Keeping The Promise In Compromise

Compromise comes in a few different forms and has different effects and outcomes when coupled with other issues and key needs in a relationship. Breaking this all down would be a whole chapter or even a whole book so I’ll just highlight a couple common issues for now.

Saturday we agreed that I could go for a ride while Rachel took the girls shopping for Brianna’s friend’s birthday present. It was an absolutely beautiful 70° February day in NorCal. I rode with no arm warmers or leg warmers and even ended up with tan lines when all was said and done. The closer I got to a place in the ride that I had to make a route decision that would add and hour to my journey I started to think more about compromise. The deal was that I would ride while they shop. So I happily made the decision to turn right and head home knowing that the average adventure the girls have while shopping takes about two and a half to three hours. We arrived home simultaneously. I was pretty fired up that I made the right decision and was happy to be home. Unfortunately I was met with a glare from Rachel… “They’re all yours tomorrow.” That’s it…

I’ve been attempting to join a Sunday group ride for the last few weeks but Rachel and the girls have been sick so I’ve been off the bike and doing my best to take care of them and be a good dad and husband. They were feeling better so we agreed that I could join the ride on Sunday. Then, suddenly, boom I’m hit with this remark. Now, I frequently feel guilty when I ride because it mysteriously seems that the girls are bad when I’m gone or at least Rachel gets more irritated when I ride. I am gone from 2 to 6 or more hours so I do get it. She needs a break from the kids. Regardless, I recognized that riding with the group at 9:30 the next morning might not be in my best interest. I also realized that bringing up the subject of riding tomorrow probably wasn’t the best idea either. So I sat on it for a few hours and thought of a compromise. “What if I ride at 7:30 and I’m back by 9:30ish? The girls are pretty self sufficient in the morning and you seem to not get up till 9 anyway.” After that its all me. She agreed. It was during this ride that I thought I understood the importance of “compromise” once again and thought it would be a great subject to write about.

The One-sided Compromise – This one is tricky and dangerous because it often falls into two subcategories, neither of which is healthy. First the idea of compromising to get your way, or if you give in then you are angry and blurt out a “well now you owe me,” which in my opinion is not what compromise should be. If the motivation behind the negotiation with your husband or wife is so that you can get your way then you are most likely not giving up anything at all. In fact you will most likely construct a conversation around everything you give up for them on a daily basis and how they don’t understand your needs and never see things your way or are not willing to bend etc. Though some of these statements may be true, which is a totally different issue with the relationship, this is not compromise. It is manipulating and “guilting” to get your way, which just further damages the relationship. Second is compromising because you hope it will make your partner happy and make them love you more. People pleasing and fear of confrontation are the most common vehicles in this occasion. Although the intent here is most likely driven by a form of love at the core, I think it is a damaged love.  Most likely you silently sacrifice your needs and desires for your partner to make them happy and hope for the day that they “pay you back” with love, respect, admiration and adoration. Meanwhile you rarely ask for anything. You become a martyr… If you are compromising like this then it may also be a sign of a few other common issues in marriage which will continue to get worse because you will incessantly grow resentful and your partner will either intentionally or unintentionally continue to walk all over you.

The flip side to the above is finding compromise within open and sincere communication. Communication is perhaps the most underappreciated, mysteriously feared and single most powerful tool in building a concrete relationship followed by sex and money. Issues in these arenas can lead to cracks in the foundation of your relationship, but if you can always talk about it, then there is always hope. We all have needs and desires that we hope will help make our lives feel complete if they are met and realized. Many of the compromises we make in a relationship often seem to revolve around these personal needs and often do not include the spouse and may in fact seem trivial or ridiculous to one or both of the partners. Remember that something small to you may mean the world to another and vice versa. By being open and honest about your needs no matter how big or small they seem to be helps nourish a growing and healthy relationship. It is essential that both sides communicate their needs and concerns about every given situation regardless of which side of the coin you are on. Compromise has two sides and you both need to give and receive. Taper your objective while openly talking about it to please the other person and find genuine happiness in that. Voice your thoughts; especially the ones that make your compromise hard, so that you don’t keep them inside and let them fester into something uglier than they really are. Give and take in a manner that is not actually “tit for tat” but truly a compromise grounded in honest communication and love. Both partners need to feel like they gain, tangibly and/or emotionally, one of them should not feel a sense of defeat. Remember that you may not get exactly what you want but perhaps some version of it. We are not children, we are adults, we are husbands and wives, parents… so we need to grow up, think, love and communicate. This doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and live a little or a lot, it just means we shouldn’t be petulant fools. Instead, approach everything as a team. This, I promise, will help feed a healthy relationship.

