Meet our next writer from across the world: Lynelle Clark lives in Gauteng, South Africa. Her writing career began in 2010. Lynelle has always loved to read books, in which she discovers new worlds.
When Siggy Buckley asked me to write a post about love, dating and/or relationships, I had no idea where to start. It took me a few days to come up with something to say, which I hope will maybe touch someone craving for an answer or hope in the times we are living in.
I chose to write about lasting relationships.
As a romance author, as well as a reader of romance novels, love and dating is a topic that is frequented in books, and it differs from one to the other. The variety causes no wrong or right answer when two people meet finding that mutual connection, go on a few dates and fall in love. It differs in couples, in individuals, and even in cultures.
In relationships, there are things that stay the same, always. It does not matter what color, race, age, culture, or the country we live in. The fundamentals of a relationship are always the same.
It is about trust and support – being there when the world dumps a load of unexpected things on us, whether in happy or sad times, times when we just need a hug whatever the circumstances may be. As people, we are born with the desire to connect with someone, to be close to a person, to be validated as a person. As time goes by, our experiences cause us to isolate ourselves, some even becoming hermits because of said experiences.
At first, it is our mother; the woman who gave birth to us. Right from the start, a bond is formed that cannot be broken. It makes no difference how much we mess up – she will remain faithful, and at our side through the bad and the good times. I am fortunate enough to still have my mother. At the age of sixty-nine, she is still a strong pillar I am able to lean on. When we went through a few rough spots in our life, she was the one who stepped up and helped without judging – always ready to give what was needed at that time.
The second bond is with our father; the silent man who never says much but whose strength, wisdom and determination is what makes us stronger. He gives us the courage to face our fears, helps us when we fall, and protects us from heartache and disaster. He pushes us to be the best we can be, always at the ready with an encouraging word.
I know that for many this is not the case, and they learn early on that loneliness is a way of life. My heart always breaks when I come across such a person. The distrust and the hurt never goes away. They wear it like armor, because they have learned that they are the only person they can count on. Our society is peppered with many people who have adapted, and now lead healthy lives despite their drawbacks. I admire these people for their strength and perseverance.
The third bond is normally with our siblings, but since in my family I am the eldest – with many moons separating my siblings and me – we never really formed one. Nevertheless, since I have three children of my own, I have encouraged friendship between them from an early age. It is good to have friends, because the value of friendship can never be determined or undermined, but the friendship with a brother or sister surpasses even that. It is a lasting relationship that will continue when friends leave, parents pass away and our world is turned on its head with no lifeline to hold on to. The relationships with siblings keep us on track, helps us to cope, and to hang on; to keep on fighting, to stand when there is nothing else left to do. They are that voice in our heads that will harass us constantly to be the better person, that remind us of our parents’ values and teachings to become winners, no matter what. Their devotion, love and determination will be the light that guides us on our path, always.
I know that for many it is not possible, that history has left a mark of distrust toward siblings, or even parents due to circumstances; there are too many to name. Here’s an example, though; relationships that have deteriorated, or have broken down so that nothing is left but the empty shells, does in no way mean that people cannot start within their own family and highlight the significance of bonds between parents and children, even if they missed it themselves. The value of it remains priceless, and you can begin with good, lasting relationships within your own family, being the example you have craved all your life.
In April, I will be married for thirty years. Can you believe that? Sometimes, I cannot. It is the longest relationship that I have ever had with one person other than with my parents and family. A relationship that has had its fair share of joy and sadness, and at times tested our strength to its limit where we really had to work hard at it just to stay afloat. It was not an easy walk, and I will not sugarcoat it; it was hard. When two people come together, they create an eternal bond. Even if they separate that bond will always remain. It is hard work to stay together, to compromise with each other, to find that mutual place of contentment and peace. It does not come easy, but is it worth it? Yes, it is, because it does give us a place of comfort and safety, a place where we feel we belong.
Again, I know it differs from marriage to marriage; I did enough counseling to know that it is sometimes better to walk away and start over than it is to be miserable together. For instance, I was never a person who encouraged an abused woman to stay in a marriage when it was clear her life was in danger. That is stupid, but many church counselors place these people in guilt-ridden ‘prisons’ so to speak, telling them that it is a sin to leave. I had huge arguments about this with these very church counselors.
However, the beauty of life is that we can always start over, always have that place where we can start afresh, and not be the person who constantly hides away.
The ultimate lasting relationship you have is with yourself. I am forty-nine years old, yep old, I know J, and up until a few years back, I had no idea who I really was. I could not look at myself in the mirror. I felt guilty and I felt ashamed, hiding away for so long with ultimately no idea as to the why. But as I previously mentioned, it is only recently I was able to do that, to open up, to be happy with who I am. I had to learn to accept myself, to remove the negative things people had placed on me and be okay with who I am. I had to know myself and now that I do, I do not feel guilty or ashamed anymore. I do not have to justify my actions to anyone but myself. I can build on my own strength, and my own wisdom. Yes, I still make mistakes, because I am still learning things about this new world I am living in, but every time a new lesson is learned, it only makes me stronger, wiser and more comfortable with myself.
This changes from person to person; there is no right or wrong answer. There is just that place you know is the best place for you to be. For you to be you.
Aspired Writer: http://lynelleclarkaspiredwriter.blogspot.com/
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