Friday, December 03, 2010

Are you Path-Walking or Place-Holding? Guest post by @JaymeCinDallas

BougieLand today Dr. JaymeC, our resident family psychologist and moral conscience drops knowledge. In addition to having more degrees that I can keep up with and being an all around good friend, Jayme is speeding towards her 20th year of marriage (a good one at that). So with that in mind: Respect, learn, share.

Well, I'll open with an easy statement: life is a journey. Brilliant, right? Okay, I'll go further. Life is a journey not unlike the movie Inception - where there's a dream within a dream within a dream? Life is a street within a drive within a highway cross country... you get my point. 

One of life's most intriguing, interesting and frustrating endeavors is that search for a lasting and fulfilling relationship. Ideally, you want someone on your journey who shares the driving and navigating duties and makes the trip well worth the effort. Sure, it doesn't hurt if the car is shiny and smells great but on a long trip, you're really more concerned with what's under the hood. (Heart, mind, soul)

No matter where you are in the journey; every once and a while you have to ask yourself - Are you path-walking or place-holding in your relationships?

If you are path-walking, you are moving. Either forward, backward or side-to-side, you are in motion. Even if you haven't realized where your destination is - unless you're traveling in circles - you are on your way to somewhere.

If you are place-holding, you are standing still. Not only are you going nowhere, you're likely sinking into a rut. Worse still, you could be standing in a spot that was meant for someone else. (Not good)

I know I tend to talk in winding metaphors. I'm going to take it even further. Here are five suggestions (complete with musical inspiration provided by Chele) to get and keep you moving on that path: 


1) Are you gonna go my way? Make sure you get on the path with someone moving in the same direction. If one person puts the car in drive and the other puts in it reverse - where are you headed? In real life terms, this means you should find someone who either has similar life plans (goals, dreams) or can at least be down with yours. One person wants to be a CEO with four kids and the other wants to serve coconut umbrella drinks in Cabo attachment free? You're not even in the same vehicle.

2) Drive - There's a line in this great song Chele introduced me to by Incubus: "But lately I am beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel." During the course of a relationship, each party is going to have to take turns steering. Sometimes, to be perfectly honest there are times when one person is going to have to take the backseat. In practical terms it means control and leadership are fluid concepts. You get though each leg of the journey together.

3) Ride for you -Pretty self-explanatory. If you sign on for the ride and you're serious about it, you have to see it through. Not ride or die (that seems extreme) but hang on through the potholes and sharp turns. Ride 'til die maybe?

4) A long walk - That's all a relationship really is - one long walk. If you have someone who is willing to keep taking the next step, you've found a keeper. Like this song says, you need someone to spark conversation, verbal elation, stimulation. Yes, this includes the cocoa. But if you keep in mind that the mental needs to stay just (maybe more) stimulated than the physical, you are path-walking.

5) Keep on Movin' -Ultimately, the only way a relationship is successful is if it keeps evolving and changing, hopefully in the same direction (with the same two people). Sometimes people get distracted and take their eyes off of the road. They get hung up on the scenery and how far it is to the destination. Just. Take. The. Next. Step.

Sometimes, despite our best intentions - none of this occurs, none of it works out, relationships break down. (Ever long for an eject button? That played "Hit the road, Jack" before it detonated? How cool would that be?) But as I was saying, even after you've tried and tried, at least walk away knowing you gave it your best shot. Hope I didn't ramble too much and there were some kernels in here that everybody can use if not for a romantic relationship than in their dealings with friends and family. Be Blessed. -Jayme

Well, Jayme kinda got me with this metaphor. If I look at relationships as a journey (road trip), I have to recognize a few times when I didn't put enough gas in the car, flooded the engine and ignored the warning lights. A few times I may have gone all Thelma and Louise and driven the car straight off the damn cliff. I can also see times when I got in a Hyundai and tried to make it a Maybach. BougieLand, put your creativity caps on. Imagine your best and worst relationships. If they were cars, what kind would they be? What keeps them running or stopped them dead in the street? The floor is yours.

40 comments:

Leon X said...

Good question. My last relationship? Let's see. What kind of car thinks you're driving other cars although you've put a huge investment in that car?

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I'm going to relate this to cars I've owned.

Worst relationship: Late eighties Toyota Corolla. Bought out of desperation, ignored my intuition that said it was a craptacular purchase, ignored the mechanic who said "this car doesn't fit you. you need something nicer", sunk twice as much into repairing the car as I paid for it, and felt thoroughly swindled, used, and angry when it was over. This relationship was killed because the dude/car was a controlling, abusive, insecure douchecanoe that I dated a scant two months after the most traumatic breakup of my young life. I put up with too much shiggity because I was so crushed from being rejected taht I mistook a predator for being a caring person.

Best relationship: My stick shift 2dr honda accord. Not something that I would have considered at first, was a surprise in so many ways. Had to learn a lot of new things to drive it right. The car was dependable, low maintenance, had just enough speed and style to keep my interest, and we fit like hand in glove. Regret that I traded it in for a new, less 'me' car, but I still think of that car as the best car in a lot of ways. This dude/car was my college bf when I was a sophmore. I think the fact that he was open, honest, a friend to me during and after our relationship, and someone who got my ways and didn't shy away from them. Although I've grown and need a different model now, I still like a lot of the stock parts/features from this car.

