Monday, May 30, 2005

Truth or Dare

C

azzaC's plays a game on her site called Truth or Dare, although I wouldn't really call it a game. It's more of a challenge. When she announces the game, her readers can accept a challenge: Either a Truth or a Dare. I've read some of her previous games and saw what the Dare's were. I'm too afraid to try them; they can be challenging to one's pride and self-respect. Hahahhahaha. just kidding... sorta.

Well, being the yellow-bellied coward that I am, I decided to go with Truth, since that is what I try to do here anyway. Below is her question, followed by my Truthful response..

Onigiriman - What is the greatest piece of wisdom you have gained in life - and how did you come to discover/hold that? How has it changed life for you?

Oh, man. This is easier than I thought. Indeed, I wrote about thisa quite a while back, so this will seem like a rerun to some. But my greatest piece of wisdom--and I must stress that this is my piece of wisdom--is that there really is "true love". I believe in soulmates.

Keep in mind that I realize that we're all different and we all approach things differently. As a result, reality, as we know it, is based solely on how we interpret the things we see and hear and feel, and the interpretation is always influenced by our point a view, a view that is shpaed by our individual experiences. As such, the O-man's views are hued by my own personal experiences. So let me tell you about it.

I have had my share of girlfriends. Not a lot, but enough to be able to come to somekind of personal conclusion concerning the male-female relationship. All these previous girls were nice--an obvious statement, because I was attracted to them in the first place--and I began to pick and choose traits that I thought were appealing--or worse, appropriate--in the person that I thought would eventually become my wife. She had to be able to cook, sew, know Japanese, understand Japanese culture, be good with kids, be understanding of my selfish tendancies--such as indulging in drinking and sports--accept that fact that I would be the male in the household, be intelligent with an advanced degree (MA/PhD) in the humanities (no MBAs or engineers, please), and have a good sense of humor. Oh yeah, if she was good looking, that would be a plus...

Anyway, I thought I found her: K's mother (my first wife). She could cook and sew. She was great with kids. She was born in Japan and so obviously knew Japanese and Japanese culture. She already had an MA in sociology from Meiji University and was working for a PhD in Anthropology at UCLA. She had a sense of humor, as well. The only possible flaw that she might have had was that she was older than me by 8 years. But her age perhaps allowed her to accept my selfish tendencies. She was old-school. I don't mean to suggest that she walked three feet behind me when we stepped out, but she was more accepting of the old ways. She was also the product of contemporary and higher education in the US, so she made sure that there was some sort of balance in our household. Indeed, I learned many of the finer points of cooking from her, as well as cleaning and rearing children. So in case you think I was a chauvanistic pig, I wasn't... well not that much, anyway... To top it all off, she was a "half": Japanese and German. She was not unattractive. But even better, as a half, she had been subjected to discrimination while growing up in Japan, and so was sympathetic to my issues as a minority in the US. Sounds perfect, right?

Wrong...

My first wife seemed perfect to me in that she fulfilled those qualities that I thought would complement me. How stupid of me. There were two things that bothered me, and it progressively worsened as our marriage went along. One: she had little love for my mother. I don't want to go into too much detail, but just let me say that since she was old school, she expected my mother to come to help her out when our daughter was born. It is traditional in Japan--and many other customs--for a mother to help out a daughter or daughter-in-law in such a manner. But my mother, for reasons of work and health (she had a bad heart at the time), could not come, and my ex held it against her until my mother died a few years ago. She did not treat my mother well when they were together, and it was coming to a head.

The other thing is just as important. While she fulfilled my "objective", albeit silly, criteria, she--or perhaps I should say we--lacked one ingredient so crucial in any marriage: Passion. Our marriage was pretty cut and dry. I thought that we fulfilled each other's needs and I hoped the passion would develop over time--as many expect in similar marriages, especially arranged marriages. But I was wrong. We had a healthy respect for each other, but the passion never developed. When I decided to come back to the States to teach, she wanted to remain in Japan; she insisted that this was normal, that many Japanese couples live apart--in Japanese, it's called tanshin funin--and she fully expected us to remain married. Well, for me, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I could not live with that attitude toward our marriage. If either of us felt passion for the other, one of us probably would have relented, but neither of us did. We didn't have the "passion" to stay together. Economically, intellectually, adademically, being apart is fine. But two people who feel passion for each other could never live in separte countries, don't you think? Indeed, our individual decisions suggested that we had no intention or desire to encourage our relationship to "develop". If you were to talk to her, I'm sure she would have her story to tell--and I'm sure she has--but this is my Xanga, and this is my side of the story...

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was pretty down on love. I had tried and failed. I had thought I had found the right person, but it didn't work out. No Passion. And I'm sure that many of you have heard--as I had--that marriages run out of steam, that they get into a rut. I figured my first marriage pretty much fit the mold. Yes, "true love" did not exist... until the moment I instantly knew that M was the one for me, my soulmate. It was after I had worked out at the sports club where M was an aerobics instructor. A bunch of us, including M, went out drinking afterwards--beer tastes really good after a long work out. We had gone out as a group before, but this time, M made it a point to sit next to me at the table. I really wasn't sure if she deliberately sat next to me, but that's the impression I got and it made me feel special. After drinking, we were heading home and as we walked toward the train station, she slipped her hand into mine, and something in my heart went bang. I can't really explain it, but I knew at that very moment that I had to marry this woman. I probably sounds corny to cynics, and believe me, I used to be one of those cynics--my first marriage had convinced me that--even if all the components seemed to be in place--there is no such thing as true love. But this one simple act of holding my hand convinced me that I was wrong. The feeling was warm and exciting and reassuring. Yes, there is such a thing as true love, and I will never forget the sensation when I first felt it.

So this is my piece of wisdom--there is such a thing as true love and that there is a soulmate out there for you. Some may call this piece of wisdom a piece of you-know-what, but that's okay. I have lived it, I have experienced it, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.

Don't get me wrong. Everything is not perfect. We have our struggles, our issues, and we must work them out. But this insight into Love has changed me profoundly, for it has convinced me to give my all to work out any problem that arise. I am not about to throw up my hands and give up, because I know there is no other woman who will make me feel the way that M does... But if anyone wants to try... Oops, too much truth... Hahahah, Just kidding!

So CazzaC, hows that for Truth: A guy fessing up to believing in true love and soulmates.

1 comment:

Grace said...

wow...your wife is so pretty!

:-)