0012 – Levelling With A Romantic

Sunrise over Penang, December 2022

The most important thing I need in a partner and a friend is the ability to level with me. Are you big enough to fight the worst parts of me? Are you skilled enough to talk me down from the ledge? Are you clear sighted enough to see my fears as distinct from me?

This does not give me license to be my worst for the sake of it but it gives me the freedom to be bad when I need to be. Sometimes I will fall, break down and need picking up and putting back together. In fact, I think life is about that. I think if one never breaks down, one can never be rebuilt in a better way. We are born out of crises – we are borne out of crises.

The world is kind of plain, actually. It is what it is but it’s our expectations of it and the mismatch that can freak us out. There’s nothing to fear, really. Death was always there. It’s the facing of death or the death of our hopes that is the most scary thing and being scared requires some helping.

The best part about having a lot of friends is taking on the different ego deaths with each of them. Maybe we’re afraid of something happening in our jobs or in our love life or with family. Each friend will be better suited for different conversations depending on what they know of the world and what they know of you.

I love my female friends because they naturally know what it’s like to be a woman and are able to translate it for me. We are all exploring in our own ways and we can ping our network to get insight from the edges of the world. We live amongst and through others. One thing I like to do is to keep quotes from friends by writing #quote in a conversation.

Here’s something T said: 

“So like a mask can also be seen as an addiction in a sense. Ref. hardest addictions to beat are the ones that make you feel normal.

Best by a long shot way to beat them is to replace it with something healthy that can serve the same purpose

How to replace addictive masks”

We were talking about how people move through the world and the usefulness of some masks. This is something I’ve always wrestled with, how to be myself. I’ve been very lucky where I’ve grown up. I’ve never really had to modulate myself that much. I feel my parents accepted me as who I was and so did my friends, when I was younger at least. I had good people around me as a kid that loved me and thought I was funny and more or less had pretty good times with. I’ve rarely had to mask and if someone didn’t find me a certain way, I didn’t mind because I had a belief that someone would in a way down the road.

I received the greatest compliment the other day: “The first impression I had of you was the most consistent I’ve ever had”. Simon said that when we were recounting how we met. It’s kind of sad when people reveal themselves over time for the worse. I think revealing in terms of gaining a higher resolution, our hopes, our fears and maybe our ugly cries but I really believe the honesty, way of being and style can be found out (in the best people) within the first few minutes of meeting them. Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe people do dip, maybe they do ghost but maybe the entire point is to pretend like they won’t because that gives you a chance at least.

I guess we don’t know how the world will react, if there are bad actors but what we can do is pretend like everyone on the other side is good. I admire people with bad experiences because they have more reason to be cynical. A good outlook from a bad place is far more precious. The thing with kind people who have had a good life it’s almost too pure. It seems fragile. If you’ve seen it all and you can still roll the dice, I think that’s beautiful.

Masks take energy to wear. My friend was asking me when to know if someone isn’t right for you and my answer has basically come down to energy levels. If you’re tired after being around them that’s a big sign. If you’re energised after being around them, that’s a big sign. If you can rest and not mask up that’s the entire point. You need to be around those who can bring you to the true version of yourself. I think in some ways we have to use some part of ourselves to interact with others. One side of our face, of our soul. If it’s close to who we are they we get to know ourselves better.

A classic break up situation is when people feel pulled away from themselves. They don’t recognize themselves anymore because they put so much effort in making it work. But the real relationships I think people become more of themselves. They are centered within each other. They are supported and they can grow. I see this with friends and partners. The best versions of ourselves come out, they are summoned and cultivated. To level with you, to banter, to reach the point where we can talk I need to be on my A-game in the best way possible.

Be with people around whom you are proud of yourself. Be with people with whom you can look back on and say, yes that happened and it was great. It was not mediocre, it was great. Maybe we need to cover some needs sometimes, sometimes we are lonely, sometimes we make do but I don’t think we should ever give up that hope that it can be more. That’s the inherent truth of romantics, that the ideal is always there. Maybe it just takes time.

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