11:20 AM, Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012:
I've spent the better part of my relationship with Talya saying "for us...". I describe these wildly romantic moments, incredibly perfect situations and I end each description with "for us...". I always feel the need to have that disclaimer. Without it, it seems like I'm implying we're better than others, or that others should judge their relationships to that sort of "fairy-tale" bar. That's ridiculous. And the truth is, I'm a writer. The Journey is a real-time romance novel. I sing and write songs. I edit short-films of the events in our life. It adds a layer of "make-believe" to our relationship that's over-the-top even if it's the truth. So, as I've stated before, I never want people to read about our relationship and think that their relationship is somehow lacking. This is what works... for us.
However (you knew there had to be a caveat)...
I am seeing more and more articles/conventional wisdom about how to deal with the "real world" in regards to relationships. A world where, you know, your relationship is a bunch of compromise and hard-work. Ignoring those silly romance movies and lowering your expectations to literally that of the connection you have with your Starbucks barista in the morning. And I really just have to say: enough. Strip away all the songs, all the movies, all the "showy" romantic stuff on this site and what Talya and I have is not only attainable... it's inside everyone. Yet all I see are people trying to adjust to mediocrity. Accept that what you want isn't possible. Find happiness in "well, someone else out there has it worse." And why?
I mean, sweet jesus people. It starts with YOU. Ya know why I can even process how wonderful Talya is? I've dealt with my shit. I've failed. I've picked myself up. I've been to the ends of the earth emotionally, umpteen times. I've got a wealth of experience. I know exactly who I am and what makes me happy. I was accountable to every woman I ever met or even spoke with. Still am. Because of that, I have no issue saying "this is who I am and what will make me happy."  In fact within 2 weeks of meeting Talya, I had no problem looking at her background and saying:  "Yeah, I'm never gonna give a shit about that type of affluence. I live below my means and am happier because of it." And so I'm specifically talking to those people who are presently settling:
Look for the flaws and flags IMMEDIATELY. Don't try and GROW into something while walking past red flags. Red flags are signs that the other person will not mesh with you down the road when things get "real". Red flags are your body's way of warning you that this is going to get really difficult once "real" life takes over. Signs that the person in front of you isn't ready for a relationship with you. Don't yearn sooooo much for companionship that you ignore the conflicts. Set your bar HIGH for a mate. If you don't think you're worth it? Deal with THAT. ALONE. Talya and I were honest as ballllllllllllls at the beginning (balls are far more honest than people give them credit). "I don't want a relationship. And I think we come from completely different worlds and they aren't going to mesh." That's how it started. And as time passed? I realized she actually felt the same way I did - just from the other side. She had seen the negative side of money. We don't spend money together, we spend time together. But you know what? To some people? To other women I've been with? The lack of spending made THEM unhappy. There is no right and wrong in what you like or who you are. Don't be afraid of wanting to make midget porn the rest of your life, find someone who likes watching MIDGET PORN. Certainly don't hide that.
You know, I never really thought of it as ballsy to have that conversation with Talya so early, but to some it must have been. However, I wasn't clamoring to have a relationship so I had no bias. There was no pressure. I could look at her even though I liked her and liked spending time with her and say:  "I don't see this workin' out." And then? Having the patience to see if I was right. I wasn't. I had it dead wrong. And thank GODDDDDDDDD I had processed previous heartache so well that I didn't run as we got closer. And of course, the rest is history. Once my biggest fears were calmed (I mean if a rich girl can handle broken windows and a dumpster couch clearly "money" wasn't that big of a deal to her) I found peace. The lesson is clear:
Know who you are, and demand the level of happiness you want. I happen to be a peacenik. The more I learn about it, I seem to be a Buddhist. My ideal is "floating downstream". So when I say "demand", I don't mean actually, verbally, demand... anything. But in my mind? I knew that was the bar. I would never, ever, ever settle for less than that. Not after the life I had lead. Not after the stress I had seen. Fortunately? There were no other red flags. We just fit. Had there been? I'd have had no problem talking about it, bringing it up and maybe admitting that our labels may not be "husband and wife". And for the first time in a dozen years, I fit with someone as "husband and wife". So peacefully, "mother and father" were a foregone conclusion. Certainly never had that before. Yay. It's nice when it works out...
...but come on people - stop telling yourself you can't be swept off your feet, you can. Stop telling yourself that attraction doesn't matter and you just want a "nice person" - you can have both. Stop telling yourself that it's only in the movies, it isn't. Stop telling yourself you're too old, you're not. Stop telling yourself that "men don't think like that" or "women are nuts" - those generalizations are relative and depend greatly on the happiness of the person saying those generalizations. Stop telling yourself you might be more unhappy if you leave your unhappy situation so you're better off staying. If you do that you may still have the following moment...
...but it will be littered with thoughts of "what if". What-if you had listened to your unhappiness, and found something better? Would you have a more involved father for your baby? Suddenly you're no longer making poor decisions for YOUR well-being, you've made them for your kid. How 'bout that?
 And for the love of ALL THAT IS BEAUTIFUL, stop thinking that piece of paper is more important than your happiness or the happiness of your significant other. If it ends up your husband really wanted kids although you didn't and thought he could live the rest of his life without them but was wrong? Let him go. If your wife thought she could live away from her family when you got married but a few years in is miserable and you'd be just as miserable moving back? Love each other enough to let go. You think there's more integrity in watching your loved one be unhappy the rest of their lives because you stayed married? How 'bout stringing them along until their in their 40s and can no longer have children? All because you didn't want to be alone?
You know, they say money is the root of all evil, when in fact it isn't. Fear is. Let go of your fears and learn to dance with your failures? Happiness will surround you.