Lint-Trap 1/13/01: Half-Birthdays



Today is Diana's birthday. Her parents are coming down and we'll have lunch, then I'm taking her to Macy's to buy a new dress. For the first time in years, I can walk through the woman's clothing section of a department store without feeling like I'm in a funeral supply depot. So many dirty greys and greens, endless racks of clothes in a color I can only term 'food poisoning brown'. I used to think that at least women could have fun with their clothes, but the last few years seem to have been devoted to stamping that out.

The other day, I went to the mall and walked through the Woman's and Children's section and there were reds, and prints, and deep blues, and my step got springier. Now, Diana has not had an easy life as a single mom, and sometimes it seems like she hasn't thrown away anything ever. But one consequence of this is that she still has lots of clothes that look good and have color and a sense of fun about them. And she is still able to fit into them. But now and again, something new is always nice.

I've always enjoyed shopping with women for clothes. They enjoy it so much, and I've learned how to be interested and noncommital at the same time--I think the urge to preen is strong within all of us, and I quite enjoy being the preenee.

One funny thing is that Diana's birthday is my half-birthday--we are antipodes. Steinbrecher, that astrologer dude I mentioned a while back, says you can do a horoscope for your Shadow side by reversing the positions of all your planets. And of course Jung says you marry your Shadow. So this gets me to wonder how much Diana and I are Shadows.

I'm reasonably well off financially, while she has often struggled. She has strength and discipline beyond what I can ever dream to have. She can be loyal to a fault. I can be flighty to a fault. She tends to be skinny, while I'm definitely fat. Sounds much like a Shadow, doesn't it?

So the point, as I see it, is when you have a relationship with your Shadow, it can go two ways. You can learn from the other person, and start to adopt some of their traits. Or you can cede that part of the relationship to the other person, and in many cases start showing more of the opposite trait.

So if I'm good at handling money, and she isn't, either she can learn from me, or she can sign off and let me handle everything. If she's stingy and I'm generous, either I can learn more discipline and she can discover the joy of generosity, or we can get locked into a place where her stinginess causes me to be more generous, and my generosity causes her to be more stingy.

A lot of men who have trouble expressing their emotions marry women who are very emotionally open. Some of them then rely on their wives to 'have the family emotions' for them. Others learn from their wives that expressing your emotions isn't as fatal as it feels like it will be.

They say happily married people start to look like each other after a while. I think that's because they learn from each other, rather than signing over pieces of their emotional life to the other. I must say the idea of Diana and I coming to look like each other is pretty bizarre, but not unthinkable. Happy birthday, love!

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.