Van Kahvaltı - No Gender Difference in Unhealthy Drama

Life Coach Roxanne Jackson asked:  "Why don't women have healthy relationships with one another?

My before-coffee response was this:
Yeah, I think we have unhealthy emotional relationships with women for the same reason we get into unhealthy emotional relationships with men, but in different ways. I am guessing it originates with a need to connect that turns into a demand to connect that ultimately will accept any connection it can get, which can turn into drama addiction among other things. Whoa. I need to go think about this.
So I got myself a coffee and thought about this. As you may expect by now, what came out isn't obviously tangential to what went in, but it is.

I struggle these days with lack of connection, choosing to rein in the beast rather than go out and try on new persons. Clothing is a pretty good metaphor. I know exactly what I want when it comes to clothes; it's useless to experiment because I'll end up shoving the new adventure into the back of my closet, disregarded. Pizza would not be a good metaphor, because I know the difference between gourmet and cardboard but I'll eat either one. Where do people fit?

Non-romantic connections and attempts at romance are equally complicated. Either way, you put yourself out there, and you can suddenly feel like you've put yourself too far out there. No way to comfortably reel back in. The level of emotional commitment doesn't necessarily have anything to do with physical entanglement.  I think we all knew this, even if we forgot to think about it.

Let's start thinking about it.

Soul connections are a different animal; you've probably noticed some already, or you've had confusing relationships because you didn't know how to interpret the connection. These are people with whom you can feel remarkably intimate, often in a non-romantic way, like you've always known them.

Thinking you feel a connection doesn't mean you should foist it upon a body. A connection needs agreement. Relationships are the same regardless of gender or romance: either they work or they don't.

Break-ups are break-ups. One of the messiest I've had was with a fellow poet* who stormed through my house and took back a photo she'd given me, slamming into a rocking chair on my porch as she left. The chair fell to pieces like a metaphor. We still connect.

Intent is a big factor - what do we want when we look for connection? Flexibility is good. "Whatever" is a bad answer. Don't just take what you can get; make sure all parties benefit from the connection. Sometimes the benefits are not immediate, and sometimes they aren't consistent. I think fishing is a good metaphor here: there's enjoyment in the process, and sometimes you land a big one. Sometimes you let the fish go.

Each of us falls into the river.
We feel it pour like fear through our hair.
Then we get up,
chilled, dripping and changed.
- Robert Haight, from Nymphs (for Joy Harjo)

Am I wrong to pre-judge my fellow humans so harshly, withholding the option to explore connection? I don't think so, not at this time, because what I've got to offer isn't as generous as it used to be. I never liked being shoved into the closet, and I don't want to do it to anyone else. I'm conscious how much of myself I can afford to give away. I'm suspicious of myself that I won't remember the boundary when I come to it - and give away too much of myself - which would lead me to consider all my gifts as wasted resources.

I don't want to waste any more. I'm learning to be conservative. I've been having a conversation with my soul-connection Peter Kidd about poets and revolution. He advocates for "shrinking the world." Let the poets take charge, I say.

Please note that I said "not at this time." I give myself permission to adjust later. If it feels right, I can put too much of myself out there again. I'm old and I can do whatever I want, so. For now, I'm shrinking my world - re-investigating, reinvesting in the connections I already have, finding undiscovered meaning therein.

Further Reading:

Igneus Press
Get your revolutionaries here. Do it soon, so you know what I'm talking about when we get to the Big Texas World Tour. It's coming.

Robert Haight
I learned all the things I didn't think I needed to know about writing from Rob Haight.  Thanks, hippie. Yeah, you know that poet of whom I speak.
Buy the book Emergences and Spinner Falls

And while we're on a topic of Texas:
Concrete Blonde - Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix Cover)
In my opinion, this is one of the highest levels of art you're gonna find - Concrete Blonde covering Jimi Hendrix. Where's the Texas, you ask?  Stevie Ray Vaughn, of course. It's all rolled together in my brain and I am really looking forward to this trip. Texas has history oil-deep with me.

Aside: You don't drop James Mankey's guitar. Never tried; just heard it said.

* Also aside: I'm using the term poet as a particular disposition, because it is. Often these people do write poetry, but sometimes their poetry comes out in other forms, like landscaping or cuisine, or working on engines. Poetry is all around us.

This cup is a gift mailed me by a soul connection.
I have a rocking chair on my patio at Tiny Cottage. 


  1. Talking about connections: I use the electrical metaphor of sources and sinks. Sources provide you with energy, sinks pull it out of you. Spend time with sources and stop spending time with sinks. It has kept my life simple and mostly enjoyable.

  2. I like this- there have definitely been pseudo romantic connections in my life with other straight women, though mostly when I was younger (like freshman year of college and earlier). Summer friendships that were deep but then we never saw each other again, for instance. Or my awkward "girl crush" (platonic friendship but I was waaay too clingy since I felt alone freshman year) on my first college friend, it turned out we weren't good long-term friends and went awkward and sour.

    It's funny how knowing someone only a little can lead to the freedom to open up - maybe too fast, like the temptation to confide in a stranger. Those strong connections are exciting but you have to be careful with them not to jump in too fast- with women or men, romantic or platonic (mix and match both of these). I'm at the other side from you right now- my connections contracted too much for a while and now I'm opening up again. Need to get out and meet people, stick my toe in the water. Maybe try not to totally plunge in. Also I clearly need to read more poetry! Sorry for wall-o-text :p

    1. I love your wall-o-text, Unknown friend, and I am about to reciprocate! I've been practicing Mindful STFU for several months now, and I suspect that the benefits have not been obvious but will be long-lasting. You said so much so very well; if you'd said these things to me a few years ago I may have made faster progress. I appreciate also your demographic of "the other side" because there's a definite cycle. The biggest benefit to me has been learning to not anticipate. That may actually help me learn to follow in dancing...hmm.


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