The Worlds in Us

If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve had enough of hearing about the wonders of love. The connection with someone special, the butterflies, the magical phenomenon no words can bring to justice. Perhaps this is because those who aren’t feeling such emotions cannot empathise with them and thus such concepts are thrown into the loony bin of the illogical and cliché’. This isn’t to say each person in their own way wants to experience affection with someone. Each of us secretly wants to share our most intimate feelings and idle thoughts with someone who won’t embarrass or hurt us in return. Each of us, if we don’t have it, longs for the simple trust between two people that connect them. There’s no denying this because we are naturally social beings who base our lives on interaction. Even if you consider yourself someone remote, private or isolated, we all in some way interact with one another in order to sustain ourselves.

I tend to avoid writing about ‘love’ and all the connotations it entails because how often people avoid or ridicule such a topic I’ve lost count. Its also easy to assume that those ‘magical’ reactions within us called ‘love’ don’t exist but are simply an idea manifested by romantics who felt the need to label the events of arousal, stimulation, intercourse and reproduction into something more than all it is. For those of us who are realists and who are harder to convince when it comes to the enchantment of love, is there more than this primitive want of physical gratification and breeding? Today I’m going to say, at my own peril, there is. ‘How do you know that for sure?’ you’re probably asking me. Unfortunately it seems that you can only really know or believe in ‘love’ by experiencing it because there doesn’t seem to be any logical answers out there. And here comes your disappointment at the cliché. Sorry to use this cop-out if you feel the need to use logic for everything, but I’ve just come to learn that sometimes explanation destroys the wonders of the nonsensical. Perhaps being open to the irrational might mean gaining a better insight into the vastness of human consciousness and thus love? Now I’m only green in this field of human experience, thought and emotion and know almost nothing of the science of the three, but from here on know that what I go by is only my own experience, can one do no else?

Desire, lust, deeply caring, affection, intimacy, connection- call it whatever you want but I’m going to save the trouble of avoiding the word ‘love’ and just use it in all it’s general glory. This isn’t to say I agree that those preceding words amount to love, quite the opposite, but my endeavour here is not to define love, just to explore a single fragment of the beast it is. So which fragment is that, you ask? Companionship.

Companionship comes in many forms, be it a friend, a mother, the person you sit next to in a lecture or the stranger you share a laugh with. Each in their own way evokes and level of companionship. I have an amazing relationship with a girl I’ve know for years. I can honestly say that I can share anything with her, she knows me best, only just after I know myself. She’s seen my darkest points, heard some of my most uncouth desires and talked me through my most vulnerable states. We are able to constantly make each other laugh, express our joy for life’s most simple pleasures and gossip about anything without the feelings of resentment or judgement between us. I am honoured to know someone who connects with me on such a level that transcends common behaviour to the point of being comfortable within each other’s unspoken thoughts- sometimes it feels so unreal. This isn’t to say we don’t work on our problems nor speak our minds when we disagree or are uncertain, this goes unsaid for any relationship to work- the need to master basic communication- but since our strive is to care and be there for each other, it doesn’t take much for one to understand the other and our problems are resolved.

My friend possesses a rare delicacy and compassion that anyone who meets her adores. Most would take a strong liking to her and try to get to know her more, attracted by the unfamiliarity this strange and fragile flower evokes. She is one that only deserves beauty and compassion in return for what she gives the universe, however one has in the past abused her fragility for his own avariciousness and left her wounded. Her heart became scattered into a thousand pieces and an ugly darkness filled with cynicism and resentment overcame her. Every piece of her heart screamed a different desire and her head decided not to listen anymore. The face once filled with rosy cheeks became sullen with tears and any idea of love she once had slowly and painfully died. This transformation, subtle to most but clear to me, sent her on a path of escapism. At times our friendship stood on a standstill. One night we almost lost it completely; our phone conversations were still frequent but I felt like she didn’t hear me anymore and she became frustrated with me. We had an argument and hanged up the phone. My mind said “Well that’s it then”. Angry though I was, I suppressed it. I was over it. Sadness then slowly overcame me and the confidence I felt two seconds ago faded. I didn’t know what I wanted. I knew she was needing, torn up. I made the choice to get over my self-righteousness and call her back. In tears I told her she means more to me than our disagreement and I didn’t want to loose her over it.

