Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The greatest thing you'll ever learn

The weekend just gone saw me and Ben not only have an entire 48 hours together (our first proper weekend in months!), but also incorporated a Baz Luhrmann film evening on Sunday night, to the tune of 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Strictly Ballroom'. Both have an innovative approach to cinematography narrative, a humorous, silly side to them, and both focus on a main theme of love and being true to oneself. The former uses music and theatre as its primary medium, whereas the latter uses dance and the idea of breaking away from small-minded subcultures. I think these choices enhance the movies' idealistic take on love, because of how out of place dance and song are in everyday settings. I absolutely adore both films, so it was such a treat to watch them both, back-to-back!

Not only are these two films amongst my all-time favourites, watching movies I love, about love, with the man I love more than anyone, being, or thing, is constantly a refreshing experience for me. I used to hate watching films or listening to music and knowing that Ben would 'get it', but that he wasn't there, and I had no right to call him or write to him to tell him about whatever it was I was watching or listening to. Not that that always stopped me, but gradually I managed to reduce the frequency of such communications. In fact, it got to the point where our contact was merely perfunctory: saying hi on Facebook; the odd update email; a quick check-in on Skype. We had a tendency to lapse into an all-too-close "friendship" if we spent too much time interacting, so it was safer to always be at about three arms' lengths away to stop that from happening. In the end, the PostSecret above (using a still from another favourite film) was what made me wake up to the fact that I couldn't keep running away from what might be possible, if not necessary, inevitable, and vital. Ben sent me the link to this one image on Skype, again just as a passing comment - "I saw this and thought you would appreciate it" - and I remember uttering, quietly but out loud, without really realising what I was saying "No one will ever get me quite like you". The next week I asked Ben how he felt about me, and we both told each other we still felt the same way we always had. The rest is history (and documented on this blog!). A continental leap, marriage, house move, three dogs and a cat later and here we are, happier than I ever thought possible, than I ever dared believe, than I thought I deserved.

I've written before about allowing yourself to be happy. But all this thinking about love, and sharing common experiences with those who experience things in the same way as you, in this instance, made me miss my friends, and not in the way I usually do. Usually I miss them for me, in a mostly selfish way, and miss them for the things I wish I could talk to them about, or how much I enjoy their personalities and company. This time, though, I missed them because I knew that several of them have been or are going through some seriously shitty times, and I desperately want to be there for them (you could of course argue that this is not actually entirely altruistic; being able to support someone you care for has its own rewards for the self as well as the friend concerned). I don't mean this in an arrogant way - obviously they're doing just fine without me, and I don't pretend that there's some magical friendship potion that only I can provide - but rather, I bring it up because a common theme from every single one of those friends who I've spoken to over Skype or via text or email, has been apologising. Apologising for taking up my time, for "moaning", for being negative, and for simply talking about what's been going on and how they're feeling about it.

So here's a message for you, beloved friends. Come what may, I want to be there for you, in the teeny way I can be while I'm over here, and in the full-on, over-the-top, massive hugs and glasses of wine and overly smushy sentimental statements I'm capable of when we're face-to-face. Don't apologise. There is no need. You are loved, and I want you to know that you are loved, wanted, and that it is a privilege when you trust me with what's going on in your world. Let me love you in return for all the wonderfulness you bring to my life. And, all being well, I'll do the aforementioned in person hugs/wine/sloppiness in about three and a half months. Christmas in England, baby!

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