Bridging the Communication Gap

We decided the University of Richmond Campus wasn't a large enough bridge.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bees: Deciding to Choose

By a Member of The Birds and the Bees' Staff

There is an idea about time that suggests that time is not linear and in fact branches off into separate and unique timelines every time we make a decision. Perhaps this is really an idea about parallel dimensions. No matter. What is important is the focal point of decision-making. We would typically assume that it would only be big decisions that could affect the direction of time. Time is not so shallow.

What is it that makes a decision a big one? Immediate degree of importance? The long term affect of the consequences on a person's life, psyche or emotions? Only in retrospect can we interpret a choice's impact. The availability of interpretation makes it such that all decisions must diverge into different timelines. Regardless of what we see as a “big” decision, they are all decisions we make and thus all of those made and those paths untaken must have consequences of some sort. If this idea has any truth to it, then we must every day, every moment, every instant decide to choose and follow the path of that choice to its end. Why? Because once the direction of time has been set we must travel its course. All attempts to undo will fail; you can't turn back the hands of time.

What does this psuedo-metaphysical bullshit have to do with relationships and communication? I'm not there yet.

There is an idea about a girl (or boy) that suggests that (s)he is the one. The perfect center between Mr(s). Right and Mr(s). Right-Now. Surely, it seems contradictory to say that since The One would be assumed to be Mr(s). Right. That is after all what makes them The One, right? Well, no, not always. This again is one of those things we can only know at relationship's end through our interpretation of the ending and our memories of all time before that. From what I've seen, The One has walked in and out of my life many times with just as many names and faces. And each time I was wrong about her. I only know that to be true today, of course, having had the time to reflect upon it. Our choices brought us together and our choices made us part ways. It would be impossible to pinpoint every “big” decision, but when you can see the Great Wall from space you can't deny its existence.

We believe choices like “Let's stay together” to be big decisions, especially when that means enduring the states' distance between us and many long-distance phone calls. We ignore the many small decisions that support that larger choice. Here's where it gets messy. We don't understand what is and isn't a small or big decision. Cheating and telecommunicating are both small and large decisions, respectively. Read that twice. See what I did there?

The decision to stay faithful in a long-distance relationship supports the meaning of your original decision to stay with your significant other despite what may come between you. It is the only thing that you do that genuinely decides whether or not you are still in the relationship you decided to stay in. Telecommunication is how you decide to play the character of a person in a relationship.

Similar to the government being the people with the monopoly on violence, your significant other is the person that has the monopoly on your physical intimacy. Now displace that person out of reach of your body for long periods of time and that monopoly is only rhetorical. You once again have the ability to do as you please so long as you are playing the part via text messages and lengthy phone calls. “This seems like the ramblings of the amoral,” creeps a whisper over my shoulder. No matter. This is the nature of the main decision to stay together. What become “big” decisions are those smaller choices to uphold the foundation of that rhetorical power over one's physical intimacy; those decisions that (s)he will most likely never know of.

These small choices have the largest impact on your relationship even if your partner is completely unaware. Keeping a steady flow of communication is the necessary and “big” decision, but your tone of voice when introduced to a new young (wo)man in the bar is a small decision of grand import. The choice to engage with the tone of voice you had locked away when your significant other was still here to maintain the monopoly is small in the moment. It was just a conversation... a really pleasant conversation. It is nice to be back out there talking to new people, getting fresh compliments, having your ego boosted and being told in different words that you “still got it.” Cheating is, in the end, a small decision that determines the truth of your Facebook profile's declaration that you are “in a relationship with...”

This is, of course, just one example to support, not an idea about time, but rather an idea bout decision-making. While time might diverge, we walk one path seamlessly unaware of what the decisions we didn't make could have brought to us. We can only know the consequences of the choice we did make, so it is of the utmost importance that we make the conscious decision to choose and follow that choice. When you choose to be with who may or may not be The One, you cannot know if (s)he is, but you must follow as if (s)he were because in the present you believe it to be true. When you make the “big” decision to stay together despite distance, it is only to your benefit to make the small and larger decisions necessary to maintain that to the full extent to which you actually decided to choose that direction in the fork in time. When you decide to choose you must follow that earnestly to its end. But if not, that is a new and separate choice that redirects the flow of time, with a path you must follow and a path you will never know.

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