Love hurts

‘What is the point in being artists, if we cannot save our lives? ‘ That is the cry that wakes us in our sleep

– Alice Walker, Horses make a landscape more beautiful.

I am moving out of Mark’s house and through mutual and blameless consent we have decided to finish our partnership.

I have queried the wisdom and the importance of mentioning this fact here on the blog, but in the end decided that it is too significant – both in terms of my creative life/art project and my immediate domestic situation – to omit.

Followers of this blog will know what a large part of my life the relationship with Mark has been and how much joy we have shared so the sudden disappearance of posts about our life together will also seem strange without any explanation. Finally, this blog is a space where I cultivate a sense of myself and my work; a space that will grow in the coming months to fill the new gap. I don’t know what the future looks like. I have given no thought whatsoever to a future without Mark in it and so everything is blank and uncertain. All I know is that there will be thrifting, making Art, and knitting. I have found a bedsit which I will move into in the next couple of weeks and there are so many practical things to sort out that the way I feel will just have to follow. What does the future sound like? How will the new sensibilities and practicalities feed into what I make and write and think about? I do not know, but I am certain that my fumbling search through it all will find some expression here, and I hope this will be a good thing.

The show – Love is Awesome – takes on a new significance in light of all this. I have been thinking lately about how many of the descriptive words we use to describe Love contain a flipside or a second level of meaning. Awesome, terrific, fantastic, wonderful etc. all mean – at face value – very, very good. But awesome is also awe-inspiring. Terrific derives surely on some level from terror. Fantastic has an unreal quality. Wonderful could mean to be filled with wonder as in enchanted, or full of wonder as in uncertainty. ‘I wonder.’ So, yes. It is no lie to say that Love is awesome, terrific, fantastic, wonderful and amazing. But for all that, Love is not always enough, by itself.

But when a relationship comes to an end I think that really it is because the shared Dream of Us can no longer be sustained. I have realistic expectations, I think, about Love. I believe in partnership, in working through things, in overcoming obstacles, in putting up with the really irritating things, in mucking in and working hard and in Love ebbing and flowing. And I believe in Love that lasts for years, and endures many things, and grows old and changes and dies and lives again.

But I also think that the future vision for where the relationship is going needs to be coherent in order to hold the difficult days together, and we sadly cannot agree on what we both want. Our differences in opinion about what we want are in fact so great that The Dream of Us cannot be sustained. And if something isn’t forever, I don’t want to stay because this is good enough for now; good enough is less than either of us deserve. It is comforting to think that many conversations could change the intractable issue of our respective needs and desires; comforting, but untrue.

So rather than faff around, kid myself, lie to myself, lie to Mark, console myself, try to piece back together the shattered ideas I had and eventually drive myself and him insane with endless rounds of irresolveable discussion, I am leaving. I wish there was another way. It would be easier if one of us was a villain; if the love had run out; if one of us had cheated; if there had been a fight in which one of us had said despicable things. But none of these things have happened so we must both be sad, which is harder than being angry.

There is no villain. There are just two entirely different notions of what the future looks like and I really do like us both too much to ask either of us to compromise on things that matter so much.

I am deeply glad for our time together; apart from the past couple of weeks and a couple of really dodgy individual moments, the past four years or so have been an immensely positive experience for both of us. There has been a massive amount of hilarity, many shared joys and sorrows, many culinary experiments, adventuring walks and a refreshing lack of drama. We have turned up to each others’ things, supported each other through bereavement and surgery, planted a garden, walked in the mountains and sung and danced together. It has been passionate and nurturing and has enhanced my belief in Love and partnership and in the deep beauty of relationship. There has been fruit cake and knitted silliness and shared wonderment, and many great conversations, and we have both grown and shown each other things, and learned, and enhanced each others’ lives. I am glad for all of this, I really am. I respect and love The Man, and for a long time I believed 100% in The Dream of Us.

But I also love and respect myself, and there is The Dream of Felix which – if it cannot be integrated into our partnership – is too important to abandon.

So let us not gossip, nor express regret, nor imagine things differently, nor try to establish blame, nor turn the blog into a soap opera. Instead, I want to see what can be created now, to be sad for as long as I am sad for, and to feel good about believing in – and following – my heart.

Mark is the most amazing man I have ever met and it will take a long time to reconcile myself with the fact that ‘we’ are over. But we are.

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