Love, marriage, change :: A Q&A with BrightRock

A post about a Q&A, because it’s my blog and I’ll rah-rah if I want to. Seriously though, I enjoyed answering these questions from BrightRock and Gus Silber and think there may be something useful here for your eyeballs and brain berry.

shiny, happy people. when the fuck did that happen?

shiny, happy. (by robert miller, @panascape)

Q: How valid and relevant do you think marriage is as an institution in the 21st Century? Do you see much of a future for it?
A: “Marriage” is simply a word for the formalised, witnessed pairing of two people. Only the motivations and inspirations for this event keep morphing and evolving. Fundamentally, humans are social creatures that like and/or need to be witnessed, and so I don’t really see marriage ever disappearing completely as an act. Changing yes. Besides, our entire cultural system buys into it on some level. But you never know. Read more: Love is a choice an act of will

Q: What do you think is the big secret of a happy and lasting relationship?
A: Ha ha, if anyone had the 100 per cent fail-proof answer for that, entire industries would crumble. I think the best I could say is to realise that nothing is lasting and that happiness – personal and partner – takes effort, honesty and self-reflection. It’s daily consciousness in not taking another person for granted. Read more: Cultivating a conscious relationship

Q: South Africa has always been a fairly conservative society when it comes to sexuality. Do you think that is changing?
A: I would love to say yes. After all, looking around you would think the answer is yes, right? Sex and relationship talk is everywhere – splashed on every site, magazine cover, screen. But until we’re able to make our sexual choices and choose our relationship models without fearing ostracism, judgment, hate or shaming – and do the same for others – we’re still stuck in the 50s. Maybe it’s fair to say that the conversation has started. But we’re still collectively bound to very strong cultural and religious dogmas. Read more: The Shine Project SA

Q: What is the most common question or theme that crops up in the correspondence you get from people regarding relationships?
A: People get bored quickly, they lose interest, they want to spice things up. They want things to be different – their partner, the sex their partner provides, their penis, the orgasm they’re not getting from their partner…ultimately they generally have the tone of expecting change to be magically inspired by the other person instead of doing their own personal inner work, if I can call it that. Or they want to know if they are normal. Read more: No such thing as normal sex

Q: What is the single best of advice you can give to people who are still looking for their ideal partner?
A:  Two of the most clichéd ideas pop into mind: Do not settle because you think you should. Figure out and work on what your ideal YOU is, before you fuss about an ideal other. Read more: Things I learnt about relationships while I was single

Q: What was the single biggest and scariest change you have ever made in your life?
A: Committing to therapy. It’s the most frightening, most rewarding and most spectacular gift I have ever given myself. A lot of the very hard work is finished, but it was changed my life, my love and my experience of both radically. Needless to say, I also have an amazing therapist who facilitated the process. Read more: A codependent mess

Q: How did things change for you when you revealed your identity to your readers for the first time?
A: It was very difficult for me and very scary. I had extremely bad self-esteem issues so I was really bracing myself for people to be mean about how I looked. But people were lovely and it did exactly what I needed it to do: move the conversation onto a more open space. I wanted to speak to more people and couldn’t hide behind my screen anymore. That has happened and I’m excited by the platforms it’s opened up. Also it’s nice when people recognise me and come and chat. Read more: I am Dorothy Black (the post when I came out my little computer closet)

Q: In our age of short-attention spans, selfies, and superficial chats on social media, what does the notion of “love” mean to you?
A: Shoo. I think that could take a book. For me love is feeling safe, inspired and supported to explore and expand your world – whatever that looks like for you. Whether that’s your emotional, physical, spiritual or career environments. Or all of them. But who knows how communication and emotional connections will look for future generations. I just don’t think that it’s working out very well at the moment for ours. Read more: How do you know if someone loves you?

Q: What would you say is the single most enlightening thing you’ve learned about South African men through your columns and multimedia chats?
A: Let me just first say that even though generalisations feel so glibly comfortable, I’m not a fan. Nevertheless. When it comes to South African men, two exactly opposing statements come to mind: They are lazy and entitled. They want to explore and please.

Q: If there was one thing you could change about yourself, for the better, what would that be, and why?
A: Gosh. I booked a one-way ticket to change four years ago when I started therapy, so there’s been a lot of it. But there is always something isn’t there? What I can say is that my focus is on honing my intention on my own business – not fussing with online rubbish and other people’s twars, not taking things personally, building rather than breaking, that sort of thing. I think the most important change I’m making this year is choosing what information I let into my world, especially through near-addictive platforms like Twitter. Read more: When your relationship lives on social media

Q: Where do you go when you feel like a change of scenery?
A: My most accessible, go-do-it-right-now getaway? A trip around the peninsula with stops at my fave restaurants and pottering around Kalk Bay.

BUT, they left one question out, which I thought was hilar considering a question about whether SA is a conservative society…

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Q: What does a typical “day at the office” consist of for you?
A: Writing, writing, writing, reading, reading, … and some porn. Ha ha. Honestly I am very fortunate to spend a lot of my time doing exactly what I want to do, whenever I want to do it. So most days will start off with tea and journaling, move on to writing wherever I feel like writing for the day, playing on social media and planning new projects. Also I make a lot of time for conversation, eating and making love.

This Q&A was first published on Change Exchange