Camen Design

© copyright

The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

Loss of Perspective = Loss of Motivation; Pt 1

Isn’t it amazing how easily people can get demotivated? This is why so many diets and relationships and career plans fail. It happens to me, oh… only about ten times a day. I know I want to lose weight and sort out all the other little niggles in my life. I know no one can do this but me. So why do I sometimes feel like I want to stay in bed all day and eat chocolate and spend money I don’t have?

For me, motivation slips into the background when I lose perspective. My mind is my most effective weapon but also my worst enemy. It goes on and on, and never stops. There is a constant, never-ceasing commentary to my life going in my head. I have learned not to listen to it all the time but it seems that every time I feel tired or unwell (mentally or physically), this ability fades away until I become completely wrapped up in my thoughts and completely lose all perspective on the importance of these thoughts or feelings or the situation at hand. I particularly like the English expression ‘blow things out of proportion’ because when my mind is not reigned in, it feels liek a true explosion in my head.

For example, take my SO and our relationship. We have agreed at the very beginning that there are to be no mind games or relationship-type machinations. I am tired of dishonesty that’s disguised as something necessary or standard in a relationship. Not just accepted but expected — women scheming how to make the man commit, men finding out new ways to get out of the commitment. They dance this crazy tango in amazing synchronisation. I never gave it a thought until I was working for a woman who in my head is the embodiment of falseness. I overheard her on the phone once, dishing out advice to a friend who was chasing this eligible bachelor for years, going to such extent as to convert from her Catholic faith to Judaism (for those who don’t know, this involves a long process and is mentally strenuous if you aren’t truly convinced your new faith is the true one — which she wasn’t, she had told my boss this). She had converted successfully and expected him to pop the question the minute she was declared Jewish. When he started dragging his feet, she freaked out and called my boss for advice. Her advice? Withdraw all affections and sex until he proposes, and then get pregnant immediately after the wedding. Because this “helps men overcome their commitment issues” (doesn’t put mad pressure on him for what should be a nice relaxed time in their life together, oh no).

If this surprised me, nothing could have prepared me for the birthday present from her. I got the full collection of The Rules. What? You don’t know The Rules? How do you live?!

The Rules is THE handbook for the marriage/dating-savvy girl. It deals with things like dating (if he calls before Wednesday, you go out with him that Saturday night; if he leaves it till after Wednesday, you must decline, even if you have no plans — this will teach him to schedule you into his plans well in advance), or sex (not before three months into the relationship), or even such mundane thing as phone calls (only return one for every four missed phone calls from him; keep it casual — while looking at the stopwatch that you keep on your bedside table; make sure the call is not longer than seven minutes and be the one who terminates it, with a chirpy “I have a million things to do! Let’s speak again soon!”, knowing full well you won’t return the next three phone calls). There is a Rule for everything. And if the original Rules book doesn’t cover the topic properly, there is always the other Rules books — one for online dating, another for dating your ex. And the purpose of these literary gems? How to get the man to marry you, but of course!

But what if, and you can call me crazy, I don’t want to train my man like a dog to respect me the way I want to be respected? Indeed, if he doesn’t respect me to start with, is he worth keeping and dog-training? What if I want him to want to schedule me into his plans without having to decline all dates if they come after Wednesday (and what if our date is to be on a Tuesday, or Thursday even, rather than Saturday night)? What if I don’t feel so keen into manipulating my boyfriend into proposing? Because if he did, then for the rest of my life I would be hiding the book in mortal fear that he’ll find it and read it and feel cheated; or in constant nagging doubt whether he would have ever proposed without the clever manipulative psychology of my Rules.

Once I read the Rules, I lost the rose-coloured glasses about people. I re-ran the Sex and the City and Ally McBeal and Friends episodes I had watched as a teenager in my head, and saw them not as funny anymore but tragic. I could suddenly understand why men were clawing their way out of even the smallest commitment, and I couldn’t blame them. But I was facing the first mental crisis of my life in the UK — if there are no more honest people in the world, if everyone plays these games, then what is there left for me? I can either refuse to play them and be the ‘weirdo’ who will forever be disappointed with every relationship; or bend to the ‘norm’ and be fake and pretentious and generally someone I am sicked out by, in order to have a boyfriend (who may or may not genuinely love me, I would never know).

I guess my boss decided for me — one day she brought in these clip-in hair extensions for me to wash for her, in preparation of a night out. She told me she bought them at one of the top hair salons in London and they cost an arm and a leg but they were well worth it because her husband loves long hair on women. These extensions would give her an extra two or three inches of length which he would definitely find sexy. So far, so good — nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive to your husband, right? Then the bomb: “make sure you have these ready for me for the evening, washed and blow-dried, and hidden in my bedside table — I don’t want my husband to know about them” — I laughed, because I was mistakenly treating this statement as a joke. Even if he was distracted enough not to notice the extra length, surely he will ask what the metal clips are for when he runs his hand through her hair? She looked at me blankly and said “he never would run his hand though my hair” and with that left the room. So I collected my jaw from the floor and went about shampooing the fake hair that some poor Philipino lady sold so she can feed her kids that day. A perfect Rules marriage, Stepford-wives style. I decided I'd rather be the weirdo for the rest of my life.

I went through a few relationships then, observing the guys who sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, would try and establish the commitment boundaries (subtle ways would include calling me his ‘chick’ in front of his friends, implying the casual nature of our relationship; the more direct would include anxious faces and psycho eyes while telling me “I told you from the beginning I didn’t want a girlfriend — you are NOT MY GIRLFRIEND” despite going out for three months or thereabouts. Oh ok, my bad.). It may be worth noting that every guy I ever went out with knew about my no-games philosophy, and they all wholeheartedly agreed with it.

Imagine my surprise when I met my amazing boyfriend. He, too, agreed with the above, and I thought ‘yeah, I've heard this before — just you wait till you find out how brutally honest I can be’. The amazing thing about him, he meant it. In my day-to-day reality, this translates into perhaps sometimes hearing truths I would rather not have to listen to, but at least I can fully trust that what he tells me is the unadulterated truth, whether I like it or not. I know he won’t lie to hide things from me, he won’t lie to placate me, he will tell me what he really thinks if I ask. This, in turn, means that I fully trust him. I have never trusted any bloke before — the only people I do trust is my mum and my female friends, and I have always maintained that men are not to be trusted so this is all new territory. One I am starting to really like.

I know he won’t crumble and die if I air my opinions, if I tell him what I like and what I don’t, and for the first time in my life, I feel free in a relationship.