We’re different people, the Wild Man and I. I mean, obviously. And I know this isn’t news. We have SO MUCH in common, but there’s significant differences too – even outside of the cultural things. I like to keep my clothes in a separate bag from my laptop, for example. He’s more a shove-it-wherever-it-fits kind of person. I keep all my toiletries in a bag. He’s constantly hunting for his toothbrush or razor. Which is why he has three of each and can’t find any of them. I found one of each in the glovebox of the car.
I like to plan, even if I know that the plan is going to change. He plans well in his work, but is not so much for the life planning. Or even travel planning. He likes to be able to go with the flow of whatever sparks his interest. (There’s a nice little story in there for my Patrons at the VidaLibre.com website). In fact, the last time I was here, when someone asked him what we were going to do in our month and a half together, he grinned widely and said, “we’ll see.” And when the fellow pressed him further, asking where we were going to be next week he said, “around.” The guy finally reached his limit and asked “Well, do you know at least what you’re going to do tomorrow?” The Wild Man smiled and nodded. “We’ll have breakfast.”
When we left Palmira with his son, we had a bag of groceries including frozen fish. I’d have thrown them away, but he insisted we carry them along. Even though we’re headed out on vacation and have no idea where or how we’ll store the food. Or even if we’ll be able to find a place to cook it. It took an hour for him to hunt down a styrofoam (eeew) cooler and ice in Buenaventura while we waited for the boat, and then we had to haul the thing to the boat with all our luggage. The boat driver also happened to be disinterested in the wellbeing of his passengers sufficiently to render all 32 of us weightless on several occasions which also meant hard impacts on the plastic seats. And that meant that the woman next to me braced herself (understandably) against the cooler, punching a hole in the side. Then we had to haul the cooler and all our luggage to the hotel. Where we later discovered the hole, and that all the food had gone bad.
I do my very best to always tell the truth. He loves to tell stories. Like, tall tales. When people ask where he’s from, he’ll make up a different place every time. I try not to tell people what to do with their lives – or in general for that matter, and he loves to give unsolicited advice to anyone and everyone. Although, in his defense on this one, it’s also integral to the wellbeing of his clients to tell them exactly what to do all the time, so I can see how a habit develops.
This shit drives me CRAZY, if I’m honest. Living in a state of disorder adds to whatever level of stress I’m already under. Same goes for not knowing where I’m going to lay my head at night. Or whether or not it’s a good idea to bring extra luggage for a purpose I’m not sure I’ll need.
And it’s so easy to judge him for doing it differently. It’s so easy for my brain to go to “fix him” mode. But I LOATHE that version of my thoughts. I never want to change my partner. I want to inspire and be inspired by them. He’s told me on several occasions that I do. And I feel the same way about him. But I don’t want to demand, or expect, or even request change. I want to inform him of my needs / feelings, and let him do what he wants to do. BE who he wants to be. And I’ll respond, doing what I want to do, being who I want to be. I think this is the magic of our relationship, and the thing that was missing in the others. They didn’t particularly love the role or impact I had in their life. He does. We do. And it means we’re both growing. Not the way the other person wants, but the way we want WITH the other person. It’s beautiful. And hard. But it’s only hard because it’s my habit to try to “fix”.
When I can let the emotion of frustration or judgement or whatever pass through me and see the situation differently; he is who he is-and I love him; he’s just trying to give us (his son and I) the very best possible experience; he just wants to share his ideas because he’s traveled all over the continent and beyond, and has seen new ways of doing things… I can see how beautiful HE is.
Even in his speech with me – he never asks me to change. He tells me he doesn’t like something, but I can choose to change or not. He tells me he’s concerned about something I’m doing (like walking around with my cell phone in my back pocket), but he doesn’t call me stupid or tell me I can’t do that. Just that it’s probably more risky than I think.
Yes, he can be hypocritical and instructional. Yes, he’s disorganized and inefficient. He’s also the guy that asks the waiter to move our table to the edge of the deck so we can have a more romantic lunch. He’s the guy that carries 50 pounds of camping gear around on the island so we have the option to sleep outside if we want it. He’s the guy that pulls me to his side, in the middle of repelling down a waterfall, and kisses me while both of us are hanging from our ropes because he can see I’m stressed. He’s the guy that lets his curiosity and excitement about the world around him take us on all kinds of adventures. The guy that hunts down a chair for me no matter where we are. The guy that enlists three other guys to carry a discarded piece of roofing material from the dock to the main island, in the rain, so I can walk under it. He’s the guy that reminds me every day that I bring good things into his life, that I’m beautiful, that I’m special, that he loves me.
He’s a package. A complicated one. And he’s perfect for me. Exactly as he is.