Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relationships and Jigsaw Puzzles - Can You Really Train Yourself To Change?




Over my many years, where men have come and gone, I have always wondered if each and every experience really alters your personality. Recently, I have been seeing a massage therapist for a problem I have with my neck. The tension in my neck muscles, which have knotted up so much I could compete with Superman in a bullet-stopping contest, has created a numbing feeling in my fingertips. All of this is due to stress and over-use of the muscles, being too short for the counter tops at my work in kitchens. The therapist says that if I don't continue to stretch my neck muscles, they will contract back to the shortened tense position, never training the muscle to relax.

If we stretch our personalities, compromising certain characteristics to be compatible with a mate, do we ultimately change into a different person?

At the tender age of 40, I can see the errors of my ways in love...that is regarding the past men in my life. For some reason I can never see the cracks in the road that I chose on the left while the smoothly paved road is, so obvious, on the right. Sure, I can say the obstacles that I must climb over on my path give me more strength and wisdom to carry on. Why is it that all of the men in my past have always had similar personalities? Do I continue to walk around in circles, similar to my pleasant excursions around the Stanley Park seawall?

Every man I have dated has affected me, changing pieces of my puzzle, trying to make the jagged edges fit together with their own. Some men seemed to smuggle scissors in their pocket, cutting the pieces to make them fit, disregarding the obvious mismatch in the overall picture. Even I forced some of the puzzle pieces together, in hopes of finishing the jigsaw puzzle as fast as possible. Nevertheless, the picture never looked right. I have lost many contacts and friendships over men, being a huge supporter of all or nothing. When I date someone I tend to alienate myself from my surroundings, escaping the real world of work, stress, and disappointment, by focusing on him. In turn, the connections made fray so much, I lose part of myself to each relationship. I change my surrounding connections every time I date a new guy. Similar to working at a new job, where old connections break to create new ones.

Currently my friendships, leftover from my past relationship, have slowly vanished once again, while new friendships have bloomed. I have broken the boring routine of my life with ease. I quit smoking, eat better and drink water more. I don't drink daily and have changed from chugging beer daily to sipping red wine more often. The support of my friends at the old watering hole is still there, although I feel as though I am a guest star rather than a regular cast member now.

My new relationship has made me think about how I change with the seasons, or rather the men I date. This is a new season that I haven't experienced before. More obstacles to overcome, although none of the obstacles centre around him but rather everything else surrounding me. Have I reached an age where I finally don't have to sacrifice myself for a man? He hasn't brought out the hidden scissors from his pocket. He has seen the picture on my jigsaw puzzle box, and we are slowly putting our pieces together, no matter how often the pieces change. The matching of our ever changing pieces is the best part, not the final completed puzzle.

Have I finally stretched my neck muscles enough to have trained my stressed, contracted muscles to relax and enjoy the feeling? Has my personality changed with this new man? I don't feel that different. I do feel lighter. I don't have to try as hard because he likes me for what I am. Now if I could get the feeling back in my fingertips, training my neck muscles to not contract, I may fully learn to relax. I wonder what pieces I'll match up tomorrow in my jigsaw puzzle.

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