The passion of the dream
Things from the sublime (my recently recounted dream "starring" Ralph Fiennes) to the ridiculous (The Bachelorette 2) have caused me to contemplate passion of late. That dream of mine was so charged with passion, crackling with a sexually charged energy, yet there was absolutely nothing sexual about the dream...a concept that I fear some would have difficulty understanding - and I'm really no help as I have difficulty in explaining that passionate energy, beyond acknowledging it's presence. The sense of the dream lingered long after the actual memories had slipped into forgetfulness...I can sense it still, with a bittersweet sense of longing. The passion - it was intellectual, it was emotional, it was artistic, it was the spark of understanding and acceptance ignited...it was a silent energy, even an entity, that connected and expressed two souls. I don't pretend to imply that I believe my dream had anything to do with the real Mr. Fiennes...but the imagery my dreaming self chose, of Ralph dressed as a Pharaoh, amazes me - and is something I need to contemplate deeply, to fully understand the nuances.
That my dream happened during the run of The Bachelorette 2 was no coincidence...for I was fully caught up in Meredith's "journey". Partly because Meredith seemed more human, more recognizable, more understandable, in both her strengths and her weaknesses, than any previous dating show "contestant". I fully admit to having watched all the incarnations of The Bachelor/ette - and For Love or Money and Average Joe and all those other horrors that have slipped into oblivion, but it has always been like watching the exotic mating rituals of some foreign species on some kind of whacked Wild Kingdom, I never really understood or identified with any of them.
I watched Meredith on the Blob's spit-swapping charade and I liked her...because she was human, because she had a jaundiced eye on it all, even because she was catty with Leanne (cause come on, some woman just MAKE you catty with their actions...I for one am no saint). So when I learned she would be the new Bachelorette I thought the show would be interesting...but I had no idea how deeply it would creep into my soul, triggering dreams (the Ralph dream was but one of the dreams it triggered) and longing and deep thought.
I think ultimately what drew me in so deeply was that Meredith's "journey" eventually became a metaphor for me between the concept of "settling" and following your heart. I abhor how ABC manipulated the viewers visions through editing, I think they painted Matthew and Ian into "hero" and "villain" far too blatantly, oversimplifying everything and everyone, and therefore obscuring the true and complex reality. But still, if you chose to be aware of how you were being manipulated and followed your own gut instinct, it was fascinating to watch the story play out.
There was an immediate and palpable "spark" between Meredith Phillips and Ian McKee...if you've ever had that kind of "spark" with someone you can easily recognize it in others. On the last show, Ian said that he "knew" the second he stepped out of the limo. And that knowing - that is what I understand and believe in. It is not love at first sight that I believe in, but *knowing* at first sight - knowing that this person before you is someone important, someone that is going to affect your life. I had that "knowing" the first time I saw Neil's name on a piece of paper, much less meeting him, I've had that same kind of knowing with friends I've "met" online - it was a recognition of an old and complex connection, one that would alter my life.
There was a passion in all of Meredith's and Ian's interactions - but not just a physical passion. If you want to see physical passion (and nothing else) I recommend watching Larissa from Average Joe Hawaii with the "hunk" named Jim...while there was an abundance of touching body parts, their souls, their hearts, their minds ("What books do you read?" she asks, "Um, I don't read books" he answers) never touched, never danced. And there was no tenderness, no vulnerability, in their interactions...it was the "passion" of the "soft" porn you see on HBO and such, all it lacked was the cheesy soundtrack. Ian would continually hold Meredith's face and stroke her hair...there is such a tenderness and vulnerability in such caresses, they always make me melt, as clearly Ian's made Meredith melt. And as he was getting ready to propose - on TV, as he swore he wouldn't - Ian said to Meredith "I'm so scared baby"...such honest vulnerability is passionate to me, for it is the recognition, the meeting and embracing, of powerful, even frightening, emotions.
Matthew was such a "nice" guy - you couldn't help but like him, he was so sweet. He was the epitome of what your Prince Charming is to be...kind, considerate, gentle, sweet, strong, etc. He was the white picket fence rose-covered cottage dream come true. He was the kind of man little girls are taught they need. You know you'd always be safe with him. And for some women, that is what they need, that is what they want - for some women, perhaps even most women, Matthew was the choice, without question, without doubt. But Meredith is clearly not one of those woman (just as I am not) - though clearly she had internal battles with herself thinking she SHOULD be one of those woman. There was no passion between Matthew and Meredith...and Meredith needs that passion, and ultimately it was the passion, it was Ian, that she chose. She chose the "unsafe" route, the no-guarantees route...she followed her heart, knowing it was a journey she had to take, regardless of where it took her. Perhaps it won't end in happily ever after - perhaps it will. But that isn't the point - the point is that pursuing a relationship with the "dangerous" Ian is something Meredith HAD to do. If Meredith had taken the "safe" choice of Matthew it would have been unfair to all of them, Matthew most especially - for she wouldn't have been happy, and that "safety" he brings would have morphed into a prison that she would have had to escaped, surely hurting Matthew in the process - much more so than he was hurt in being not chosen now. Matthew deserves passion as much as Meredith and Ian do and I hope he finds the woman who ignites his.
There's been a lot of controversy over Meredith's "I'd be honored to receive a ring" statement to Matthew, compounded by Matthew's hurt "performances" on various shows...I have a healthy dose of mistrust on how ABC (and Matthew's agents) are spinning this story, and while I fully admit Meredith said some boggling things, I don't know what kind of external pressure (i.e., the show's producers) was being exerted on her, nor do I know what kind of internal confusion she was dealing with, and I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she was human and made a mistake, one she regrets, yet one she doesn't know how to explain or soothe the hurt caused by it.
I much prefer to focus on the love story between Meredith and Ian, to bathe myself in the complex passion and buoyant joy that radiates from their interactions. I never - even as a small child - ever wanted to be married just for the sake of being married...I have always wanted that complex passion, I never wanted to "settle" for less...and if that means I am alone this life, then so be it. It's not about safety or being handsome or saying the right words or sprouting poetry or being a "good provider" or having the power job with the power car and the power house. I want that kind of relationship where the man can mumble "I'm so scared baby" and the woman can whisper back "I'll take care of you baby", I want the kind of communication where you know what the other is saying and why, even if outsiders don't or it's not the proper storybook version ("Will you?" "YES!"), I want to have my face held and my hair smoothed by strong large hands, I want to feel free to be honest about feeling vulnerable and scared, I want to feel sharply and deeply and complexly and passionately, I want to be with someone because I can't imagine otherwise.
It's about risks, it's about living life with all your senses, it's about honesty, it's about connections and silent understanding and acceptance. It's about passion: the emotions as distinguished from reason, intense, driving, or overmastering feeling.