CaliGirlED said...

Ever purchased a car without reading all the fine print on the contract? Well my last "real" relationship was like that. I THOUGHT I was purchasing a car but come to find out, per the fine print, I was only renting it from the manufacturer. I signed on the dotted line and drove off. After the first year and a half of the contract the car started breaking down on me, becoming very unreliable and despite what I entered into the GPS, I often found myself lost. Not realizing that it was all due to faulty design. For the first two years the manufacturer (aka Mother) and I had a great relationship, she gave me free preventative maintenance, would make repairs when needed, and suggest ways to get the best driving experience from the car. Then she realized I misunderstood the contract and was under the impression that the car was mine and boy did things get ugly. When I would take the car in for repairs she would let other people drive it, telling them that it was available for purchase, she would change the color, change the rims, put all sorts of money into the car that I didn't request, letting me know that the car was in fact hers and not mine. Yeah I eventually broke the contractual agreement and gave the car back. Of course the dealership did not offer any resistance or threaten to take me to court for breech of contract, because the manufacturer had already found someone (one of those drivers) who understood the terms and was willing to sign a new contract. I hear the new driver is not happy with the car anymore because my programmed settings still pop up from time to time and they can't figure out how to reprogram it. *walks away whistling*

Jesse said...

Worst? Two door Yugo with exploding gas tank. And the slightest thing set that rickety car aflame.
Best? I'll get back to you on that

SingLikeSassy said...

Lemme see if I can do this one...

I was riding along in my reliable car with the best sound system EVAH. Oh me and that car had some good times. He played music, I sang along, we laughed all the time and traveled to faraway places and I treated my car real special -- it was the first car that made me want to share and I learned to be a better driver thanks to the freedom and confidence I had in handling the stick shift.

Despite my care, attention and deep love for my car, one day it just sputtered when I turned the ignition. I sought help from mechanics and every now and again the car's engine would turn over and we'd ride out. VROOOMMMMMMMMM!

However, after some time I found out my car was letting other (skanky ho-ish, nasty -- oh wait, I'm off topic a bit) chicks drive it -- and handle the stick shift too! -- when I thought it was safely parked. I was mad, upset, betrayed and hurt and may have knocked a dent or two in the hood...busted some windows...keyed the car door....slashed the tires...when this other driver stuff was revealed.

Now the car is garaged at another place, in all likelihood with a new driver. Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I don't. There was a time when I couldn't picture not riding off into the sunset with this car.

I'm sans car for right now because me and original car are still titled to each other but soon that won't be the case.

I'm still trying to figure out the lessons in this long journey with this car....

Cassie said...

I need to quit picking out used klunkers and putting time and effort into fixing them up only to have them drive off with someone new once they were all shiny, pretty and repaired. No more "fix-her-ups" - only brand new luxury or certified pre-owned for me.

thinklikeRiley said...

Got-damb Jayme got me thinkin' and ish this mornin'
Just this - watch those Maserati's Bugati's and Ferrari's - slick, pretty, corner, steer and get ya to 120 like whoa... high maintenance. Every minute in the shop. Break down often. Terrible for long trips. More trouble they're worth.

Sarah said...

My mind is blank and I can't think of a car analogy. I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading the post. I agree with all of it. I think you could extend the analogy to life between or without a relationship as well. Although not having articulated it as concisely as you do, I think I've know these things at least since the early 30s. My trouble is that some people are not honest. They have figured out how to shape-shift into someone you think is traveling on the same road and then later on it turns out they were on an entirely different road maybe even a different continent or planet.

William Martin said...

I don't want to look back, here's what I want. A Lexus. It's a step up from a Toyota but with the same great engineering that lets it last a long, long time. It's still a little luxurious without being completely pretentious. Purrs when you take care of it and knows how to go the distance. Treat the car right and tap the pedal, it's ready to roll. Yup, I may have spent too much damn time thinking about this.

Now I'm picturing myself cruising down the highway with a venti cup of cocoa. I hate this creative-assed site. Got folks all yearning and shiggity. I'm going back to work. *kicks over Welcome to BougieLand sign on way out*

Page Bartlett said...

Well thanks Jayme. I just side-eyed the S/O. We are SO CLEARLY place holding, it's not even funny. There goes my holiday boo. We've been broke down on the side of the road waiting for some manner of assistance for a long time. And neither one of us wants to go and get help. Eff it.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

Bruh - been there, done that. Left the car in the garage and abandoned the whole damn house.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

Better than a Pinto?

OneChele said...

Um - Happy Holidays?

OneChele said...

*picks sign up* I understand, I understand. Woo, woo, woo.

OneChele said...

LOL at the shape shifting!

OneChele said...

A. Men.
And yes, Jayme sneaks up on you like that.

OneChele said...

Just make sure that certification comes with extended warranty.

