Before last week’s poetry break, I was in DC pondering my current relationship with Dan and relationships in general. The reason for some of the internal struggle went back to the early days of Dan and my relationship, which had started the previous fall. While most of our time was relaxed, there was one incident which left me with a question mark.
My step father had been dealing with cancer for the last 8 years. After seeing him go through another round of chemo I was feeling emotionally drained and having one of those ‘why does this happen to people?’ moments. As a coping mechanism, I turned on a documentary about India’s slums and the horrible lot of it’s poorest people. Dan could not fathom why I would turn on such a depressing thing. He was upset enough with my viewing choice he stomped out of the room. It later became a fight with me justifying how I process and cope with hard emotions. With him coming down on the side that I was not ‘normal’.
I wondered if that was true. Was I so strange? Did wanting to see the suffering of the world at large to ground my small problems make me abnormal? I didn’t know. What I did glimpse was that I might never truly be able to process hard things with Dan. If that was how I dealt with things and Dan deemed it somehow unworthy, how would I ever be able to let my guard down in hard times without the fear of being judged?
He showed me that I might have to consider him while processing whatever hardships could befall us as a couple too. Would I always have to be ‘the strong’ one? Could I live with that if it meant having everything else I wanted? Maybe I just caught him on an off day? After all, we were a young dating couple getting to know each other.
Isn’t that an integral part of the dating process? Seeing the other person in different situations, and learning and growing from them? Barring my step dad having cancer, things had been good. Dan and I were enjoying each other. And as time passed the memory of the incident over the documentary fell out of focus.
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