Sure this all seems obvious right now while reading it, or perhaps you think it is ridiculous or unrealistic or maybe it strikes a chord with you and you are stuck wondering how to take then next corner. It’s hard to break habits, it’s hard to recognize your own misdoings in a relationship and it’s hard to give up what you believe are your essential rights and freedoms as an individual… but this isn’t politics, this is a relationship and you owe it to yourself and your partner to be honest, open and loving in your listening and communication of each others needs. So respect each other, talk and try to understand each other’s needs. Hold up your end of the bargain and do not take advantage. If you need more or feel uncomfortable or resentful please speak up, never try to bury it. Most importantly never give up on trying to learn more about yourself and your partner by asking and talking about each other’s needs and expectations, dreams and fears and always wholeheartedly try to follow through and keep your promise in the compromise.

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Into Oblivion

(This was written by me a number of years ago… He’s still in there somewhere I’m sure…)

I’m slipping into oblivion
Drowning in my sins
Ripping through memories
Hating where I’ve been

The tension…
Haze of confusion
Depression…
Causes bruising

I am who you wish you could be
I have done the things you’ve dreamed
I’m not afraid of anything
I feed on your envy

I’m invincible, unstoppable
You can’t get close to me
I am omnipotent, omniscient
Flawless

This pill
This drink
The fucking thoughts I think
Killing me

My attitude
My dreams
The fucking decisions I make
Destroying me

I never had a chance to just be a kid
Now look at me…

Crisis

It’s the question
The inevitable burning sensation
My repression
Broken thoughts; transgressions

The sins I begin
Commitments I can’t finish
The things I create
As my thoughts diminish

This confusion
The inconvenience of my intrusion
You’re abusing
My mind; this fusion

To break me
Rearrange and erase me
You hate me
Create and remake me

I’m useless
Broken and thoughtless
Bloodless and breathless
Lifeless… My crisis

“Don’t let me walk away…  I’m sorry.

So far away they seem to be
These memories
So hard it may seem to me… I have you

Please hear me”

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

What A Difference A Day Off Makes

I recently had an unexpected day off from work. The weather has been unseasonably warm and dry; so of course I decided to go for a nice long bike ride. However, this also presented a rare opportunity to spend a little time with my wife, Rachel, so we had breakfast together after the kids went off to school, caught up a little and by 10:30am we went our separate ways. Yes it was short-lived, but worth it for sure. She headed out for a spot of shopping and lunch with a couple of friends and I rolled solo with my bike. I deemed this ride as a break from the monotonous 52-plus hour workweek that has been continually grinding down my soul for the past 8 years. It was due time for some peace, solidarity, picturesque scenery, physical suffering and much needed introspection.

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As usual my head was brimming with thoughts and visions colliding, overlapping and weaving into one another. The chaos and noise is often overwhelming, confusing and sometimes mind numbing to the extent that it almost feels as if I have no thoughts and no purpose because I simply can not focus and develop one idea. It’s so frustrating… This day was different. I often experience moments of clarity on random thoughts throughout the course of a long ride but usually I immediately forget the epiphany or it simply just slowly dissolves by the time I get home. This ride’s epiphanies seemed to all be met with one single thematic concept – persistence and determination. Because of this, I believe, I broke down my thoughts systematically in to questions for myself with no intent to drill down for answers. I just wanted to explore the thoughts… So I decided to keep it simple and focus on the thoughts with the intent to write about them here and ask for your experience and opinions. I hope you decide to get involved. So hopefully I can find the time and focus enough to write about the following thoughts over the next few weeks.

Of course there is the ever-present question of what is the next step for Velocurean. We have been through many changes over the past few years and have headed in a couple different directions but have always had the same end goal in our sights. The issue is the path that we must take to get there is very hilly, bumpy and windy… tiring. Things are positive right now but we have 2 or 3 things this year that will take quite a bit of time and attention to detail to execute. Then, of course, is what to write about on this personal blog of mine. Poetry is one thing but some of the things I really want to write about I seem to hesitate on because I’m not sure if I want it to be a public forum though I do believe that if they reach my intended audience it would be worth it. Given the fact that my goal since a child is to be a paid writer I suppose I should just put it out there… Issues in regards to my views and opinions on various relationship dilemmas such as sex, communication, appreciation, intimacy, parenting, respect, family trips, etc and something that has been weighing on me is my kids’ future. They are both natural dancers and entertainers and have promising futures in that but are still so young. San Francisco has 2 schools that appreciate and allow kids to focus on the arts as a career and base their curriculum around it. I want them to go but I don’t want to force it because is it really their dream or am I just acting on my missed opportunities due to “where I come from?” That too – where I come from. “Outliers.”

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On the other hand I have some rants and raves to express in relation to various ideas, screenplays and inventions that Kevin and I have come up with and have expressed but we sit here and watch other companies and film makers bring our ideas to life years after we thought of them. Extremely frustrating… That movie “Eagle Eye,” the “iPhone,” “touch screen voting,” “Strava,” “Rapha,” “InGamba,” “VeloVino,” advanced “Cloud Storage,” “Patriot Act,” etc. etc. etc. I’m not saying that they stole our ideas (well, “Eagle Eye” may have been a rip off actually) but we simply may have had the ideas a few years before they did but didn’t have the resources to make it happen. So we just endure it.

