25 July 2013

love the foreign language: part 3, the explanation

I’ve had years of Spanish classes, had a basic introduction to Hebrew, have a program to learn Japanese and desire to learn Greek. But of all the languages available to learn Love makes me the most nervous.

Call me naïve, clueless, jaded or whatever else you can come up with but until recently I’ve had a bit of a block in this area. In a sense what the person said about me being like a kid who doesn’t understand the concept is true. I know Love, we’re close friends. I love my family and friends intensely but when it comes to romantic involvement, it may as well be Greek because I don’t understand that guy at all.

One of the beautiful things about learning another language is the humility it requires. We are so uncomfortable in foreign language classrooms because we are vulnerable, don’t know what we’re doing and are very aware that we don’t know. We hope we’re partnered with the correct person to practice this thing and grow to communicate as well as a native speaker.

Learning to speak another language requires submission and a willingness to be taught and to do so alongside someone else. In those early stages there is no way around looking or sounding silly because everything has to be learned and then learned again in context. We are always growing in what we learn, never quite arriving at some mythic plateau of linguistic mastery.

We have to trust our instructor to guide us along a good path and interact with our partner on the given terms for that language. We have to move beyond our discomfort, believe the instructor is not setting us up to fail and be willing to not only look out for our own interests but those of our partner as well. After all, it’s better if we can move forward together. This all takes a certain amount of faith in our instructor and our partner as well as a commitment to believe this team is there with us to benefit not harm us even when it’s difficult.

By now I’ve either confused your socks off or you can see the parallel and why I think of Love as a foreign language. Sure in the beginning it’s all happy fairies and pheromones but at some point you get to two exits past reality setting in and trust has to be developed and bonds created in order to move forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m too proud to learn the language or unwilling to submit to the Instructor’s terms. It’s not that I don’t think I can learn it either as much as it is I have a wide-eyed, child-like, wonder about this whole process. I innocently consider whether or not there is a man brave enough to try to learn to speak Aisha and if I’ll be able to learn him. After all it’s not a matter of only one person learning in a relationship, both are learning the communication style of the other and over time possibly developing a new language that is a hybrid of both.

So to answer the question {five months later} yes of course I want to fall in love and get married. And to be honest it’s not that I don’t think about it but I’m in a place where I know it’s not that relationship that defines me or gives me value. I’m also not raising my right hand and singing that anthem of female independence. I choose to trust that at the right time my Teacher will make it clear who my partner is and will send him this way. Until then I’ll keep learning so that I hear and understand him when he finds and speaks to me.
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