On the 27th of July 2015, at about 10:30pm, I climbed Kevwe’s bed on the top bunk, pulled out my laptop and started typing an article for which I had gotten an inspiration to write during the day. Intermittently, I would pause, pick up my phone and reply Yinka’s chat or I would crack a joke for my roommates and we’ll all laugh.
Leave me in a desert with only those three activities and I would survive a really long time. And so, since I’m a core proponent of the ‘Live in the moment’ movement, upon the realization that I was doing three of my most favorite activities, I decided to excitedly celebrate the moment by pumping my right fist in the air. The pain in my right fingers as I type this article constantly reminds me of the terrifying sound the ceiling fan made with my hand as they kissed.
Needless to say that my hand is swollen and in pain and I have some tetanus injection liquid running through my veins, this experience taught me a few things about love in the past two days.
I, like a large amount of the human population, am not left-handed. I conveniently use my right hand to eat, to write, to gesticulate, to do most of my typing and in the event that I ever get around to slapping anyone, I’m sure I would use my right hand.
I confess that before this experience, I never paid attention to the usefulness of my left hand.
I remember growing up, my mom (who is left-handed), would keep telling me to stop saying ‘my left hand is weak’. She would say, ‘See, I can close the tap with my own left hand.’ And I would reply her, ‘Ehn, shebi it’s because you’re a leftie’
Now, I realize that I had a point even then. Even left-handed people always have their right hands weaker than their left. And to me, this sounds a lot like relationships.
Someone once told me that in every relationship, there’s a Reacher and a Settler. That is, there’s someone who’s a little bit (permit me to say), lower, than the other person and there’s the person who…settles. The difference between both parties to the relationship might not be so glaring, but no matter how insignificant the gap is, there’s a Reacher and a Settler.
I do not know if I totally agree with this analogy, but from my ceiling fan-meets-hand experience, I sort of learned that in a relationship (especially a marriage relationship), there’s someone who’s relatively weaker than the other person. There’s someone who is the left hand and there’s the other person who’s the right hand.
I use the term ‘relatively’ because we have those power couples who even the supposedly weaker person in the relationship is stronger than some relationships’ stronger person. Also, note that ‘weaker’ in this sense is not used in its derogatory form. For there are different aspects of a relationship, and for these aspects, the one who is weaker or stronger may vary. And so, one person may be stronger emotionally, but weaker financially.
I purposely do not label the woman as the weaker and the man as the stronger because we know cases and particular situations where it’s the other way round. So, I would refer to the ‘weaker’ person as ‘The Left’ and the ‘stronger’ person as ‘The Right’
Now, it is given that even though The Left is not expected to be useless (and is not advised to be), The Right is usually the one who does a larger percent of the work in the relationship, whether it’s financial work, emotional work, physical work, intellectual work, spiritual work, etc. Also, we know that The Left might actually be better at doing certain things in the relationship than The Right (what’s that advice they give about cleaning up in the toilet?).
But then, what happens when something happens to The Right? A setback, some disappointment, an accident, some depression, some backsliding, some loss of strength etc.
…this brings me to the lesson I learnt: Love is automatically supportive.
I have often heard people (men and women) make anticipatory threats to their future spouses who may (God forbid) be harboring the thoughts of not being 100% perfect all the days of their lives. People do not want to know whether there was a set back, ‘Did I marry Mr/Mrs setback?’ they would ask, ‘You’re The Right hand in this regard and you should function as such.’ Then they would go ahead to compare their spouses with other people’s.
In these two days, and from the accident, I have learned that
- Automatically supporting one another is not even something that should be pondered upon. It’s somewhat like a reflex action. The Right is struggling or in pain (and vice versa)? Spontaneously assist.
- None of you can really afford to go into complete abeyance as both of you are relevant. I mean, even in pains, The Right still has to strap the wristwatch on The Left. It may need some external assistance from, say, the teeth, but it’s still its duty.
- The Left should try not to wait for the days of setback before it practices strength neither should The Right wait for days of setback before it practices submission, team spirit and humility.
I think I learned a few other things like how swollen fingers are not cute and how much my roommates like to say ‘sorry’.
But of all the things I learned these past few days, one thing that continues to amaze me is how my left hand forgets all about its weaknesses and does everything in its power to ensure my right hand only feels like its on a vacation and not a sick leave.
If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.