I often wonder what draws people to one another. I think about this a lot when writing because I have to make the relationships between my characters real. I have to find that thread that connects them and write it. In order to do this I examine my own relationships, as well as the ones happening around me. It boils down to one thing: magnetism.
Whenever we meet new people, we are either naturally drawn to them or we’re not. We can condition ourselves to tolerate certain people, or even befriend them. However, we cannot create, nor destroy magnetism. The problem is that there is a north and south end to every magnet. There is light and dark. We often hangout in that place in between because we are attracted to people who are like us because of our strengths and because our weaknesses, and for whatever reason, sometimes the dark seems so much yummier.
There’s a song I love from the 90s called 6th Avenue Heartache. It has this great lyric that says, “and the same black line that’s drawn on you, was drawn on me, now it’s drawn me in.” I used to listen to this song and get all warm and fuzzy at the imagery here. Two people have stripped away their skins, noticing their souls sketched in the same likeness. They are marred with the same blackness. I hated that the song was about them ultimately going their separate ways, more jaded by each other than before. They were soul mates, weren’t they?
This was the kind of thing that lured me in, the kind of beautiful mess I wanted to be in. Find me someone with a flaw like mine, and let’s bathe in it…make it a bath of fire too. I wanted to seem more tortured than I was; after all I was an artiste. Ha…I was literally on the lookout, a hungry sojourn, for someone who would magically understand my brand of ugly. Many of the characters I write about start off this way as well. This time, I don’t think my characters come out this way as a direct reflection of myself only. They’re a direct reflection of the warm-blooded kind, self-sabotaging by nature. However, unlike everyone, my characters figure it out. This is probably a reflection of me, because thank God, I figured it out. It took a blue-eyed, fair-skinned boy, I thought was too nice for me to do it…
When I started dating my husband I noticed something about us immediately. Our miseries were different. We’d both had hardships, but different kinds. Our personalities were also seemingly opposite to the core, but there was this draw. It wasn’t how I was usually drawn to people. There was intrigue there, but not that ache I’d grown to think was just part of it…everyone knows that ache…the one that feels good to rub in your own face. It was something else with this time, with this guy. Then it hit me…we were good the same way. Our good qualities synergized and started cancelling out the bad ones instead of feeding them. Anything we feed is satisfied until it wrestles hunger again. When two people feed each other’s monsters, it feels good for a moment, but then the monster calls again. They think they need the other person to stay fed. When two people feed each other’s goodness, it only hungers for what’s even better. Then, they grow together.
The best thing is being able to show someone all that’s ugly about me, knowing he can still look at it, but not feed it. Instead he heals it, because the same white line is drawn on him that is drawn on me…and it’s drawn me in. Our souls look exactly alike because we make each other better. These are the kind of relationships present in the happy endings. When I write, I realize more and more it’s the kind I have, and I am thankful. That taunting kind of tingle we all love of the dark is a minor infliction when compared to the sensation of when we first discover the light. It’s a brightness one never escapes…the much stronger of opposing poles.