Vironika Tugaleva shares the secret to loving your partner beyond ideas of what happily in-love should look like.
There’s a Greek myth of a rogue named Procrustes. This sinister innkeeper would invite guests to rest for the night in his inn as long as they fit into his bed. When they would take him up on his offer, he would set to either amputating their limbs or stretching them in order to make them fit perfectly to the iron bed.
And yet, this legend reminds me deeply and profoundly of Valentine’s Day and the inner mind-workings of lovers in many modern-day relationships.
How many of us have tried stretching and cutting our partners to size in order to fit them into the bed of how we think a perfect partner (or a perfect relationship) should be?
How many of us are still doing it?
From the time that we’re young, the media teaches us to sever our limbs of uniqueness and shove each other into pre-cut Hollywood-sized boxes of what it means to be beautiful, what it means to be in love, what it means to be happy.
I admit, I’ve been there.
The first relationship I was ever in, I was pretty disappointed he wasn’t Prince Charming. And he was pretty disappointed I wasn’t a porn star. It was an unspoken sort of disappointment on both sides that just grew over time.
But we did try. I tried to give him his fantasy and he tried to give me mine. And all we did was look past each other while looking at the billboards.
And, now, several heartaches and many growing pains later, I have learned that people don’t come in “perfect” size. I’ve also learned that “relationship” is not really a noun. It’s not like a table you can buy at IKEA and then forget about it. A relationship is a process of relating, a multi-dimensional whirlwind of words, feelings, memories, gifts, passions, and struggles that changes with each moment.
And each one is so beautiful and unique, if we only stop to marvel at it and stop trying to shape it into something else.
Any celebration of love and romance should celebrate the uniqueness of each of our bonds with one another.
Many say Valentine’s Day is too commercial, and it is. Many opt out of celebrating it for that very reason, but I say celebrate! Why leave a perfectly healthy chance to celebrate love on the table? But celebrate your relationship and not someone else’s. Celebrate your understanding of love, sex, and connection, not what it’s supposed to be.
So, this Valentine’s Day, my partner and I are going to debate philosophy, eat sushi, and then maybe listen to 90s rap. There will be no bouquets, no Facebook status couple selfies, and no boxes of chocolates. You won’t find us in candle light and if there’s poetry, it’s coming from me.
And that’s how I like it; how we like it.
We’re weird just like everyone else. Might as well embrace that.
Why don’t you join us? I invite you to use this holiday to show people that relationships don’t fit into boxes and real live human beings don’t either. Show them that the bed of mediocrity will never fit anyone, because the secret of Procrustes was that he always had two beds. Even if someone looked like they would fit one perfectly, he’d just pull out the other.
Standards, for each other and for relationships, can only sever and distort the beauty that’s already there.
We leave behind real love in search of the perfect partner the same way that we leave behind our real destiny in search of our perfect self.
This Valentine’s Day, leave your own limbs and the limbs of others intact. Leave behind the bed of mediocrity and love what’s really there (not what you think should be). Love it with all your heart.
Photo: Flickr/Smart Hero
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