Since my last personal entry, on being unbold, I’ve really been facing myself on alot of issues – trying to understand things. I’ve always been curious, since I was an adorable little boy, and that carries through to everything. Whether it’s about how things work, the details of someone’s story, or even understanding my own self, one of my favorite words in the world is "why". One of my least favorite words? Compromise.
I work through things by writing, which is why my more personal entries are so scattered, so, again… this post is nothing more than that – and I’m warning you now ;). I’m not writing this one to entertain (though I’m hoping to have a fun new series for June… working on that), but to try figuring myself out. And, inviting you all in to the discussion can only help – either for me to get fresh perspectives or for you to better understand the crazy little man known as Mark Mushakian.
So, why the disdain of compromise? I don’t know… but that’s what I’m trying to figure out. It affects everything, including movie-making, but the subject in which it is most prevalent, and in which I started thinking about it again last night was relationships. Romantic relationships.
Yesterday, Korkie and I were in a bookstore, and we came across one of those "1,001 Romantic Ideas" books. She started reading through the list, and after each one I made my commentary. While some were cute or common-knowledge-for-a-good-relationship-y, with most of them I found myself thinking they were silly, stupid, or just plain "wrong". Haha, as per what I am accustomed to, a few of my oppositions drew from her a look of "Really??" as if I was off my rocker. I obviously have my own ideas of what is sweet and romantic, but that’s not what drew her attention. In terms of a relationship, I have no interest at all in entertaining someone else’s notions of romance. The tip of the iceberg has just just torn through our hull.
If you haven’t been through this conversation with me before, that might sound off since I’m such an easy-going guy. I’ll do whatever I can, whenever I can to help someone out – but that’s in friendship. Heck, even with strangers… I’ll give up my time or change my plans. So, what’s the difference? First, I’m not really talking about things like time, I’m talking more about principle and opinion. But, secondly, the difference is that, in my head, if I’ve met someone and chosen to live my life with them – why would I want to compromise? Let’s go with that last one.
I met a gal about a year ago, and the biggest draw about her was that we were so similar. So, after a little bit I decided to ask her out. Moments before I was about to utter the words, she mentioned that she didn’t want to have kids. I’m not looking to impregnate the woman on a first date, but I could never end up with someone who doesn’t want kids (have you not SEEN my latest review on Babies??) – so why bother pursuing this? I didn’t. As time went on, I discovered that she DID like kids, but there were plenty of other differences that turned me off, anyway. Some of these are big and genuine (even to others), but other differences were seemingly small and insignificant (again, to others). That’s where my mind frays. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of wanting to be with someone enough to ignore differences… to compromise. I’m not talking about her preferring apples when I prefer oranges. I’m talking about differences that conflict with one another. Oranges don’t mean much to me, but something like the movies The Dark Knight or WALL-E do, and I couldn’t imagine wanting to be with someone who didn’t love those movies as much as I do. Yes, we could get along (I have friends who don’t agree with me on everything), but why would I want to? Basically, as odd as it sounds, I’m looking to meet myself. Trust me, I am fully aware of whatever thoughts or comments came to your mind as you read that last sentence – I know, it’s a silly concept, but that’s why I’m trying to figure it out. I’m trying to understand why the heck I am so completely turned off by compromise.
Why does it even matter, though? Well, when talking with someone in a long-term relationship or even reading some dopey article on Yahoo, what is one of the most lauded aspects of a healthy relationship? Compromise. It works both ways, too. I would never ask anyone to ever do something they don’t want to do, because if someone doesn’t want to do something.. why should they? It would mean absolutely nothing to me if my significant other did something she didn’t like, just to make me happy. Actually, it would make me want to leave her ;). It’s that denial of self that I can’t fathom pursuing in a relationship which is supposed to be the safest and most comfortable of any relationship. Again, though, I feel like I have to explain. I’m not talking about being giving, though, I’m talking about… I don’t even know. Let’s try this.. Santa. I’ve talked about much I hate the idea of lying to my kids about Santa. Some people don’t look at it as lying, which it is, but others simply don’t mind. It’s not a big deal to them. Okay, I understand… but it is to me. Obviously, I couldn’t be with someone who DID want to tell her kids that Santa was real (yes, it means that much to me), but I also wouldn’t want to be with someone who thought Santa would be a fun and innocent thing, but compromises and decides to let me have my way on that issue. It’s like "choosing your battles", another term you’ll hear from couples. Why, if you have an opinion, would you ever want to deny that in a romantic relationship?
I have a very hard time with this subject, because of all of my self-analytical issues… I have the hardest time explaining this one. Part of that is because this isn’t a trait that is all bad. Like my logical, unemotional nature I discussed last week, not compromising can be a very good trait – but, also like my unemotional nature, I feel as if I take it to the extreme… beyond the point of being a worthwhile and valuable character trait. As I mentioned, it works in my moviemaking, as well. Compromising a vision often turns me off enough for me to abandon the whole project, and that type of strong ideal can really help push and create great things – but it can also go so far as to keep anything from ever being made, since nothing is perfect. It’s a delicate balance, a fine line. Compromise too much, and the value and/or growth is lost… don’t compromise at all, and things can’t move forward. I dance on that line, constantly. Sometimes I’m right on spot, and sometimes I go too far toward the side of perfectionism. Ah, perfection… that pain-in-the-neck word. So many who give advice are quick to remind that "nobody is perfect" so why should I be demanding perfection out of a partner? I’m not. She’ll have faults, as I have mine. What I’m demanding is that she be perfect for ME, and that is where the concept of compromise boggles my mind.
