Day Thirty-Two   /   lettering by Patrick Cabral

Jessica Walsh

Did you see Timothy today?
For a moment.

What did y’all do together?
Our friend Julia was having a going away party, and we planned to go together. However, after a long morning at the gym, I was extremely tired. I strained a muscle after running five miles, and I just wanted to lay in bed and watch a movie. I asked Tim if he would mind if I stayed at home. He seemed kind of annoyed, but said he’d stop by instead. I felt really bad about it, but I can’t remember the last time I took a day off from work. Sometimes time enjoyed wasting is not wasted!

Did anything interesting happen?
He arrived at my door with a single red rose.

redrose

Did you learn anything new about Timothy?
The flower was incredibly sweet and romantic. Little gestures like this are very meaningful to me in any relationship. We hugged and kissed and talked about our plans for tomorrow.

Did you learn anything new about yourself?
This experiment has been crazy, and the self-reflection in therapy has not been easy. In combination with the headaches, it sent me over the edge last week. It’s unbelievable, but since changing my lifestyle last week, I feel almost entirely better. I run and do yoga every morning now. I am sleeping better, and the headaches are gone which makes me feel calmer. I am starting to feel like my normal self again, and I think it’s having a positive impact on Tim and me as well. I went into this experiment hoping to learn about relationships, but we’ve really learned and grown so much on a personal level as well.

How do you feel about this relationship/project right now?
Tim’s rose reminded my of my all-time favorite book, Le Petit Prince. I have several copies, but my favorite is this old vintage edition I found last year which I now keep by my bedside. I reread it today.

LePetitPrince

The story is about an adventurous prince who loves a little rose. The rose is naïve, proud, and doesn’t know how to admit her love back to the prince. Because of this, she accidentally drives him away. When she informs the prince of her love, it is too late. The Prince’s heart is already set on traveling the world. During his travels, he meets many adults of various professions. He comes to realize that most adults are narrow-minded and pragmatic. He realizes they are too preoccupied with wealth and power and other “serious matters,” and they miss the important things in life: beauty, friendship, self-discovery, imagination, open-mindedness, and love.

The Prince watches as adults rush from one place to the next, never able to appreciate the small wonders of the world right in front of them. Through his journey he begins to greatly miss his flower, and realizes the deep extent of his appreciation for her. While there are many roses out there, it’s his love for her which makes her so special and unique.

There are so many life lessons embedded within this beautiful story. St. Exupery suggests that the key to happiness is to stay inquisitive about life and to explore the unknown, with an acceptance that many of life’s questions will remain a mystery. The story emphasizes the responsibilities of our romantic relationships, and how they teach us about our greater responsibility to the world.

Is there anything that you want to do differently?
The story emphasizes that words are the source of misunderstandings, and that the truths in life defy explanation. Only our hearts can see them correctly. It makes me think about Tim, and how many misunderstandings we’ve had. We do deeply care for each other, but our opposing styles of communication cause unintentional stress between us. I started reading about these communication styles which are outlined in this book. I have an “affiliative style” and Tim has a “competitive style” of communication. This all makes me wonder. Do I really comprehend his true intentions and feelings, and does he understand mine? I should listen more to my heart. Does this feel right?

Additional comments?
A few favorite lines from Le Petit Prince to end the day…

Day Thirty-Two   /   lettering by Luke O'Neill

Timothy Goodman

Did you see Jessica today?
For a fast second.

What did y’all do together?
My friends Julia and Esteban are moving to Berlin, so we were going to go see them tonight in Brooklyn. I was damaged from all the whiskey I had last night at the gala. Jessie decided to stay at home, so I left early to go watch the Knicks game with Esteban. I stopped by Jessie’s before going.

Did anything interesting happen?
I brought her a rose. She was lying in bed watching Silver Linings Playbook. We talked about what we’re going to do tomorrow. And we kissed a lot.

Did you learn anything new about Jessica?
I was certain that she did not watch movies! Who knew.

Did you learn anything new about yourself?
I still feel the pressure from our friends last night at the Gala. Everyone seems to have these expectations about me and this project, and I feel burdened by that.

How do you feel about this relationship/project right now?
Seeing each other every day isn’t easy. I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic. Honestly, I was hoping that she wouldn’t want to come with me to the going away party tonight. It’s nothing personal, I just needed some space. We were texting earlier, and I tried to be coy about it.

Struggling

Is there anything that you want to do differently?
A couple days ago, Jocelyn said that we’re playing the roles we’ve been cast in from the beginning: Jessie wants more and I pull away. I suppose everyone is playing out their own reactions, roles, myths, and characters in relationships. How does one really change their habits in a relationship, anyway? Is that even possible? When you meet someone, you usually don’t meet the real person. You meet their sponsor, or their agent. It takes a while to really know someone, and it takes a while to let go of our baggage. It’s a tough current to swim against, no wonder why people find themselves making the same mistakes over and over again.

Arrows

Additional comments?
Jocelyn’s words reminded me of something a wiser, older friend said to me many years ago. I had just graduated college, and I was feeling extremely unstable about my future. At the same time, I had recently went through a rough breakup — a relationship that I had pretty much single-handedly ruined. I was depressed, heartbroken, and I wasn’t handling anything well. I have to laugh at what a mess I was then. Isn’t it extraordinary to look back at something that felt so profound at the time, only to see how trivial it feels now? Anyway, my friend gave me some very meaningful words, something that I’ll never forget.

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