I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
We had gotten a pretty big group of people together to go to the movies. From what I remember it was about four cars full of friends but it was almost 10 years ago and I guess that really doesn’t matter now. What does is the movie we went to see. It was the movie called The Break-up with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. It was a decent enough movie. Had it not been filmed in my city down the street from where most of us lived none of us probably would have gone to see it or even given it a solid C- rating. But I guess that really isn’t what this is about either. What this is about is a brief scene that came to haunt many of us in that audience. The dishes scene. If you have seen this movie, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t you can watch it here.
When we walked out of the theater, a couple that we were friends with was quietly arguing. We noticed but tried to ignore it hoping they would finish before we got back to the car in order to avoid an awkward ride back home. At some point, she burst out crying. Later on, she told us that scene was just “too real” for her. At the time, I kind of rolled my eyes and thought about how she should get her shit together if she’s going to hold on to some brief scene of a lackluster movie, but now I want to find her and apologize because, unfortunately, now I get it.
I write often about appreciation for a reason. So many of us don’t realize the impact all the little things we do to, for, because, and in-spite of the person we love. Our love is fluid. It might always be there but with varying viscosity. And despite of everything that is thrown at us and the bullshit we have to fight through on a daily basis and the oftentimes overwhelming insecurity burning a hole in the back of our heads, our character is based upon how we hold and keep the vulnerability the people we love intrust in us. Meaning, yes. You should want to do the goddamn dishes. Not because you like doing dishes but because you know how something so seemingly insignificant will make the person you love feel more confident in their investment.
So many of us get lazy in our situations. We do our best to impress someone for the first few dates, and from there it is usually a slow decline. It comes with the comfort factor. Because when we get comfortable, we get lazy. And when lazy goes unchecked, important moments fall through the cracks. Simple things like taking out the trash, or doing the dishes, a simple text in the middle of your day just to ask how you’re doing. Shit like that is more important to the health of a relationship than people realize.
I had to learn the hard way – at the expense of others. I was clueless like most of us. No parent or teacher or influential person ever sat me down and said, “Chris, this is how you make someone feel loved and appreciated.” And I wish they had. I wish they had a class on it in school that everyone had to take. One that began with, “Now start taking notes because the things you will learn here will make your life so much easier.” Instead, I spent weeks memorizing formulas and taking tests on integers and learning how to make a quiche. Two things that I could literally forget at this very second and it wouldn’t make any difference on the course of the rest of my life. But if someone has sat down and spent 30 goddamn minutes explaining,
“Hey, you don’t like being treated unfairly, right? You don’t like when people take advantage of you, right? You like when the person you trust with your faith and love returns that to you, right? Well so do they. Meaning, you respect them how you would expect your love and vulnerability to be respected. And how you do that is by, not only telling them, but more importantly, SHOWING them that they matter. That they are always in your thoughts. Because if you allow someone to believe that you aren’t thinking about them, well then you’re doing a poor job of respecting their love.”
That. Now that would have made a difference. I just needed one class that explained, not that you should like to do the dishes, but that you should want to WANT to do the dishes for someone you care for.
And that would have made all the difference in the world…
To the people who have trusted me with their love.