Driving Caitlin home from a Dexter-inspired shoot last week, we had ourselves a fine conversation. Nothing too heady, stuff about LA, acting, having enough time to do everything you want.
And it occurred to me, while listening, that in the month we’d known each other, it was the first real conversation we’d had, the first one that wasn’t just jokes and snark.
My first article here, I talked about the fact that it takes a good long time to get to know someone.
What I’ve recently learned, however, is that there’s a good deal more to it than just that.
After a month of seeing a girl, she broke it off. I took it hard. I’d seen a lot of possibility in the thing, I’d felt relief at being free from The Search. I’d felt a lot of things.
But it was pointed out that all this heartbreak was perhaps disproportionate to the actual experience of the relationship. That some folks didn’t have it this bad after relationships of two years.
The key to growth is to continually examine yourself, your motivations. To seek and work towards personal improvement. But there is a crucial component that people often find incredibly difficult.
Perspective. That week after the break-up (is it even okay to call it that) I took it all apart, laid the blame at her feet, cut myself of from her Internet presence, started the extensive healing process.
Until that point of proportionality was brought up. Gotta say, it made me re-evaluate the whole thing. Had I been trying to get to know her that month? Definitely. Had I been rushing things in my own mind, even when we’d agreed to take it slow? Yep. I’d forgotten the words I’d written here half a year ago. Forgotten the advice i’d given others countless times.
Yeah, it takes real life contact to get to know somebody. It takes effort.
But it also takes time. It cannot be rushed.
It is necessary to be a detective of my own mind. Problem being, most of the time I’m stuck trying to solve mysteries after the fact.
Another common warning I give folks, often a person impedes actually getting to know someone by crafting this image of them, this idealized version. And it’s that illusion they see, instead of the actual person. In doing so, they perform a kind of wish-fulfillment, and they also create for themselves a significant obstacle to actually getting to know a person.
In the end, I was as dismayed by the fact that the reality of the situation wasn’t exactly what I’d been thinking it was. I’d interpreted things a particular way because of what I wanted them to be, as opposed to how they actually were.
I’ve got an ex-girlfriend who considers our relationship a failure because it didn’t work out. But thinking about that relationship, and this one, I’m of a decidedly different opinion.
It’s not failure if you learned something. It’s a lesson.
It’s not failure if you avoided a bad situation. It’s escape.
Of course, this is far easier to write than actually do.
And it’s not at all easy to write. But this is where it starts, if there’s any hope of the Next Time working out.
Take it slowly. Not just that, but understanding why a considered pace is so crucial.
During our conversation, Caitlin talked about finding the right agent for her acting career. Sometimes, as good as the pitch is, time shows that it’s not a good fit. Sometimes the agent’s focus is different from their client’s. Lots of factors involved in whether the two are right for each other.
Turns out that’s true for a lot of things.