We compromise to make peace, and our relationships inevitably go through awesome times and other stale, mind-numbing times.
Isn’t that just how life in general is, relationships aside?
I once heard Maya Angelou talk about why she was single her whole life. She said essentially that as soon as the dude in her life messed up, she hit the road. I remember her comparing it to plucking feathers from a bird, saying that as soon as he had one misstep, it was the equivalent of a feather being plucked from her, and she felt if she stood for one feather being plucked, she’d soon be bald.
Now, as is the case with everything, you can look at that sentiment with different lenses.
One lens makes her look like a totally empowered woman who didn’t lower the bar for anyone. You go, Maya!
The other lens makes her look like a woman who, of course, would end up alone because we all get our feathers plucked. To be clear, we do plenty of the plucking ourselves to others as well, right?
So, which is it? Stay with someone who is imperfect, or hold out for that someone you know will never pluck a feather or do anything to get on your bad side?
There’s no right or wrong answer here, and kudos to you for whichever lens you choose to look at this through.
We’ve all been burned by someone. Well, there are a few lucky people out there who have had love land in their lap easily without heartache. You’re awesome. Now go away.
For the rest of us, we know what it’s like to have some feathers plucked, right? We scurry into the corner and say we’ll never let that happen again and swear to be alone forever to avoid another “plucking” relationship (see what I did there?…)
That might work for some people, but for me, the only way to tackle anything in life is to start fresh. Step over the pile of feathers that were plucked, and thank them for the knowledge they delivered.
The advantage of having feathers plucked is you now know that when the next person plucks a feather, it’ll suck big time, but you won’t die from it.
This is all sounding terribly romantic, isn’t it? You’ll never eat chicken the same again, huh?
Is the person you’re in a relationship with perfect? Does it drive you crazy that they aren’t the exact vision of what you’d like them to be?
Guess what—they’re in the other room thinking similar thoughts about you.
Are these shortcomings and flaws feathers being plucked or just us being humans who need a little wiggle room for cozy imperfection?
Only you can decide what feels like too many feathers are being plucked and when it’s time to fly the coop. That’s the challenge with relationships—there is no handbook that tells you when to leave, when to start again or when to stay put because there’s something salvageable.
As far as I know – correct me if I’m wrong—I believe Maya Angelou did die without a significant other. It doesn’t mean she died alone. Far from it. She defined what a relationship would not look like, and she stood by it.
I’m not mad at her for that. She probably died with her heart firmly intact and protected, all her metaphorical feathers firmly in place.
For me, I’d rather go all in and run this thing into the ground. I’d rather keep taking a stab at things that are hard and leave scars on my heart because the only thing worse than a bruised heart is one that is squeaky clean when we reach the end.
YOUR Jagged Journey: What lens do you look at Maya’s thinking through? Are you looking for perfection?