“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”
Alice Walker, Living by the Word
By: Gabriela Yareliz
Reflections from the Train:
Understanding oneself is a process. Being in a relationship is its own kind of growth. A journey. An attitude adjustment.
I was set in my ways.
(Aren’t we all?)
We learn to grow in different ways, at different stages in our lives.
Lately, I realized that I wasn’t making decisions the way I used to. My whole frame of mind has changed. I was mistaking this different mindset with insecurity, weakness and confusion. I was wondering why things that were so easy to decide and settle in the past were taking longer or were so different. Things change when you aren’t just thinking about yourself. There is another person with a different vision and different expectations joining the decision table. Relationships mold us.
You slowly start building your world with another, which takes work and sacrificing other things. Both sides must do it in order to build a beautiful, unified world.
It’s not just me anymore, which I love, and that comes with its own adjustments and changes. It means potentially more uncertainty, more patience and more compromise.
To the independent women who suddenly find themselves waiting for a contributory opinion, it’s all good. You aren’t crazy; you aren’t weak– I was seriously frustrated with myself, for a couple days, trying to figure out my thought process. Sometimes, I don’t think people realize how hard this is for us. It’s a big step, and it takes a lot of restraint. It’s me saying, I am not only going to let you into my world, I am going to give you space to come in and help me build our world. The private world fades and a shared world emerges. That is a world where there are no unilateral decisions.
This reminds me of what it’s like for two people to learn to dance together. There are hilarious moments, embarrassing moments, and moments of severe frustration (usually that’s week 7 of Dancing with the Stars, when everyone starts breaking down and sobbing in front of the camera). Just like Simone Biles had to learn that dancing was not gymnastics and the value of connection and emotion, we all slowly learn what it means to not be single anymore; the fact that connection, communication and emotion are crucial. Things change.
What did the mom from Princess Diaries II say? “Being married is about being yourself, but with someone else.” That is a deeper statement than I initially thought.
A solo sport is not the same thing as a partnership. Both require a unique set of skills. The partnership is harder. But the partnership is more beautiful because of the challenges it presents. A partnership changes you in ways that you can’t change on your own. You can’t tango by yourself. It takes two to tango. I am learning to dance in my relationship; learning about myself and my partner; learning to be led and to trust. I am learning to collaborate. Each day is a rehearsal where we sweat it out and keep growing. And through all of this, I can’t help but notice that this is how art is made.