Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strength and Conditioning

If you were asked to live underwater for the remainder of your life, what immediate skill sets would you require to survive? For one, you would have to learn how to convert oxygen from the water into a breathable gas, and since we humans are not equipped with gills, we would need some sort of everlasting breathing apparatus. We would also have to learn all the dangers of the ocean and conduct ourselves accordingly, as to not end up on some fisherman’s hook or a midday snack for a great white. Failure to adapt and evolve in that environment would literally render you a fish out of water and undoubtedly result in death. Taking the same lessons for evolution and survival into account, what skills would an individual from a single parent household require to survive in a relationship?

Although no child is responsible for being raised in a single parent household, living life like a victim (or not realizing that you were one) will undoubtedly ensure future failures. And since my definition of single parent households is not rooted solely in the traditional connotation, you may want to take note. If you only had one parent available as a child, you grew up in a single parent household (obvious enough). If you had both parents in the house, but one was not there physically or emotionally, you grew up in a single parent household. If you grew up in a household with one or both parents engaging in an abusive relationship, you very well could be an orphan. Not learning at all is far better than learning incorrectly if your application results in others adopting, then perpetuating misguided methodologies. As an adult however, the burden of your relationship’s success lies squarely on your shoulders.

Teamwork, Communication, and consideration for your partner are but a few lessons that could easily be missed when growing up with only one parent present. If there were no other male-female relationship archetypes available as a frame of reference, aside from the parent-child model, then the ability to go forth and relate intimately to your own partner is hindered. Single parents probably develop their kids to also be single parents unknowingly and by default. They may also feel guilty about single parenthood and either over compensate or under develop in certain areas (like not whooping lil’ Jo Jo’s butt when he acts up because yo baby daddy ain’t doing right by him). And since these kids have had to make peace with their realities from childhood, under what hallucinogens would they have to be subjected to as adults in order to undertake the task of amending a perfectly dysfunctional but functional business model? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? Here’s the catch though; it is broken. You’ve just been hopping around on one leg for so long that bipedal means of transport seems foreign to you. You do not want to be a single parent either (no one does). You just don’t know how not to be. Assuming you even want to try and change, you are also not going to become fluent in Italian after conversing in English all your life, UNLESS you make a daily, concerted effort to learn another language. So order the Roseta Stone Language of Love Cd’s immediately if you intend on living like Cliff & Claire Huxtable.

Lets be clear here, no one ever said children with both parents had the market cornered on relationship skills either. As stated earlier, a flat tire is just as good as no tire at all so please don’t pat yourself on the back because your workaholic, alcoholic, molestoholic, physical abusuaholic dad lived with you. There are also lessons not taught / reinforced when one grows up in a dual parent household. The notion that a partner is essential for survival creates codependent tendencies and can be mentally debilitating when ascribing to the ideal that you are supposed to be in a relationship (but currently aren’t).

Successful single parents are empowering examples for those without the luxury of both. To be quite honest, those examples are very necessary in this day and age as the number of joint parent families drastically diminish. I can’t help but wonder if healthy relationships skills have become obsolete, and just when I think I know what I’m supposed to be doing too. I finally get the hang of this Facebook thing and everyone’s moved on to Twitter.

So enough with the reasons why it is what it is. I am here to make suggestions to make it not what it was so it can be something else (don’t worry, I’m confused too). I bid you all adieu with some helpful hints for dysfunctional adults: Wesside!!

1. Communication. I know you are not comfortable with this because you do not have experience but you have to start now. Communication is not just about speaking on the things that you are comfortable speaking on. If you are getting bored in your relationship for instance, although hard to address, speak on it. You could be surprised by the fact that your partner has been in the relationship for the same duration and could be bored also. Or he / she could leave you immediately for mentioning your disinterest. Either way, you just added some excitement to your life so mission accomplished. You may also want to consider communicating with your ears instead of your mouth.

2. Consideration. Once you are in a relationship, do nothing without considering the other person. NOTHING! Meals, finances, friends, etc are all subject to joint decision making. Whatever he / she likes to do for you, he /she also likes done to them so take heed. And if you enjoy receiving, you damn well better learn to enjoy giving. The last thing you want is to feel like you are in a non-reciprocal relationship because you will conduct yourself accordingly at that point. I take that back. The last thing you want is to be hearing everything I am currently stating from your significant other.

3. Preconditions. There are none. No one ever lasts long in a job where they draw the line as to what tasks they will and will not do, especially if you are part owner. You are joint owner in your relationship and it should be treated as a business. Once you start setting aside non-negotiables, you are actively investing in a failed relationship. Any entrepreneur can tell you that in order to be successful, you must discover, consider, then engage everything that is required (ethically if possible), especially the tasks that are least desired. Keep in mind that you are trying to bring 2 unique and equal sets of values and ideals to the table. Although you are quite comfortable and adept at just doing you, so is your partner. The point however is to do each other (yes, in that way too).

4. Appearances. Your single parent had no one to impress daily so there was no reason to maintain his or her appearances other than for self-serving purposes. Now I know what you’re thinking; “My spouse better love me for me! I ain’t walking around the house in high heels and I will go the gym when I damn well feel like it. I am the boss of me!” I hear you my Brotha! Go on girlfriend! No, seriously, go on. No one can force you to be attracted to someone if you are not. According to my limited circle of friends, people are attracted to other people who are in shape. Not with great asses or strong shoulders or extremely gorgeous, although all that helps, just in shape. All we really have to do is just stay in shape and you are 75% accomplished in the aesthetic department. When your body is on point, you can rip the runway with sweat pants and a wife beater so stop mastering the stairs in Burger King and get you ass on that Stairmaster.


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