Let this wild cat on her eighth life tell you how it is: A successful relationship is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Take my word for it. For most of us, our lives haven’t been ravaged by war or incurable disease or poverty. We aren’t oppressed on the daily basis into a category of borderline servants in a male-dominated culture. We are free to choose the cities of our residence, the degrees on our diplomas and the length of our hair. So, if you happened to live in the First World Country — such as this ever-so-fascinating experiment of the U.S. of A. — that allows for enough leisure time to entertain the concept of CHOICE, you’ve got yourself a complicated task on your hands.
CHOICE. My favorite word. Ever! Maybe it’s because in the country of my origin — my badass Motha’ Russia — I wasn’t granted too many of choices. Or perhaps, the hellholes of my previous six lives have prevented me from making “love” my favorite word. But to me, a choice is the highest privilege a free man and woman can have; and if it’s been granted to you by birth — well, then: You’re one lucky mother fucker! No, wait. I spoke too soon. Now that I’ve finally advanced my station in life beyond survival of a mere immigrant, I am starting to understand that one’s right to choose comes with a responsibility.
The very purpose of my humble existence, I believe, is too collect the stories of humanity — and then, retell them; and my favorite subjects — are the magnificent creatures of my own gender. So, as one of those coolest Amazons I’ve adopted for a sister has once told me:
“It is our responsibility — to live a good life.”
She herself was born into a culture in which women better fit into a category of things. Having been thrown around enough by her family, she got her wits together at a criminally young age (for, I believe, NO child should inherit the suffering of his or her parents!) — and she fled. On the coast of her new and democratic country, she spent decades molding herself into an independent, powerful woman with an income that beats most men’s, allows her to explore the world and grants her access to every possible opportunity that arouses her curiosity. Bare-handedly, she wrangled with her — ah, here’s that word again! — choices of partners, and to this day, has refused to settle for (drumroll, ladies!) less than what she deserves.
Say, you’ve finally found “The One.” (I cringe here a little, my lovely ladies, because I would be so very, very, very careful with granting that title to anyone other than your self. There is no more crucial relationship in life than THE one you have — with YOU! And if you haven’t invested in that honest and intimate and most important love of your life, then you will neither be a happy partner nor make a partner happy.)
So, back to “The One.” You’ve done the legwork and the self-examination. You’ve explored your choices. You’ve suffered enough in bad match-ups to live up to your better expectations; and here you are: coupled up with a partner that suits you best. You’re done! You’re on the threshold of your Happily Ever After. Hallelujah! Right?
I must break it to you, ladies, but the tale of your Happily Ever After will demand continuous commitment and work. Here is my beef with fairytales: After an epic search for love by their heroines, these tales we’ve lapped up as little girls cut-off abruptly once the match-up finally happens. No one tells us about how Cinderella deals with moving into the Prince Charming’s bachelor pad and handles his messy living habits. Or whether or not the Pea Princess welcomes all the other hard things her man presents in bed due to his insatiable sexual appetite. Does Snow White agree to her in-laws’ demands to change her last name; and is her Prince chill with her having a multitude of male friends? When Rapunzel pops out her babies, gets a job and decides to cut off her hair, how does that sit with her lover; and how do they get past the negotiation? See what I mean, ladies? The questions, the work, the communication and the diplomacy required for a successful relationship — are never-ending.
So, I wish you courage in pursuit of your fairytales, the gorgeous sisters of my gender; because courage is exactly what it takes to remain in love with yourself, another person, or this whole living deal. May you stay curious, continue changing and may your partner have the balls to keep up. But here is my most crucial spiel: Pah-lease, remain authentic to yourself in your own story writing. Don’t follow other women’s choices, especially if those choices haven’t been examined, but predetermined by fear, laziness or the majority’s dogma. If you are lucky enough to have choices — don’t take them for granted. You are free to write your own fucking fairytales, my Amazons; and besides that being a privilege — it is your bloody responsibility to do so.