The year soon came to an end and her cuts turned into scars. She began smiling again. She opened up to meetings guys but nothing more than a midnight pash seemed worth it. One night she met an interesting fellow from another city who became smitten with her. He continued contacting her and followed her across the globe on her travels. I thought it was crazy but also exciting and I supported every second of it. They spoke and shared everything. Yes, they adored each other but there was something else floating in their little concoction of passion: companionship. Not only had she a lover but also a best friend. She spoke so highly of him and glowed like a lantern wherever she trotted. I was so delighted to see her so happy but I also I told myself that she’s clearly infatuated with him so everything must be a hyperbole… how wrong I was! After meeting him myself I realised how true the myths of her stories became. What they share is phenomenal. It really is. He instilled trust in her and showed her the compassion she forgot she had. My friend of damaged goods was no more and her enchanting eyes told me she was in love (just before her lips did).

We are still strong with each other but she also shares something with her partner, something that we will never have. We share our worlds together as she does with him and its wonderful. After talking to her on the phone last night I was inspired by something. Imagine been able to have what I do with her but with someone I’m in love with. Their companionship showed me how it is possible, but also made me question: “just how rare is this?” After our conversation ended I realised something. I share my whole world with her, but hardly any of it with anyone else. I used to think that she was the only one who could understand me but now I think I might be wrong. There are worlds in people, we all have one. Some of us never show anyone our world. Some people we call ‘close’ friends only get to see a fragment of it. Some of us don’t even share our world with the person we’re in a relationship with, as I’ve come to realise of myself in the past. Some of us long to share it but there’s no one around who is either interested or can understand our own strange ways of thinking and experiencing (and those who can might simply choose not to care). Some of us would rather keep our world to ourself, silently detesting the chance of being vulnerable for what that could do to us. No one wants to be broken and its our natural instinct to avoid that from happening, but I just can’t say how wonderful vulnerability is. It’s a risk that’s both euphoric and frightening. I’ve been hurt before for sharing my world with someone who didn’t want it, but I am willing to show it to another and know theirs. I can’t know if they’ll break me or not… But if they demonstrate the same willingness to share then that is some indication.
I hardly know anyone else’s world. It’s a bizarre thought thinking so with billions of people on earth, let alone the few close ones I hold dear… It seems the older we get the more and more we unconsciously box ourselves in. We hide our truth behind jokes and sneers because nothing’s worse than an open heart. How do we get closer without jumping into a joke to save the situation? Small doses are all I can think of. Share tiny things with someone you care about and if they don’t ridicule you then you’re on the right track. And if they do don’t see it as an absolute to your relationship, either acknowledge that they might not be ready to share their world or receive yours or perhaps they don’t share the same style of thinking as you. Either way there’s nothing wrong with being friends of a polar opposite (sometimes they prove the most fascinating of friends) as long each can appreciate the other’s difference and approaches it with interest and care.

‘And so what’s love got to do with this?’ You ask. Well I guess my theory is that if you can share your whole world with someone, and I mean: if you don’t think twice before telling them something, if you suddenly want to know what they think of your ideas, if you tend to notice things you think they might like, if you can talk about any topic under the sun, if you’re not afraid of expressing something you dislike within yourself and know that by sharing it with them might make you feel better and perhaps work towards a solution of inner peace, if you feel comfortable just thinking about them and if you can sit in solitude next to each other or in each other’s arms and be satisfied, when you can do all these things (and much more I hope) then you’ve begun sharing your world. If you can connect on these levels and have the same amazing connection intimately then I think this might be what ‘love’ is. I’ve heard people call this type of person your ‘soulmate’ and now it is clear to me what they must mean. The power of companionship is a commanding feature that I would never go without. I would rather be single and have incredible friendships than be in a relationship where I can’t share my world or know my partner’s.

This kind of companionship should be something we all crave (I know I do) because we all deserve to experience the kind of love my friend has with her partner. This kind of experience is different to the average relationship which means being wise with whomever you choose to be with. What I mean is to be wise in the emotional sense: always follow your feelings but try not to throw your heart away to just anyone in the hope that they will someday give you theirs, because if they don’t show it to you at the start then they probably never will. And if you’re the opposite, be extra careful of not starting something with someone you’re not that taken by (biggest mistake I’ve made, but there’s no regret- how else could I have learned to listen to myself? Real passion for someone is worth being single for). Having a soulmate must be a rarity that not every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Sally) will have with you. No one should expect things from people or expect them to understand or care, these will just come naturally with the right person. And don’t be a romantic fool in thinking that there’s only one person out there for you. No, no, no, no. That’s just a silly tale. Be realistic about things. Be yourself. Be willing to love. Be open to vulnerability and sharing your world with someone who tickles your fancy and you just might get lucky.

By Danielle Sophia Raffaele.
Written 23/5/09 and 24/5/09

The Worlds in Us

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