There are lots of spiders in Los Angeles. I’ve seen them. They lurk in corner cobwebs, under tables and in plants. They nest in trees and alongside firewood. When I relocated here from the humid, steamy, insect-laden South, I thought I would be bug free. I kissed goodbye to the flying cockroaches, hit Interstate 10 going west and didn’t stop until I smelled the saltwater of the Pacific. Unbeknownst to me, I said hello to arachnid central. No one warned me I would trade cockroaches for spiders. But, such is the way of life, love and relationships. Compromise. Negotiation. Give a little. Get a little. Decide what’s most important, make a few adjustments, and keep it movin in the name of mutual progress and the sanity of all persons involved. It’s not difficult in theory. In practice, we (the people) have been known to muck it up royally.
I am a self-professed muck up. Oh yeah. I am beautiful, smart, talented, witty. The list goes on and on. But, to quote a few words from India Arie… I’m an amateur in love. It’s frustrating to say the least. Those who have had the pleasure of knowing the boundaries or lack thereof of my love have seen my struggles firsthand. As my friends tell me, “Hey… you can’t be good at everything.” So true. What’s difficult for me is that my view on life is essentially the same as my view on love. It’s not complicated. It’s simple. You either do or you don’t. You either will or you won’t. It’s no different from the decision to live with spiders or cockroaches (I’m NOT referring to your significant other here!). Entomology 101. There will be challenges in each place you live… creatures of some sort… vermin… cohabitating with you… infringing upon your dwelling space… seen or unseen… they exist. They are not there to intentionally ruin your life. They are… doing their own thing – like the oddball quarter of the Sesame Street segment “Three of These Things Belong Together…One of These Things is Not the Same”. I digress. Most people move along in life “doing their own thing.” However, when you make a move whether in life or love to be with someone there are a few things that are par for the course. You will not always get along. You will not always see eye to eye. Most people are inherently self-centered. (This attribute does not help a relationship, it actually hinders it.) But, if it is companionship you seek, then it would behoove you to figure out what you need to do in order to survive. May I suggest a can of Raid? The number to a local pest elimination specialist? A big Stacy Adams-like shoe? My point is that there is no shortage of resources available to help you weather the storm. You have to want to be there.
I happen to want to be in Los Angeles. Thus, my tolerance for Charlotte’s web grows more and more each day. It has to… or I would make myself miserable. I’ve done it before – in relationships. Stayed in the thick of it with little or no tolerance. Contributed to the toxicity of the environment. Convinced myself that I could fix something broken beyond repair. Yep. I was younger then. Dumber then. Less experienced then. But, one thing remains consistent, I was willing to put in the work. Love, to me, means putting in the work. It’s simple. Either you will or you won’t. Either you want to or you don’t. Here is the key that most people miss – it takes two. With any relationship (friendship or otherwise) it takes two. I abandoned 90/10, 80/20 and 70/30 for 60/40 and 50/50 about seven years ago. I realized that my relationship overview needed an overhaul. In the process I decided that those people in my life, whether they be on the other end of the phone, across the table, or on the pillow next to me, who share my space, time, effort and energy, should be worthy of such. They should contribute to the relationship’s growth and well-being at a proportionate level – sometimes giving; sometimes taking; always seeking to coalesce. The problem is: ain’t too many peeps out here nowadays tryin to do that. In my best Shaneeka voice: “Girl… Co-ah-who? You better go somewhere with them big words.” I told you. I’m an amateur. What the heck do I know?
I’ve taken to collecting guerrilla stats. For every happily married couple I know there are three unhappily married. For every married man or woman faithful, I know at least five who bask in infidelity. Trust me. I’m being nice here. I’ve had offers from infidels great and small. (None so great as Robert Redford’s big screen offer to Demi Moore… cause to give any woman in her right mind pause.) I just really hate complicating life. If I ever answered my door at 2 a.m. to a woman with a baby in her arms I would want to be able to direct her elsewhere because her husband is not fast asleep post-orgasmic in my bed. I believe in love. I believe that when two people come together and decide to weather the vermin lurking nearby, albeit a damn nuisance, wonderful things await them. I believe in honesty. I believe in mutual interests. I believe in respect and honor and decency. I believe in failure and I believe in forgiveness. F*cking idealist. I can hear you. Don’t think I can’t. But, I still believe. Compromise. Negotiation. Give a little. Get a little. Love a lot. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. Spiders beware.
Persnickety Snit Self-Adjustment: When things seems complicated, take a step back and simplify. That is all.