I visited my parents yesterday, something I haven't had time to do in over a month. When I got home, we ate lunch together and chatted for a few hours about everything that had happened in our lives over the past four weeks. At one point, my Dad said "yeah, what's with the blog? We don't know what's going on with you... except for new pictures of SNOW."

It is my most frequent critique made by friends and family: I'm not fantastic about keeping in touch. And by not fantastic, I mean that long-distance friendship (or family-ship, as the case may be) is very much subject to the whims of my personality. It is not unheard of for me to go six months without so much as texting someone who lives 10 minutes from me, and then dump a 5-page email to them. I'm just not good at communicating for the sake of checking in; I do best when I genuinely feel compelled to write.

This blog is no different. As my job becomes more and more of a social nature, I find myself coming home and wanting to be quiet for an hour or two before collapsing into bed. I compose blog posts or emails in my head while I'm in the subway, but of course I am far from a keyboard and the effort gets lost by the time I make it to one. I suppose I should invest in an iPhone or something so that I can constantly be writing the emails I have in my head, but I also feel protective of my private time and, so far, I prefer a life that includes moments when I'm not connected to the world.

Tonight, post-bath, I sat on my kitchen floor with Oscar and listened to the first part of the Valentine's Day '08 podcast from This American Life. I originally heard this particular show a few weeks after V-Day last year and I was moved to tears by Richard Bausch's reading of "Letter to the Lady of the House." I had it on my iPod for a few months and listened to that reading almost every morning on the train ride to work. His voice is so soothing and I am always 100% absorbed in the content of the letter. In it, a 70-year old man writes a breathtaking letter to his wife one evening after she's gone to sleep angry.

What I like best about this letter is the way that he drops all manners of passive-aggressive bullshit, the junk food of relationships, and really tells her what he's thinking. Some of it is difficult to hear, but the overall effect is one of strength and respect. One of my fatal flaws in relationships up until this point has been characterized by an expectation that another person can and should know exactly what I need all the time. It takes the romance out of it when you have to say things like "YOU PISSED ME OFF BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T HELP ME CLEAN THE BATHROOM." It is far easier to sulk, to wait for the other person to apologize, even if it takes a week.

But of course, you can't deem junk a main food group forever. At some point, you start eating healthy, not only because you know it's the right thing to do, but because you feel really good about it yourself.

Where am I going with this? In my own very awkward way, I suppose that I am sharing with you that I have a Valentine this year. I'm not sure how much I'm going to talk about him in this space, but it's been an important development in my life over the past few weeks. In a number of ways, this new relationship is an opportunity for me to work on being honest and direct and, for a number of reasons, this feels like the right person to do that with at this moment.

Being a good communicator is hard, isn't it? Trusting that someone is going to want to hear what you have to say, that someone is receptive to how you're feeling, is the most intimidating thing to imagine... until suddenly someday with someone it isn't. Suddenly it's perfectly reasonable.

That's pretty exciting.


Edith said...

congrats on the new bf and happy valentine's day.

Anonymous said...

dont forget your paris friends and keep me updated with your life chica!!!
ps. David te dit bonjour!!