Friday, September 01, 2006

More Confessions of a Self-Help Girl

Okay, so I found myself having one of "those" conversations this week.

You know, the one where you find yourself spewing self-help garbage. (Because, let's face it, it works!)

One of my go-to books on relationships is the really embarrassingly cheesy Unimaginable Life by (wait for it...) Kenny and Julia Loggins, which, it turns out, is even more unimaginable than the authors originally claimed, as they are now DIVORCED as of 2004, a shocking little tidbit that I missed somehow in the last 2 years.

When the book (and album) came out, there was quite the media blitz in certain New Age circles. At first, just because one of the authors is ... b-music famous. And then, because it's one of THE most honest books I've read about relationships. Written by BOTH partners. Chronicling their individual AND partner trajectories. A lot of the book is taken straight from their journals, and you wince at times about their honesty, even in really ugly moments of fear and loathing.

This couple goes through a LOT. They were married for 14 years. They fought for their intimacy; they fought for their health. When they married, they promised to follow their paths even if that meant supporting each other to leave to find healing somewhere else.

And that's how it happened (at least publicly).

NOTHING on this in New Age circles. I'm DYING for a book or article or ANYTHING from either one of them (Kenny's pouty quotes during his recent reunion tour with Messina are NOT satisfying and only raise more questions, if not eyebrows).

Where's Julia's public statement? Where's Kenny's whiny tell-all?

Whatever happened to heart-blasted open honesty?

And yes, this panic is definitely about me and answering the "what if" question that we all have about love. What happens if the perfect relationship goes bad?

Where do you go? Clearly, this couple says, you go quiet (relatively). Okay, Kenny did release a new album, complete with sappy "I miss you" songs. No, really! One of the songs really is called "I miss us" or some damn thing. But that tells us very little, really.

One of Kenny's horrifying newspaper quotes is how great it was to reverse roles with his son and cry on his shoulder. If you've read the book, you know this is one of the things he loved best about Julia, how she played mommy to his hurt little-boy self. I'm thinking, dude is 52. Why not try just being the adult? Maybe Julia was exhausted being mommy to all 4 of their kids and Kenny, too. Being mommy is just not sexy, unless you're a pedophile.

This brings me to an argument I had with a man who I'd just met. He started the conversation warning the four women in the room that we were to acknowledge right-off that he was being brave to talk to us being the only man present, and he didn't want to get stabbed (or something deadly like that). He said it was ridiculous for women to expect maturity in men in relationships because men have never been taught how to be in relationship, in the way little girls are. He said, (and oh boy do I quote):

"Men are like retarded children. You wouldn't get mad at a retarded child for not knowing how to act. You have to be patient and teach them."

We didn't buy it, and I summed it up this way.

"Okay, but I don't want to have sex with a retarded child!"

For those of us who believe in non-traditional relationships, in trying to follow our connections, there is very little out there about what happens when THOSE end. The ending of abusive relationships is well-covered ground. Does that mean that healthy relationships are easier to walk away from and don't warrant comment? I don't think so! The hardest I've ever cried in my life (almost) was deciding to walk away from a fairly functional relationship that I just knew wasn't going to sustain us both. So painful!

I hope that if I were to 1) have the guts to write about my good and healthy relationship that I would also have the decency to 2) write about how it ended, if and when it does.

We need those stories, too. Even those of us who don't sleep with retarded children.

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