Truth - How we are effects who we are. Everything that we do, and the things that happen to us have an impact on the ways that we proceed. We as people are collections of experiences, memories, and emotions. This amalgamation of all that we determines how we show and where we show up. There is a reason for our actions, our words, and our understandings of the world, and everything it. Truly reflecting on and processing through those root causes is a lifelong quest to understand the enigmatic simplicity. What are you looking for?

"We don't know all the answers. If we knew all the answers we'd be bored, wouldn't we? We keep looking, searching, trying to get more knowledge." Jack LaLanne

"What are you looking for?" It's the question that always comes up during any type of dating situation. Honestly, what kind of question is that? It depends on the person. All I know is that when I know, I'll know. Why do I have to know what I want in a partner? This idea that my life needs to be perfectly planned out from start to finish just seems so ridiculous. Of course we have control over our lives but then again they are things that are beyond our control. You can't plan for life - life just ... happens. Ya know? I know I have ideas of what I want to do with my life and who I want to have in it but more and more that latter portion does not occur to me until I have come to meet people. I have to know you to come to the realization that I appreciate your presence in my life. I have to see what your tenure means to me to determine whether you're someone I need to have around.

If I had to answer the question of  what am I looking for though I would say the following. I'm looking for someone who challenges me to be a better person, to do more, and to grow. I want someone who understands that my dreams, goals, and aspirations are uncompromisable; and has the same standard for themselves. I need someone who is passionate about life, the world around them, and their impact in it. I am looking for someone intelligent about what they know, willing to learn where they are not, and asks impactful questions as they need to. I require someone who expresses gratitude regularly, demonstrates selfless kindness at a moment's notice, and embodies an empathetic compassion. I want someone who loves to laugh big, who is not afraid to be silly, and smiles bright. I want someone who is reflective, aware, and constantly working on themselves.  I want someone who has that something that I don't know I need. I want someone who adds spirit, soul, and life to me, and wants the same for themselves.

Simultaneously, I have no idea what I'm looking for but I'm sure I'll know when I find it. On top of that, I know what I don't want in any kind of relationship. I have those pet peeves about frivolous things that just irk me. I also don't think I have any right or responsibility to change someone in order for them to be a good fit for me, and most definitely would reject the same if asked of me. I hope we influence one another for the better but there are some truths about ourselves that must remain self-evident. Relationships change us, and in others ways we stay the same. Sometimes we learn by doing, and failing. It's seeing who we are with others that we realize that they have qualities we like, and others that turn us off. It's also a recognition of whether we're comfortable with who we become when we're around certain people. I want to be as full, active, and passionate as I am by myself when I'm with others, regardless of our relationship.

I don't know where and then again I do know precisely where I gained the idea that somehow you just know how to do relationships by virtue being a person. Relationships are serious work and all about intentionality. You have to learn how have healthy, reciprocated, and meaningful relationships. It takes practice, much like anything else that is new to us. They may come easier to some more than others but that's just life. Our relationships with our families, friends, and others around us are the practice that we need to sustain relationships. We emulate others and repeat their same behaviors. We show up in the same ways others around us do unless we actively decide otherwise. I guess relationships have variable definitions of success. For some that might be long-lasting, and for others that might be sustainable growth or a passion filled whirlwind. Some people are just looking for fun, to have a good time, and to live in the moment. Some people want something with permanence attached to it, depth, and richness. The reality is that those qualities are not exclusive to any label or classification of relationship. Friends with benefits can be as significantly impactful as a 6-month relationship depending on how involved you are. It's owning where we are in our lives, and what we had, what we need now, and what we want for the future. What are you looking for?

I have come to realize more and more what my upbringing, educational attainment, and socialization into a capitalist society mean to my preferences. My bias says that I care about the educational pedigree of any potential partner, career and life goals, and current/future socioeconomic status. Those things show up differently than I expect. It's swiping left on people with low-quality photos because I'm a photography snob; judging people still wearing the teen centric fashions of A&F, Hollister, American Eagle, and Aeropostale; and being wary of anyone who shows any signs of complacency. It's both ridiculous and it makes sense. It's elitist, classist, and downright rude. It's also the superficial things that I have come to value. Clothes matter to me; they send a message about personality and financial stability. Schooling matters to me; it's often (but not always) an indicator of not only earning potential but life paths; and ambition speaks to whether or not or plans will be compatible as I have intentions of letting anything/anyone hinder me from creating change in the world, wherever I am able. I want someone who talks like me; literally and figuratively understands me culturally, and socially; and fires right back with witty banter & sharp quips. I want to be able to be my whole self with another person not a stifled, watered-down, and understated version of myself. I refuse to engage in conversations that are anything less than meaningful. I never want to tiptoe around subjects that make me think about the world like politics, religion, and philosophy. I cannot go on having to use a fraction of the knowledge, vocabulary, and allegorical pop culture references that I have amassed. I am over ever entertaining the notion of having to explain my existence to another human being. It's not fair and it's not me.

Of course, I have to remain cognizant of how limiting those preferences can be to any potential pool of folks and it's juxtaposition against personal philosophies of inclusion, equity, and social justice. I have to be willing to give people a chance for me to really get to know them beyond snap judgments. I have to provide opportunities to be surprised for the better. I need to give space for people to be their whole selves and not caricatures defined by their access and opportunity, or lack thereof. I have to realize what remaining accessible means both in conversation and in truth. I have to be willing to escape the ivory tower of academia to be vulnerable, down to Earth, and real. I have to give a fair chance and be willing to take a chance. There has to be compromise along the way, negotiations, and give and take. I have to let go. I have to not be in control. I have to let things happen as they will. It's important for me to take to heart that searching for perfection is a futile task and what I believe to be ideal for me may or may not be exactly what I'm looking for. I have to out myself out there; be present where I am and who I'm with; and to be genuine in what I feel or do not feel. I have to be clear with what I'm looking for but know that the "search" may just find me instead. X


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