December 5, 2014
I started a baby journal while my wife was pregnant. They were notes to my unborn daughter. I wanted to capture all the swirling emotions, excitement and maybe a few tidbits of wisdom. Andrea was reading it last night and was bothered that I encouraged future Cozy to “have romances with boys or girls that are bad for you.” It became a bit of a thing between us. I slept on the couch. (In her defense, she was concerned that I was encouraging our daughter to be careless with her sexuality or choose abusive partners, a valid concern.)
My point is to not be afraid of making mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn something. That includes relationships with people who are not right for you. Every moment offers a potential life lesson. How do you respond when you get a flat tire or a broken heart? Even turning down the wrong isle at the grocery store can open a door. “Gee, maybe I should try some Masala sauce on my chicken tonight.”
And yes, this can include one night stands. There was a girl who is long gone from my life, but she was really into Joni Mitchell. What did I learn? That I really love me some Joni Mitchell. Joni is still in my life even though Ms. One Night is not. I had a drunken hook-up with a neighbor once. The next day we had a conversation about how neither of us had been in a state to be consensual. What did I learn? Don’t let a drunken fun veer into date rape. Not good.
I don’t want my daughter to be a “wanton woman.” Yet I want her to own her sexuality and not fear the slut-shaming double standard. I want her to be safe (believe me, we’ll have that talk – with pictures.), but I also want her to take risks with her heart.
I love the story that Sheryl Crow’s song, “My Favorite Mistake” is about a fling with Eric Clapton. If it’s true, she slept with “God.” So it didn’t work out, she got at least a great song out of it. How many great works of art are based on mistakes?
I’ve had a lot of dead ends in my life. Some lasted years before I found out that person was bad for me (or I was bad for them). If I paid attention, I learned something. The first person I said, “I love you” to was Starla, my college girlfriend. I was an idiot. Not because of her. She was a stellar person and is even more stellar now. I was an emotional idiot and had no idea how to be in a relationship. Our break-up was crushing but started me on a path of self-discovery that included figuring out how feminism could make me a better partner with women. That prepared me to have a wonderful relationship with a hella strong woman like Andrea.
My fear is the whole Romeo & Juliet thing. Teen star-crossed lovers end up dead rather than be apart (sorry if I just gave away the ending). I get that feeling. I’ve lived it. But I didn’t die. I’m always leery of people who marry their high school sweethearts. There is no way 99% of 18-year-olds can know what they will want or need in a partner for the next 6 months let alone 6 decades.
So yeah, I want Cozy to shop around. It’s expected that boys will. Get a Whitman’s Sampler and see what you like. Maybe it will be a cowboy or maybe it will be doula. But if not, chock it up to experience. The biggest part of finding out what you like is finding out what you don’t like. Life is long. You have plenty of time to make mistakes.