They tell us not to compare and contrast in focus groups so as not to bias our opinion of a product. Their marketing research should be based on our impressions of the product in front of us and not of other similar ones. Or dissimilar ones of the same general product type.
Like children. Don't compare your children to each other. Trust me, it's dumb and potentially hurtful.
But I can't help but constantly and consistently compare the three men I have loved in my 34 years to each other over and over again. It's like some kind of running clickety clacking old timey film roll, silent films, black and white and color and fleeting shots of this man's hands, this man's eyes, this man's shitty disposition, this man's hurtful words.
I know I am extraordinarily lucky. I have been graced with four amazing, healthy, loving children who fill my every day with challenges and joy. I have four siblings who make me laugh, let me down, pick me up and give me the strength that only blood ties can give you. I will never be alone.
But I also am lucky to have experience immense amounts of passion, romance, incredible moments of happiness and yes, even lucky to experience all of the crappy things as well. Because although cliche everyone will wade through the mire sometimes...it's good to have some experience mucking through the slime of life instead of just being thrown into the Bog of Eternal Stench without any idea how to escape from it.
One man I loved ended up not loving me. It's much, much more complex than that of course but in the end despite all of his sameness and words and my complete and total belief that he was my soul mate he did not choose me. That being said my two published pieces were written about him. Some of the most incredible thoughts I've ever made in my sometimes lacking mind came from the time we spent together. When I compare him to the two others I think for sure he is the most like me. We would chide each other often about our "sameness" and when things got bad between us and he pushed and pushed he used it against me...that we were too alike, that it could never work. He had told me once in an effort to help me grieve after losing someone I had loved fiercely that it
would always hurt but that the hurts fades over time from a thumping
throbbing pain to a vague aching feeling. He was right.
One man I loved for a very brief time. He was so different from Jeremiah the disparities are profound. Jeremiah burns red, yellow, orange, even when he's mellow he shines. Even in the banality of our everyday existence and its completely non-passionate routines his eyes search me out and I know how he feels about me. This Other Man is cool and blue, white, clear clouds and gentle lapping waves and tiny drops in translucent puddles. Jeremiah's hands are blunt and powerful, marked, strong, the Other Man's long, lean, soft and cold.
After periods of silence Jeremiah's voice makes me jump, look around, search for him in a crowd, miss him after a few hours. The Other Man's is silence, planning and plotting and I did learn for a short, very short time to enjoy the silence, to plan and plot a little myself instead of jumping, throwing myself into the ring.
The first time he spoke to me the Other Man looked surprised at himself and I thought it was endearing. It took a lot for him to make a simple comment to me, a stranger in a coffee shop. It was a bold move for him, this quiet, thin, Other Man with his thoughtful nature. He considers everything before he does it, his clothing is nice and he plans out what he is going to wear, what he should wear. He has many, many things just in case, kits and repairs and Kleenexes and water and first aid and extra everything. Jeremiah is a creature of comfort and of supplying his initial needs. He wears the comfortable clothes of his youth, always the same skate shoes he buys over and over again in different colors and styles, a cap of some kind always to pacify his wiry, curly mess of a head of hair. He is never prepared for anything and is most comfortable on the fly. Last minute life.
I have been a fairly fickle human and at times I've paid for my inability to be constant and sure but in the end (and that's what really matters) I knew I wanted to spend my entire life with one man. Jeremiah might not seem like the surest bet, but he's my fifth favorite person on the planet. When I'm not with him all I think about is how I can be. In the end I wanted not to be taken care of, to be sleepy and secure and content. I wanted to be in love forever. I want it not to fade away.