Here’s an example, as it was an example given to me by someone else. KB and I are friends, and we’re very open and playful – but we’re just friends. If I were to meet a gal who felt threatened or insecure about that, I’d be sensitive and hear her out, but I wouldn’t change a gosh darn thing about how I act. Never in a million years. Another example, perhaps less obviously about compromise, but I’m going somewhere with this. If I’m with a gal, and she comes out and asks "How does this outfit look?" I’m going to tell her. If she just comes out and doesn’t ask, I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell her I think something looks bad (unless it was to her benefit for some reason), but if she asks, why should she expect anything but honesty? So, what does this have to do with compromise? It’s compromising the truth and being dishonest – and, I am a stickler on being honest. That’s what gets me about compromise. I really wish I could remember some of those 1,001 Romantic Ideas, but regardless, I thought some of them were really stupid. Some of them Korkie thought were great – and if I was in a relationship with a gal who felt the same, I wouldn’t want to dishonestly do them for her, because to me… it was idiotic. Heck, like buying a diamond ring. It’s such a waste of money in my mind. Again, it’s almost a double-standard.. that I will give things to friends or help them out with things I don’t necessarily value, myself, but in a relationship as intimate as what leads to, and involves, marriage – I put a different set of rules on showing love.
That’s the problem with this topic for me, is that I can’t list every example. That’s why I LOVE situations like when Korkie was reading off the list. It helps me understand myself, because I’m able to see my reaction to each situation and its variables. When I worked with kids, I’d have fun with them for their benefit – I’d pretend to be a monster chasing them around the playground LONG after I was tired… because they loved it, and I loved them, so I did it. Heck, I’m not a sports guy, but I’d throw the ball around with kids, too. However, once competition entered the arena, as much as I loved those guys… I had nothing to do with it. Competition turns me off completely, so I couldn’t compromise that reaction and "fake it" no matter how much I cared about the kids.
Even more than my Unbold entry, I don’t know if I’ve gotten anywhere with this. This reaction seems to be a mix of my feelings on truth, perfectionism, acceptance… tons of things. I’m not sure if this is the root of those issues, or if THEY are the root of IT. The question, though, as always… is why? How did I come about to be so unflinching over compromise? It’s not just female-related, because it’s compromise of morals, relationship, truth, social etiquette, everything. There are things in there that I KNOW are good, but there are also others that, from what I understand from everyone I’ve ever talked to, are NOT good – the problem is, I can’t naturally see the difference. Just like my lack of any over-emotional reaction, I don’t really see the difference between one situation or the other, but UNlike my lack of any over-emotional reaction – I don’t necessarily see any value of the kind of compromise I’ve mentioned… at least, beyond the facts of reality that I’m told about ("You’ll never find that person" or "Movies aren’t made that way").
I’ve been perusing the pages given when Google-searching "compromise relationship" all day, to gauge my reactions to what I read. Most of the things I’ll read are the "little things", which are what those romantic ideas from the book that spurred this whole thing are. Those are the worst things, because unlike something big like no-Santa, these aren’t as understandable to make an argument for not compromising on. A lot of it comes down to comfort. I really feel like Italian food tonight, while she really feels like burgers. What do you do? You split up, that’s what you do ;). How can one comfortably live in an environment with someone, day in and day out, where these little details are constantly creating an imperfect environment. I’ve always heard "Oh, it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we’re together.. la la la." Ech. I get it, it’s sweet, but I don’t care how much I love someone (even friends), I don’t know anybody who could get me to go skydiving. But she really, really wants to, at least once, and it’d mean so much to her if I joined her because of how much she knows I don’t want to do it? Here’s that all-important carry-over phrase from my Unbold entry… "I don’t care." I was out with friends eating at a Lebanese place on Saturday, and there was some stuff that probably included milk. One of the guys kept saying, "Oh, it’s different… it’ll be okay. Try some, it’s delicious!" That risk to me isn’t worth it, so I said no. He semi-jokingly said, "Oh, you don’t trust me, you’re breaking my heart." My response? "That’s alright." Haha, cold son of a gun.
So, perhaps after all of this, these two topics are more closely linked than I thought. I’ve never cared about anyone enough to compromise (the "good" kind, I’m not talking about getting loaded and doing lines), but will I? I was talking with Joe today, and this topic came up, and he basically suggested that perhaps I was just thinking too much about a subject I’ve not had experience with… meaning that I hadn’t been in a long-term relationship. My concern, of course, is that I’d never even make it to that point. That’s all this ever is – self-understanding. I’ve discovered some things about myself over the years that I can work through on my own time, while others will only be solved through the safety of someone else’s love (insecurities, things like that). That’s why these entries even exist… so that I can face these thoughts on paper, as it were. Just like my issues with not acting boldly, my issue with compromise is trying to get at my genuine internal reactions… and to separate the excess that has been formed from whatever issues I might have, which is why I see a great value in discovering what those issues might be. It’s tricky to talk about compromise alone, because you’re not supposed to compromise what you "highly value", and yet… I value so much. I love hard, I despise hard… when I care (either positively or negatively) I freaking CARE like a motha’, so the idea of simply compromising that care away is difficult to grasp. Yet, here is the final irony – I care about certain things very strongly, yet usually not enough to react boldly over them. I’ll stand firm on not compromising, yet when I’m supposed to feel very adamant about something – I don’t.
I think I’m more confused now than when I started… yet, somehow, I think that might be a good sign ;). We’ll see how far the rabbit hole goes…