man is interrupted by a new friendship with the ex-wife that despises him and it gets complicated from there.
The acting from both actors is honest and real. James Gandolfini (such a sad loss) is refreshing in this role, especially since I just finished The Soprano’s (I did do some “episode binging” to do so!) and finding the characters so different in comparison. He is sweet, charismatic, vulnerable and honest. Julia Louis-Dreyfus presents a character unsure of her place in middle age. In her confusion of identifying her emotions she allows an outside influence to color her interpretation of them. Without giving away too much, in listening to the many “beefs” from her much respected and exotic new friend about her ex-husband it begins to picks away at a lovely budding relationship.
It got me to thinking about relationships and what can happen when we begin to lose sight of the foundation of the person we fell in love with in the beginning. Time and lack of diligent respect to cultivating the relationship can allow the ego to decide what is important, acceptable and attractive in how we view the other one. It really is all about the small things in life.
In my thinking, there are two sides in viewing these “small things”. We can either send ourselves into a negative state because we have come to find a quirk of our partner has progressed from cute or quirky to irritation, which can easily progress to disgust. Once it gets to that point, a wall goes up.
I am enjoying my second marriage. I am still learning things about myself in how I live a life with someone else. My middle age has taught me, for one thing, humility. Practicing Living in the Moment has allowed me to realize where lessons to be learned are right in front of me, at the time. Instead of busying my head with words about the current situation and scrutinizing things right then; I am more able to let them go, observe and absorb what is happening. This has allowed me to focus on the other person in their body language, in their eyes and words. Observing the situation unfold instead of narrating it in my mind at the time opens me up in a very honest way.
I must admit this movie hit home for me, in part, because lately I have been observing myself reacting to a few quirks of my beloved partner. He has not done anything bad, wrong or damaging. It’s just not in the way I find “normal” or the way I would do it! I am pleased that I am able to comprehend at the time that I am being critical of his way of action and am able to at least step back and observe myself in my own inner reaction. I ask myself, “Does it really matter”? Most time the answer to myself is “no”. After that, if it’s still something I feel I need to add some input to, in the way of helpfulness, and then I will progress with my own input in a thoughtful manner instead of blurting out what might have erupted before I gave thought to my response in irritation and my motive for doing so which is sometimes colored with arrogance. Many times I have caught myself ready to criticize until I comprehended the fact that he is only trying to do his part to help in some way. I have come to understand in reacting this way I lose sight of his true intentions and I take away from a true moment to be shared between us.
In some ways we are a bit of an “odd couple”. Understanding and embracing our differences is key. He is not as diligent of or needy of tidiness as I am. I have come to terms with this in thinking that I would much rather voluntarily rectify any such un-tidiness on his part silently than ever entertain the thought that I could ever be without him to create such situations!
My best friend, and she really is the best, has some quirks herself that at times can be annoying but I have come to understand, accept and respect her ways that make her unique to me. I love her whole package and to take away any aspects would be to make her someone else. However, I don’t live with her! I have given much thought to her recently and our evolved relationship over 25 years. It is priceless to me. This line of thought brought me to how easy it is over time to let such a patient allowance in understanding a person that is a friend and how easy it is to let that fact slip when it comes to a partner. He is my partner that I still consider a best friend. He deserves the same respect and allowances I do for my girlfriend.
The movie touched on relationships outside of the 2 main characters as well. We all have our own quirks and ways about us that make us unique. To change what makes up our personalities is to make us into someone different.
I have always heard that marriages require work to keep them active. I thought I understood that the first time around. Although efforts were made then; in my maturity I have fathomed my own personal responsibility for recognizing and acknowledging the other souls presence and the beauty, love and efforts on his part to be a part of two. It requires nurturing on both sides to be a success. In a working relationship the more one gives the more one gets back in return. I am so blessed to be in one and I hope I never stop actively participating to do my part to keep it so.