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Endurance. Perhaps that is the word that sums up my life right now. As I endure life, much like on the bike, I become fitter, leaner, stronger and more experienced. The journey isn’t easy. There are many amazing experiences and memories along these roads full of twists, turns, peaks and valleys that are either categorized as beautiful or ugly depending on how one plays the mental game. I finished up this ride determined not to “pussy out” as I approached the Golden Gate Bridge.” It’s a 2-mile climb up to the bridge but I wanted to push myself more. Instead of turning left to go over the bridge I continued up the hill for another 3 or more miles and was immediately hit by a 12% grade. I just grinded it out and before I knew it I was looking down over the Golden Gate Bridge and the whole San Francisco bay area. It was beautiful and so worth it physically, mentally and aesthetically.

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So there it was, my life encapsulated in one 5-hour ride and for some reason I remembered it all. I will never give up on my dreams. I will struggle in hopes that my kids will not have to. I will do my best to be a good, loving and caring husband and father but try to never force them to live my dreams and try not to spoil them too much. I will always try to define and walk that thin line. I will break the cycle through determination and perseverance.

Thoughts?

Umbra

My mind has shut down
Like a solar eclipse
My thoughts like winter
Cold and crisp

I stare from the bluff
Unaware of the blindness that will come
I gaze into the darkness
That veils that raging ball of fire
A volatile gaseous conglomerate of particles
93 million miles away seemingly non-existent

A rare opportunity to hold eye contact

In seconds it will melt your retina
Leaving you in permanent darkness
Reflecting on this moment
Basking in the rays of my sun.

Now is your only opportunity…

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LOST

So I awake from amazing and sultry dreams of you
And now I lie here reminiscing and fantasizing about you
Astounded that you are laying here next to me
On your side, holding me
Your right leg entwined with mine
Thigh to thigh
Your hand on my abdomen
Raising with each of my calming breaths
Eyes closed sleeping peacefully
Beautifully
Your head resting on my chest
As I run my fingers through your hair
Breathing you in
With every tender caress
I’m lost in what must be fabricated happiness
Praying for you to discover me
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Becoming More Than A Man

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As a Dad I believe I have grown into and embraced what my perception of a “man” should be. Though I realize that I may never really “grow up” I do sincerely understand and happily accept my responsibilities toward my beautiful wife and two daughters. These three ladies have brought huge changes in me and have made an incredible impact on my life at pivotal moments when I needed them most. I feel blessed and privileged that I have the opportunity to guide my girls through the twists and turns of this crazy world and I absolutely cherish the moments as I watch them grow and mature right in front of my eyes. Yes, even the hard times, the chaos, the messes, the fights, the issues with friends and school, the constant need for attention, the lies and intentional disobeying… it is all part of what comes with being a parent. I never imagined I would have kids but now I cannot fathom life without them. They truly love me unconditionally and that is an amazing feeling. I also commit myself to always do my part, my share of work at home (whatever that means… I approach this as a team and we just gotta do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and it doesn’t matter who is doing it). I always remind our girls how much we love them and I love and support my wife no matter what and will always be there for her in her times of need. To me, this is what makes what would otherwise be a boy a man.

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This Christmas morning (2012) I drifted off into a beautiful crystal haze as I relaxed on the couch next to my wife Rachel by the fire in the living room. All the “sniggling” had been done. (“Sniggling” is a term coined by Brianna a few years back referring to the act of crawling under the Christmas tree with the express intent of retrieving the presents in the back.) The presents had been opened, the screeches and happy dances had passed, hugs and kisses had been generously doled out and a sweet treat of Swedish Tea Ring had been enjoyed… I then realized that I was in the midst of a bizarre situation… With the exception of the warm and inviting crackling of the log in the fireplace and the quintessential voices of Bing Crosby and Burl Ives in the background the house was still and silent.

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I looked over at Rachel and found her happily reclined with her new fuzzy socks on reading a book. I skeptically turned my attention to Brianna and Lilah who were blissfully sitting on the floor in the middle of their loot quietly examining each of their gifts with smiles on their faces and thankfulness and joy in their hearts. In that tranquil moment I experienced a phenomenon that I had always assumed was a myth… First you must believe me that this life has been a confusing and trial-filled one for me up to this point and I can only expect the pattern to continue. Perhaps that’s my purpose in life, to endure the trials and tribulations and help others along the way? I hope there is a worthy reason for all of this… but these last two years in particular have been the hardest and not at all fair to my wife and above all, my kids. It’s been a “sucky” couple of years for them and they have deserved none of it! This Christmas I believed we actually may have experienced a legendary “Christmas Miracle” full of peace, love and joy for our freshly invigorated family. The amazing gift I received this year; the myth I mentioned earlier… For the first time in my life I believe I was warmly wrapped in the comfortable glow of contentment.

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Being a Dad and a Husband takes much more than simply being a boy.

(Taken from “Scrooge”)

“I like life
Here and now
Life and I made a mutual vow
‘Till I die
Life and I
We’ll both try to be better some how”

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