You Can’t Keep Things That Don’t Want To Be Kept

You can’t keep things that don’t want to be kept.

And you certainly can’t keep people. The ultimate respect you can confer on another human being is an understanding that, whatever relationship you have with them, they are autonomous. They can go where they please.

And if they don’t want to be with you, then … they don’t.

That’s life. It’s always a risk, getting involved in a relationship. We are such a possessive society. I originally typed race, but that implies it’s a genetic imperative. I don’t think that’s true. Possessiveness is a social construct.

Because of that social conditioning, it’s hard to let go of something we think we should have. That we think we’ve earned – through our kindness, our understanding, our financial backing, our LOVE.

But you don’t earn people. You ask them in, and if you’re very lucky, they stay. But if they choose to go, you let them. That’s the most generous thing you can do for another human being. That IS love.

It’s hard, because we make ourselves feel that their presence is part of our own self worth. And it isn’t. We are worthy regardless. The presence of other people isn’t what makes us worthwhile.

I’m still working my way through this. I am navigating the whole idea of relationships with a completely different compass. I often don’t do it right. No one does all the time. We have to be gentle with each other.

But I love the challenge of approaching relationships differently – friendships, romance, whatever. I want my life to be about my own choices – and that most certainly requires accepting others’ choices.

I want to love and laugh and listen to beautiful music and create lovely things and make love in the middle of an afternoon and accept. I want it to be about efficiency of time – my time. I want it spent in the best possible way, with the people I care about most. I’m always so afraid that life will be a drudge until the end.

Maybe my constant fretting about that is what makes it a drudge. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m still working my way through it.

But I’ve learned a lot about how to treat other people in the last year – more so than I think I learned in first 36 years of my life. And that’s saying something.

That doesn’t always manifest itself well on Twitter when I’m three bourbons deep. But I’ll keep working through it … and owning my mistakes. Hopefully it will lead me somewhere happy.

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