Back in Senior High, I would meet my friend Alissa at the barn after class. We’d groom our horses until they glistened while we chatted like … well, girls. In no time, we’d have mounted our most trusted steeds and confidants and ride off through the fields and forests, carrying with us the fervor and excitement of a conversation about… well, boys namely, and other interrelated minutia. Our rides were full of the fresh laughter and innocence of virgins filled with wonder and intrigue about all those would be firsts. Who would it be? What would it be like? Would it be messy? The curiosity of our conversations would be drown out by the rhythm of hoof beats in the soft dirt of the fields as we raced the butterflies through the tall grass.
“We could write a book!” I exclaimed from my saddle.
“We could call it ‘Kissing Lessons’” Alissa replied, and our mirth, hopes and curiosities filled the trails through the pines.
Racing 10 years into the late spring of 2008: after years of experiences in the realms of love and relationship, and many stories worth telling, I found myself sitting in a rose garden at a local tea house for happy hour with two other beautiful and intelligent women in the same situation as myself. We were all still in our first relationship of 6 years — first being the operative word. As we opened up our stories and dished them up to the table, we found similar variations on many themes.
But, more importantly, in light of the lack of comparison to any other relationship, we still were full of questions and uncertainty: Is this really what it’s all about? Is this really it? What else is out there? Does everyone go through this? Are most people settling for relationships like this? WTF?!
What DO you do when all you know is a first love?
It all got me thinking — that table of 3 lovely women who’s firsts were really firsts & and the interrelated matter re: relationships that follows– that these are much needed conversations, for women of all ages. Each story is another chapter of the book, another post on the blog roll.
What I took away from this much needed exchange, besides knowing that I’m not alone in my situation, was that these conversations need to be had for the sake of this awareness, for the sake of the storytelling. I realized that most people (I can only really speak for some women) are stifled in their relationship, but are either afraid to ask questions, or assume that “this must be normal” and in turn, shrink themselves by succumbing to the immensity of self-doubt. This often suppresses our voice, our intuition, the deep wisdom of our soul.
I also realized that not only do these discussions need to be had, but we need to learn the language necessary to be able to articulate what our hearts are trying to tell us, to trust it, and we need the tools to empower and transform our relationships into the healthy gardens that an intimate partnership is intended to be. We need this discussion for our own validation, the validation of our lived experiences, as we trace the movement of desire.
But, as Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
And, it is here we begin.