OneChele said...

Ah man! Hate hearing that. Kudos for not going Angela Bassett and setting the car aflame.

OneChele said...

I never understood the appeal of Yugo. (all metaphor aside)

OneChele said...

The moral to the story - a car is a reflection of its last owner?

OneChele said...

Many a dependable car has been traded in for a new one. Shiny stuff catches our eye.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

I don't know what brand this is now - smooth, easy to roll with, good to look at and fits me. Think I'll drive it for a while

Jesse said...

Sometimes you buy what you can afford and hope for the best.

LikeLena said...

I want a Cadillac. Sure it's old school but those joints last FOREVER! They stand the test of time and even twenty years later, you can say "Now that's a Classic."

LikeLena said...

It's bad that I totally get "get ya to 120 like whoa" - reading and nodding to Riley's comments.

Pure Choco said...

Worst - Chevy Truck - supposed to be down to earth and reliable. A work truck, right? No. Damn gas guzzler. Took a lot of time and effort. I got tired of having to stroke it to get it started and keep it going. Plus it took up too much space in my damn garage.

Best: Honda Accord, nice to look at. Reliable with just enough flash. Ultimately not the car for the long term but a good ride while it lasted

Penny said...

Amen!!!

diamond life said...

Just be glad you figured it out before jumping the broom. I needed this post about seven years ago.

diamond life said...

Never works out

MeetCharlieL said...

I feel you. Hard to go wrong with a Lex.

MeetCharlieL said...

You know what throws the game off? These new fancy hyundais that look like Benzos. All glossy and whatnot until you look under the hood.

Grace said...

I just want that eject button.
And that song by Incubus is one of my favorite.

Steve said...

Better car comin' for ya.

Steve said...

Chele and Danity Kane - who knew?

CaliGirlED said...

Nope - Know whether you are purchasing, leasing (with what options) or renting.

C Nelson said...

I've only owned two cars in my life. One was a tiny butter-yellow MG midget that looked like everything a young woman could ever ask for -- but it never drove a single mile, because it was a project car that always needed "just one more thing" before it was roadworthy. And when I look at where I was in my life and the relationship I had then -- that car was us. We were bright, optimistic, carefree ... and going nowhere. And just like the MG, that boy always needed "one more thing" before he was going to make good. There was always some scheme that never got off the ground, and then came the babies, and, well. That MG was a lot of things, but it was not a family car. It stayed behind and I moved on. The boy? He's still working weekends and schemes at a flea market, putting in hours at a convenience store, just enough to get by with, and he'll likely never get further than that. Sometimes I miss the MG's endless promise, but then I remember what the reality was like, and that's the end of that. A waste and a pity, really.

What I've got now? Well, that's my other car, my grown-up car. A midnight-blue Volvo 240 sedan -- didn't look like much, very quiet, very understated, and repairs were expensive, but she was built solid, and she saved my little family's life because she took a hit that would have crumpled a newer, flashier car, and all that happened was that the frame warped a bit. I cried buckets when I figured out I just didn't have the money to fix her that last time. It still feels like failure. I'm engaged to an accountant (and if you don't hear the silent "of all things" appended there, it's not my fault...) He's old-fashioned, practical, and I tease him about his spreadsheets and the fact that we actually have a five-year plan, ten-year plan, and pretty much the rest of our lives on plan. He's the kind of guy I actually bought sapphire cuff-links for -- in almost the same midnight blue as that car, come to think of it. The lack of flash and the interminable waiting to emigrate so we can get started? More than made up for by the certainty that I can count on him. We're both stubborn, so fixing things when we go wrong is ... interesting. It's not inconceivable that the day will come when I just won't have what it takes to meet him halfway (or he, me, I suppose, but I doubt that). Until that point, though, I truly believe it'll be worth every moment and every penny.

Monna said...

Woww.... Ok, my car lingo is limited to the Mistusbushi Mirage I drive. I will just take this post & apply it to my own life b/c Lord knows I'm place holding......

Thank u Dr. Jayme, great article!

CorettaJG said...

For sure.

CorettaJG said...

Good post. For whatever reason, I keep walking past the safe, dependable family sedan, for these Ferrari's that end up on the side of the road with smoke billowing from the hood.

It's funny with the car analogies. My co-worker (who is admittedly a cynical married guy) described marriage as getting in the car with you best friend in Maine and driving across country to San Diego. As the road trip progresses, the things that were cute, funny, and attractive began to grate on your nerves until you can't stand it. Then you turn around and start all over again.

I guess that's one way to look at it. Although I'm a romantic at heart and was content with my road trip until the car unexpectedly nose dived off of a cliff. Anyway, all of this car talk made me think of that.

GrownAzzMan said...

I know I am hella late but this was one of those weeks were they actually expected me to work. The nerve of some people...LOL

I am fortunate to say I have not had a bad relationship. A bad date here and there but never one that grew into a relationship. Each relationship had some positive attributes and even at the end there was something to be learned.

No for the best relationship I would say it is like a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe with the suicide doors. Classic elegance with plenty under the hood. Run tell dat!

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